The hemp plant is one of the earliest known cultivated plants on the planet. Its roots reach back to the Neolithic (aka New Stone Age) in China, as traces of hemp fiber are visible on Yangzhou earthenware from the 5th century BCE. Later, the Chinese employed hemp as a material in rope; clothing—pure silk is similar in feel to linen—shoes, and paper.
During the 2nd century Jews who lived in Palestine were busy cultivating hemp, as mention is made of it in the Mishna ; an early oral interpretation of Jewish Law.
In medieval Italy and Germany, hemp found its way into many recipes. It was a key ingredient in pie fillings, cakes and various soups.
Leaping ahead, the history of hemp continues into the former Soviet Union. The USSR was the largest hemp producer worldwide during the 1960s through the ’80s. Ukraine, the Kursk and Orel regions of Russia and the adjacent Polish border were the major areas of hemp cultivation. The Hemp Breeding Department located in Ukraine, remains among the world’s largest centers for varietal hemp development. The center’s focal points are on quality enhancement, high yields, and trace THC content.
China is the leading global producer of hemp although North Korea, Europe and Chile are also prime hemp-growers. Ironically, the United States consumes more hemp than other countries, yet the US Government fails to distinguish between it, and marijuana.
Hemp Won The War!
As previously mentioned, hemp cultivation is prohibited in the United States. However, during World War II, farmers were urged to grow hemp for use in manufacturing cordage; to replace the Manila-grown hemp formerly acquired from Japanese-controlled regions. The U.S. government produced a film, Hemp for Victory, describing the various uses of the plant. At the time, uniforms, rope and canvas were among the main materials made from the hemp plant, which grew almost exclusively in North Dakota and Kentucky.
Hemp at Home
As a number of smokers may be aware, a hemp wick is most advantageous over butane lighters. The wick derives from hemp fibers and envelops a lighter to facilitate easier lighting. Most importantly, using a hemp wick negates the risk of inhaling harmful gases from butane lighters. Secondly, the flame is controllable allowing you to corner your hookah or pipe bowl with unparalleled precision. Further, there is no danger of combustion since hemp wick is not vaporous. Thus, the flavor of your preferred smoking element is much milder, enabling you to take longer and deeper hits of your hookah or pipe without that unpleasant burning sensation.
The colorfulf history of hemp, coupled with its versatility and longevity, clearly puts it in the running for “super-plant” status.