China, Stone Age
The first record of hemp being used dates back to the Stone Age in China. This means that the same hemp we use today was already in use over ten thousand years ago!
Historians found threads of hemp fibers woven together for strength among shattered pottery. The fibers were used both in the pottery itself, and in clothing. Hemp is, in fact, one of the oldest materials used in clothing. The plant kept the ancient Chinese warm and offered them the ability to use stronger eating ware, storage containers, and tools.
China, 28 B.C.
The legendary emperor Shen-Yung introduced ancient China to the idea of using the natural herbs and remedies still heavily in use today. It was during this era that Chinese medicine men began learning the benefits of using hemp medicinally versus practically. They used it to cure “female weakness” (fatigue during a woman’s menstrual cycle), gout, malaria, constipation, rheumatism, and memory issues.
India, 2000 B.C.
India is widely regarded as the “first hemp-oriented culture.” Dating back to 2000 B.C., a mild yet refreshing drink was made called Bhaang. Hemp seeds are the primary ingredient of the drink known to “drive away the evil spirits” so that users were healthy and cleansed.
Ganja and Charas are more potent hemp-infused concoctions which were also popular during this time period. Ganja was made from the flowers of hemp plants, while Charas was resin-thick.
Vikings, Iron Age
Archaeological findings showed that hemp was widely cultivated during the Iron Age in what was then the Norwegian Viking Kingdoms. In addition to hemp fibers being used for clothing and other useful items (as seen in previous civilizations), hemp seeds were also used as painkillers. Scientists found a small satchel of hemp seeds on the body of a woman between the ages of 70 and 80 who was seen to have a variety of ailments, including cancer.
Korea, 5000 B.C
In the southern portion of Korea, hemp has been widely used for a variety of purposes. Yet again we see that hemp was historically the preferred material for clothing, blankets, and a wide range of other cloth items. Yet they also cultivated hemp purposefully to avoid the mind-altering effects of THC-rich marijuana. They utilized hemp to create medicines, including salves and herbal drinks. It is not known what the concoctions were used for, however.
While it isn’t certain due to the strict privacy held by the country, it is widely believed that North Korea has also used hemp since ancient times. This is believed due to the fact that the two now-separate countries were historically one, large people.
Egypt, 1500 B.C.
The Ebers Papyrus is the oldest medical book known to the ancient world of Egypt. In it, scientists discovered a number of hemp mixtures that were meant to cure pain and inflammation that occurred in a wide range of ailments. It also makes mention of special concoctions for women. These hemp-infused medicines were meant to ward off depression and ease the symptoms of a variety of mental issues (like anxiety and others).
Cannabis – both hemp and it’s THC-high cousin, marijuana – were used in the religious and important cultural events of ancient Egypt. Knowing the civilization’s love of mind-altering substances and “relaxing aromas,” this did not come as much of a surprise.