A Brief History Of Hemp
Posted on December 07 2021
Hemp is the miracle crop of nature and the strongest natural fibre in the world. Hemp comes from the Cannabis Sativa family and is often misunderstood and misinterpreted because of Marijuana.
The similarities are there; both plants look the same and come from the same family, so it is quite understandable when people mistake their purpose.
Hemp contains extremely low levels of (THC) tetrahydrocannabinol - the chemical name for the psychoactive substance found in Marijuana - yes, it’s many people still look down on it.
So Marijuana has overshadowed the hemp plant for quite a long time, which has damaged our planet in many ways.
Hemp is one of the earliest fibres ever to exist. It originated in Central Asia. Then China followed and started cultivating it in 2800 bc.
Next in line were Japan and the Mediterranean countries of Europe.
Chile started in 1500 BC, and by 1600 BC, North America joined in as well.
Hemp is making a comeback after 10,000 years because climate change has just started to wake people up. It is one of the most used fibres globally. Historically, it was valued most for its abundant benefits.
Ropes, paper, sailcloth, linen, and whatnot, everything was being made from hemp. History is filled with the use of hemp, and even then, people knew how much this resource could mean in the future.
People were quick to realise that hemp was no ordinary resource. Right then, cultivation started fast and made its way into the markets. People realised hemp was far greater than other fabrics because of its extensive properties.
Hemp has been woven into our history; however, it was only after the Iron Age that people started using it for textile benefits. Before then, it was only used for its medicinal and health benefits. So, what exactly happened to this miracle crop, and where did it go?
In 1937, in the USA, a Marijuana Tax Act made every type of cannabis cultivation illegal. Hemp was, hence, ostracised from agriculture because it was thought to have the same properties as Marijuana.
Some people even dared to say that this was a scheme purely intended to dethrone hemp as one of the greatest natural resources to humanity.
Hemp was not only a potential competition for textile industries; it was a potential competition to everything. Farmers had enough land and freedom to grow it, and it could have been a catalyst in destroying bigger markets of clothes, paper, and even petroleum.
This economic strategy led to numerous disadvantages for hemp. As the production stopped abruptly, civilisations moved, and nature’s miracle crop was taken away from the world like a priceless treasure.
Hemp is made just like any other fabric through various steps. Here’s a brief process about how it is produced industry-wide:
Hemp just takes three to four months to grow; the growth is quite fast. Then we harvest it using some special machines.
Then, the long-stringy fibres are separated from the bark and left on the field for four to six weeks to dry.
Carding is a process where the fibres are cleaned of impurities and then carefully collected.
Hemp fibres stick together as they are matted or steamed—this way, it’s easier to weave them together.
Finally, industrial hemp is ready to weave and spin around yarn for textile companies. So, technically, this is how textile industries use hemp.
Hemp has a number of other benefits and uses. Let’s take a look at why they are better than the other fabrics.
Hemp is by far the most sustainable fabric in the world right now. Thanks to science and technology, we know through research that hemp is an eco-friendly, biodegradable and durable fabric.
From making bricks to bio-energy, industrial hemp has the potential to change the world. Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries globally, yet we all participate in making the industry thrive.
Fortunately, there has been a shift towards sustainable fashion through the internet and the woke subculture, whatever you want to call it. People are more conscious about the environment and look past the negative connotations of hemp with marijuana.
Although it is not an unknown fact that hemp is superior to other fabrics, let’s still shed some light on how hemp is the future of the textile industry.
Hemp is extremely beneficial for the environment. It grows in less irrigation as compared to cotton, which uses a lot of water to produce. In addition to that, hemp plants do not need any pesticides, herbicides, or synthesisers to grow, making them organic and nature-friendly.
2. Reduces Carbon Footprint
Hemp can help with climate change challenges; the hemp plant absorbs more carbon dioxide than eucalyptus plants. It also does not leave any emissions in the atmosphere and traps them back into the soil.
It has great potential to reduce our carbon footprint, which is now more at risk than ever.
3. Keeps the Soil Healthy
Hemp is a giving plant. It gives at least 60 - 70% of nutrients back to the soil after being harvested. It also fights off soil damage caused by cotton plants and is resistant to pests.
4. Antimicrobial Properties
It comes with the benefits of being a Cannabis Sativa plant, and it has antimicrobial properties that protect you from different types of bacteria and body odour. In addition, the clothes made from hemp are extremely durable and resistant to moulds and mildews.
5. Resistant to UV rays
The planet is getting hotter each passing year, and sun protection is necessary for all human beings. Since the hemp fibres are woven tightly, and sun rays can not penetrate through the layers of the clothing, so you stay protected from the sun at all times.
We can infer from this that hemp clothing is extremely comfortable to wear, breathable and lightweight. Adding to that, it is a very strong fabric that is durable, and the best part, that it is also biodegradable.
The hemp plant has come a long way, from its history of unknown potential to finally becoming worthy and being known as a miracle plant. Still, there is not much information and awareness about hemp fabric.
So, we at Hemp & Hope take it upon ourselves to at least educate some of you about this nature’s gift and help build a sustainable, greener, and safer ecosystem for everyone.
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