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Applications of Hemp Across History

Introduction to Cannabis Sativa & Cannabis Indica. In this paper, we will be discussing the various applications and effects of cannabis sativa, also known as marihuana or hemp when used as fiber, on both the individual and the social level, not only its use as a drug but its various industrial benefits as well. Cannabis indica is the proper term used to describe strains of cannabis that are more resinous, and have a stronger potential for use as a recreational drug. The earliest known cultivation of cannabis is believed to have occurred on the small island of Taiwan, dotting the horizon just off the coast of mainland China, venturing into the Pacific Ocean.

It is on this densely populated plot of land that clothing and fibers composed of hemp dating back to 10,000 years have been found, with early manuscripts even going as far as to urge people to grow hemp so that they should have clothes. In fact, hemp was found to be so versatile so as to be a more efficient material for bowstrings than the traditional bamboo plant, and wars between barons often became one-sided as the inferior bamboo bows could not reach the same distance with the accuracy of a superior hemp bow. It would even later go on to become the first material utilized for producing paper, and most definitely a better material than wood for that purpose. Thus, we shall begin the discussion with the industrial applications of hemp.

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II. Industrial Applications of Cannabis Plant. So as to remain relevant with today’s world, the focus of this essay will be shifted to the benefits of returning to the use of hemp over many modern materials, rather than its outdated uses throughout history. To this day it still remains the ideal material for the production of paper, renewing itself every few months compared to the upwards of 30 years required to regrow ample trees for industrial use. Not only could it be the key to saving our world’s rainforests, but it is also a better material in terms of quality. Hemp paper is not known to become yellow and brittle, nor eventually, deteriorate like modern paper. Truly the worlds conversion to paper made from wood pulp should be brought into question.


  • Schaffer Library of Drug Policy. Dr. Tom O’Connell. 2006. 5 August 2012.

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Applications of Hemp Across History. (2021, Mar 25). Retrieved April 23, 2021, from