Hemp appears to be one of the oldest crop used, being cultivated in China as early as 4000 BC. Mostly it was considered as a gift, used in many ceremonies or religious rituals for meditative purposes. Hemp was ingested, smoked, or worn as clothing. In India hemp was used as a stimulant, and especially in traditional ayurvedic medicines to treat colds, asthma, or to quicken the mind. In Europe, hemp was mostly cultivated for food and oil. In Africa, hemp was used for dysentery and fevers; some tribes would treat snake bites with hemp and woman would smoke it before childbirth. During the seventeenth century it was believed to posess magical powers.
The British began cultivating hemp in its Canadian colonies in 1606, mostly for paper and cloth. The western physician W.B.O'Shaughnessey published in 1839 the benfits of cannabis for the treatment of rabies, rheumatism, epilepsy, and tetanus. The tincture of hemp was found as an effective analgesic. The fathers of USA, G. Washington and T. Jefferson were promoting the hemp on their farms. Around 1815 Jefferson received the first patent for his breaking machine... 1861 G.F. Schaffer patented the hemp dresser to prepare hemp for the manufacturing, many inventions followed up. The farmers during the World War II. grow hemp for the cordage, for the textiles, and a paper, not mention use in automobile industry as well. Unfortunately, due the hemp's cousin, Cannabis Sativa that produce high levels of THC, the hemp was considered as marihuana, and was followed as phase "Marihuana Madness" which leaded to the prohibition legally to grow hemp completely. In Japan, hemp was used as a paper and fiber crop, since 1948 as a narcotic drug has been prohibited.
From 1950s to the 1980's the Soviet Union was the world's largest producer. Later on, the other important producing countries were China, North Korea, Hungary, former Yougoslavia, Romania, Poland, France, and Italy.
The 21st century is remarkable for its great expansion with the direction of industrial hemp growth under the license in the whole world mostly with India, China, Russia, Korea and Romania except USA... Since 1992, many European countries have passed legislation allowing commercial cultivation of low THC hemp for the fiber which is stronger, more absorbent, and more insulative than cotton fiber; for the textile and papers, as biomess fuell, manufacturing biodegradable plastic products, and many other similar usage is under the development... France is Europe's biggest producer, followed by Canada, United Kingdom, and Germany... and many more additional countries around the world.
For the first time industrial hemp (Cannabis Sativa) was planted in 1606 by the French botanist Louis Hebert in North America in Port Royal, Acadia (presently Nova Scotia). As early as 1801, was hemp seed distributed for free to canadian farmers, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, increasing labour costs encouraged decline from hemp towards other material as cotton, jute, tropical fibers, and invention of synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon.
In 1937-38, the United States and Canada prohibited marijuana and hemp production because of hallucinogenic drug known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In 1961, the Canadian Narcotics Control Act (CNCA) allowed Cannabis to be grown for research purposes only.
In 1994, under the CNCA, the Hempline Inc. was allowed to grow low THC hemp for research purpose only. Since then research licenses were granted to a number of other groups across the country. Effective March 12, 1998, the commercial production of industrial hemp was permitted in Canada, for the first time after the sixty years. Later on, the number of licensees dramatically increased to nearly 14 031 hectares with the largest production area in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Currently with many Canadian companies including Hempola Valley Farms, Fresh Hemp Foods, Ruths Hemp Foods; HMF Sales and Marketing; Hemp Oil Canada; Cool Hemp; Natures Paths... all of them involved in hemp seed market, and producing a wide range of products from food (snack, flour, oil), cosmetics (shampoo, conditioners, moisturizes) to industrial use (commercial oil paints, insulation). Another trend is coming up with the great demand of certified organic hemp. In near future is very promising development in manufacturing clothing and enzyme technology using environmentally friendly methods.
In April, 2010 we could see the positive movement towards the hemp industry that our government is supporting the "Plains Industrial Hemp Processing Ltd."by the new innovative project of hemp fiber processing plant. It means in near future will be created many new permanent job opportunities for our community. Federal funding of $3, 375, 000 is provided through the Community Adjustment Fund as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan and $1, 400, 000 under the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Agri-Opportunities Program which will create positively new export markets in the field of agriculture.