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International Hemp Day – April 21, 2023

International Hemp Day is celebrated every April 21 to appreciate the benefits of hemp and what it has offered to us. Did you know that hemp has been used in manufacturing clothes, ropes, shoes, and paper as far back as the fifth millennium B.C.? Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, is a cannabis plant mainly cultivated for industrial and medicinal purposes. Unlike marijuana, hemp has a low amount of T.H.C. (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical compound that causes “high” in marijuana. Hemp has many industrial applications, including cordage, bioplastics, shoes, paper, clothing, and hempcrete. Its seeds are consumed as healthy food, and its seed milk can serve as an alternative to dairy milk. Hemp, alongside bamboo, are the fastest-growing plant.

History of International Hemp Day

The earliest use of hemp can be traced back to between nine and 50 thousand years ago, even before the introduction of agriculture. According to experts, hemp was grown during the Neolithic Age all across the northern latitudes, from Europe to East Asia, and it may have been one of the earliest plants to have been cultivated. In Neolithic China, hemp was used to make clothes, ropes, shoes, and early forms of paper. In the fifth century B.C., the classical Greek historian Herodotus described how Scythians used hemp seeds for euphoria and ritual purposes during burials. According to Herodotus, the Scythians would gather in a tent, throw hemp seeds onto hot stones, and inhale the vapors of the hemp seed smoke.

During the Renaissance, the cultivation of hemp in Europe was mainly for its fibers. They were used for ropes on ships, including those of Christopher Columbus. Europeans also used hemp to produce clothes, but that was concentrated in the countryside. In the 16th century, the Spaniards introduced hemp to the Americas in countries like Chile, Peru, Columbia, and Mexico. However, the crop only found success in Chile.

By the 17th century, hemp varieties were already grown in the United States. In 1937, the U.S. government passed the Marihuana Tax of 1937, drastically limiting the production and use of hemp, cannabis, or marijuana. During WWII, the United States Department of Agriculture lifted the tax on hemp cultivation, allowing it to be extensively used for uniforms, canvas, and rope. In 1994, Executive Order 12919 identified hemp as a strategic national product that should be stockpiled in the United States. In the 21st century, cannabis, which includes hemp and marijuana, was made legal for medical and recreational uses in some countries and a few states and territories in the U.S., including Canada, South Africa, Uruguay, and Mexico.

International Hemp Day timeline

50,000 Years Ago
The First Records of Hemp Usage

The Chinese use hemp to produce rope, shoes, clothes, and early forms of paper.

1400 A.D.
Hemp Makes It to Columbus’ Ships

European shipbuilders use hemp to make ropes for Christopher Columbus’ ships.

16th Century
Hemp Lands in the Americas

The Spaniards introduce hemp in several South American countries, including Peru, Brazil, and Chile.

1940—1945
Hemp Features in the War

The United States military employs hemp to make uniforms, canvas, and rope.

International Hemp Day FAQs

Can hemp be turned into plastic?

Yes, hemp can be turned into plastic. That is done by extracting cellulose from hemp plants. The cellulose is then used to form hemp bioplastics.

Are hemp and marijuana the same plant?

Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants. What differentiates them is their T.H.C. concentration. Hemp is a cannabis plant that contains 0.3% or less T.H.C. content by dry weight. Marijuana is a cannabis plant with more than 0.3% T.H.C. by dry weight.

Why is hemp better than cotton?

Hemp is better than cotton since its fabric is more absorbent and stronger than cotton. Unlike cotton hemp fabric does not stretch out of shape.

International Hemp Day Activities

  1. Buy hemp products

    One way to celebrate International Hemp Day is to purchase hemp products. That will encourage hemp farmers and companies to continue producing these products since there’s a demand for them. Head to the organic supermarket near you and buy a hemp skincare kit, clothing, or hemp foods. You can also order these products from sites such as Amazon.

  2. Raise awareness of hemp benefits

    If you can testify to the benefits of hemp, you can use International Hemp Day to promote it. That could be by having a forum on Twitter Space or Clubhouse or through podcasts. You can also have a talk show on the radio or write a column on it in your local newspaper.

  3. Attend a Hemp Fest

    Each year, hemp festivals take place globally to celebrate hemp products, raise funds for hemp campaigns and research, and bring hemp supporters together. You can attend one of the Hemp Fests in your region to celebrate International Hemp Day. If you’re living in the United States, Hemp Fests will take place in Atlanta, Minnesota, and Asheville later this year.

5 Interesting Facts About Hemp

  1. It doesn’t cause a high

    Taking hemp cannot make you high, as it contains trace amounts of T.H.C.

  2. It’s equivalent to beef and more

    Hemp contains the same amount of protein as beef, including every other nutrient that the body cannot produce.

  3. The all-purpose hemp

    According to the North American Hemp Council, hemp can be used to produce over 25,000 products.

  4. Hempcrete is a thing

    Hemp can be mixed with limestone and water to form hempcrete building material.

  5. The Chinese hemp industry

    China is the world’s largest hemp producer, with its industry valued at $200 million.

Why We Love International Hemp Day

  1. Hemp offers health benefits

    Hemp seeds are a kind of superfood that offers almost every nutrient the body needs. That includes protein, calcium, potassium, fatty acids, dietary fiber, and iron. Hemp oil is used in different beauty products due to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The oil also helps moisturize the skin and protects against photodamage and bacteria.

  2. It can serve as an alternative to plastic

    Hemp can be used to produce bioplastics. These plastics are biodegradable and have no negative impact on the environment. That is unlike synthetic plastics, which have contributed to climate change and harmed the earth’s biodiversity.

  3. Hemp contributes to reduced carbon emission

    Hemp can be used to produce biofuel and eco-friendly construction materials. These can serve as sustainable alternatives to cement and crude oil, both of which are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

International Hemp Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 21Friday
2024April 21Sunday
2025April 21Monday
2026April 21Tuesday
2027April 21Wednesday

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