10 Interesting Facts About Hemp

You might have noticed we have a few hemp facts that we’re always reeling off. First of all, it’s really good for you: hemp seeds are naturally packed with omega-3 and are a complete source of protein. Second hemp fact – it’s good for the planet: hemp is one of the world’s most sustainable plants, breathing in four times more co2 than trees.

But there’s much, much more than where that came from. We admit we’re biased but we really think hemp is one of the most fascinating and versatile plants out there. From fuelling cars to feeding the crew of Christopher Columbus, hemp has a weird and wonderful history that we want the world to know about. Swot up on a few of our favourite hemp facts here.

1. Some of the oldest relics that still exist today are pieces of hemp fabric

According to the Columbia History of the World, the oldest relics of human history are pieces of hemp fabric discovered in tombs dating back to 8,000 BC. However in 2014, excavation work in the city of Çatalhöyük in Turkey uncovered remnants of hemp-weaved fabrics, believed to be from 9,000 BC. Either way you look at it, hemp has been popular for thousands of years, and who are we to argue with history?

2. King Henry was a big fan of Hemp

In the 16th century, King Henry VIII of England passed an act of parliament which fined any farmer that did not use his land for growing hemp. Apparently he was quite an unreasonable monarch, but this law seems sensible to us.

3. Without hemp, Christopher Columbus would never have discovered the Americas

Let us explain… hemp fibre is extraordinarily durable and able to withstand exposure to saltwater, so was chosen as the materials for his sails and ropes. What’s more, the hull of his flagship was packed full of hemp seeds to use as emergency rations! If it’s good enough for Columbus then it’s sure good enough for us (and makes for an incredible hemp fact to share around the breakfast table).

4. In Ancient Asia, hemp had its own goddess protector

In Ancient Asia, hemp was hailed as an elixir of life and was blessed with its own protector, the goddess Magu. It was pressed to make hemp oil and salves which was an ideal source of nutrition. All hail this hemp fact.

5. George Washington was a big fan of our crop

Up until recently with The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, The United States banned the production of industrial hemp. But back in the 18th century President George Washington grew the crop on his plantation. He proclaimed: “Make the most of Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere!” And that’s when presidents knew what they were talking about….

6. Betsy Ross made the first American flag out of hemp

Hemp played a large role in the founding days of the USA, including being the material used for the first ever flag. In 2013, The Growing Warrior’s Project who employ veterans to make flags out of hemp and are behind the legalisation of the crop, managed to get one of their hemp flags flying over the Capitol building as part of a veterans day celebration. Betsy would be proud.

7. Every Mercedes C-class contains a whopping 20kg of hemp

If you need any more proof that hemp is seriously strong, then how about the hemp fact that car giants like Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Ford use the stuff to make parts of their machinery? 

8. Hemp was used after Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster to clean up the air

In a process known as phytoremediation, hemp can remove radioactive toxins from the soil. The most famous example of this is the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, after which hemp was planted to clear the site of radioisotopes and impurities.

9. Hemp can be used as bio-fuel

Biofuels are best used for lamps right? Wrong! Hemp as a biofuel is capable of running a diesel engine. In fact, when Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine, he intended to power it using hemp oil, or what he called “hempoline”.

10. Van Gogh painted on hemp

What do Van Gogh, Gainsborough and Rembrandt all have in common? All artists yes, and also all artists who painted on hemp! Because hemps remain undamaged by light, oil paintings on hemp canvases can stay in good condition for centuries.

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