Hemp has historically been one of the most important and widely-used plants on earth. Our earliest records show humans using hemp as a textile fibre over 9,000 years ago in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) the birthplace of civilization. The plant has been cultivated continually in China for over 6,000 years and used all over the world. Humans have used the hemp plant to make everything from paper to clothing to rope to ship sails. It’s also been used as traditional medicine treating everything from insomnia to arthritis to pre-menstrual pain. And it has been used as a food source by animals and humans for even longer.

So what happened to hemp?

In the early 20th century, the U.S. started a global trend waging a war on “drugs” and marijuana was banned. The confusion started there. Hemp and marijuana belong to the same species of plant. They look the same, even smell the same. But they aren’t the same. Marijuana contains nearly 5-20% of the psychoactive compound THC and hemp contains 0.3%.

In other words, marijuana gets you high. Hemp does not.

But due to the similarities hemp was outlawed until very recently. Now people are rediscovering the health benefits of hemp, and supporting a pathway to sustainability for a more enlightened future.