Hemp: A Wonder Crop

Hemp or industrial hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined and used in the manufacture a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.

Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both are derived from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.

Cannabis sativa appears to have originated in Central Asia and was probably first cultivated for its fibre. It has been grown in China for at least 4500 years. It is thought to have reached Europe by 1500BC.

8000 BC:

Hemp use dates back to the Stone Age, with hemp fibre imprints over 7,000 years old found in pottery shards in China and Taiwan Civilization. Agriculture, and hemp textile industries begin in Europe and Asia

6000 BC:

Chinese used the hemp stalks for building materials, clothing, shoes and food and discovered that hemp seed is high in protein, vitamins, and essential amino acids.

2,000 BC

Bhang (dried cannabis leaves, seeds and stems) is mentioned in the Hindu sacred text Atharvaveda (Science of Charms) as "Sacred Grass", one of the five sacred plants of India. It is used medicinally and ritually as an offering to lord Shiva

600 BC

Sushruta Samhita mentions bhaang, as a medicinal plant, and recommends it for treating phlegm and diarrhoea.

500 BC

Gautama Buddha is said to have survived by eating hempseed.

200 BC

Specimens of hemp paper were found in the Great Wall of China.


Columbus sailed across the Atlantic with a ship made from 80 tons of hemp sails, caulking and rigging.


Hemp was cultivated in England, becoming the primary source of clothing material. King Henry VIII would fine his constituents for not cultivating hemp.


Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta in Goa, wrote about the uses of cannabis in his 1534 work ‘Colloquies on the Simples and Drugs and Medicinal Matters of India’.


Use of hashish, alcohol, and opium spreads among the population of occupied Constantinople. Hashish becomes a major trade item between Central Asia and South Asia


The India Hemp Drugs Commission Report is issued. 70,000 to 80,000 kg per year of hashish is legally imported into India from Central Asia.


The Indian Hemp Drug Commission concludes that cannabis has some medical uses, no addictive properties and a number of positive emotional and social benefits


Rudolph Diesel created a famous engine in 1896. The engine would run on a variety of fuels, such as vegetable and hemp seed oil. Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, realized the potential of biomass fuels with a successful biomass conversion plant which was produced using hemp fuel.


Cannabis is removed from the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and it's medicinal use is no longer recognized in America. The same year the Indian government considers its cultivation in Kashmir to fill void of hashish supply. Hand-rubbed charas from Nepal is popular in India during World War II


Legal hashish consumption continues in India.


The industrial cultivation of hemp was banned under the Controlled Substances Act.


Nepal bans the Cannabis shops and charas (hand-rolled hash) export. Afghan government makes hashish production and sales illegal.


In India, the cultivation of hemp was banned under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.


The cultivation of hemp was legalized by the Uttarakhand government in the state.


Gujarat legalized bhang by removing it from the list of "intoxicating drugs" covered by section 23 of the Gujarat Prohibition Act.


Uttarakhand Hemp Association (UHA) was formed.