Hemp is one of the oldest and most versatile crops known to mankind. Hemp has been in use for about 10,000 years and has been cultivated around the world for over 3,000 years. A quick snippet from the timeline should provide insight into the fascinating history of cannabis:
The history of China reports that “Ma”, as hemp was called in China, was of great importance. Healthy hemp seeds have been used for food, and fiber has been prized for its high tensile strength.
Excavations at Eisenberg in Thuringia document the earliest discovery of cannabis seeds in Central Europe.
In his pharmacological treatise, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung describes hemp as a remedy and recommends hemp for gout, malaria, rheumatism, constipation and many other diseases. The flowers, leaves and roots of cannabis are used to make medicines.
Li Shi-Chen, who is considered the largest herbalist in China, describes over 120 different uses of cannabis, including in relation to other medicinal plants.
After hemp came to India, hemp is considered a sacred medicine and helps with meditation. The Atharvaveda describes ritual actions combined with the use of cannabis, which should also protect against evil.
It is said that on his path to enlightenment, Buddha ate exclusively on hemp seeds. Hemp was prized by Buddhists as bhang, charas, or ganja. Indian farmers use fiber to make flour and porridge by roasting. Itinerant Scythians make sure that hemp is widely used.
The Germans and Celts put their dead hemp seeds with them in the grave. Hemp stalks are used to pay taxes in China.
Cannabis cultivation begins in Norway.
The first hemp paper is made in China, and its production is kept under the strictest confidence.
The Greek physician Pedanios Dioscurides, who served the Roman emperors Nero and Claudius, wrote the most important ancient medical work “Materia Medica” in the 1st century AD. In these five books, hemp makes a big difference.
Hemp is found throughout the Roman Empire and is prized as a valuable raw material because it can be used in many different ways. Food, textiles and weapons are made from hemp. Hemp is also popular as a medicine.
The cultivation of hemp and the use of this precious plant has spread from India to the Arab world. In Central Europe, hemp seeds are used for food, and “Hanfosamo” is described in German baking recipes.
Emperor Charlemagne promulgated the first cannabis law in Europe and ruled in his head the legal cultivation of cannabis.
The renowned naturalist and healer Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) is considered the pioneer of cannabis medicine. In her writings, she praises the healing power of hemp seeds for stomach ailments and recommends the use of hemp cloth to heal wounds.
The first paper mill in Europe uses hemp rags to make paper.
The famous “Joan of Arc” is accused during the Inquisition of using witch herbs, including hemp. The court considers that the voices in her head were due to the so-called “witch herbs”.
Christopher Columbus discovers America. The sails and ropes of his ships, as well as the sailors’ clothing and ship cards, were made of hemp. He gives the natives hemp seeds and hemp fiber clothing.
Gutenberg prints his first Bible on hemp.
Leonardo da Vinci writes his famous Mona Lisa on hemp.
The oldest written US constitution still in effect today is written on hemp paper.