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30 Interesting Hemp Facts

Hemp has a very long history in many cultures. We are only starting to get to know it. Besides positive health effects, there are many things you might not know about hemp/cannabis. Here are 30 interesting facts that might surprise you.


First of many hemp facts starts with George Washington (one of the US founding fathers) who grew hemp. And lots of it. And so did Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and virtually every other American farmer in the 1700s. It is also highly likely that at least some of them even smoked cannabis. In his farm journal of August 7th, 1765, Washington notes that he “began to separate the male from the female hemp…. rather too late”. He could only have been seeking a crop with stronger “medicinal” qualities. Founders smoked a lot of tobacco and consumed oceans of beer. They could not have missed the recreational properties of a crop well known for five millennia. You can read more on history of hemp here.



Cannabis facts also go way back. The first known cannabis users lived in ancient China, 2,727 BC. Emperor Shen Nung created an encyclopedic list of drugs and their uses. Cannabis was included as well – known as “ma”. Furthermore, we can find evidence in more than written records. Archeologists found the world’s oldest pot stash in the grave of a shaman of the Gushi tribe, on a dig in Gobi Desert.

30 interesting hemp facts


Henry Ford experimented with the invention of a car which was partially made of hemp. It would also run-on hemp oil. The car would be much stronger and environmentally friendly compared to classic cars. You can read more about Henry Ford and the hemp car story here.

30 interesting hemp facts


Japan has the most expensive cannabis in the world at approximately $32 per gram (2018 price). It is followed by Seoul, Kyoto, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. The cheapest place to buy cannabis is Quito (Ecuador) with an average of just $1,34 per gram.


Rastafari religion developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, although many prefer to talk about it as a spiritual mindset or philosophy. A common misconception is that it is based around the excessive use of cannabis. It was propelled by a series of newscasts on illegality of cannabis cultivation and use by Rastafari in Jamaica. Rastafari claim that the Tree of Life in the Bible is the cannabis plant while several passages in the Bible lay the bedrock for its sacred use, including “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” from Revelation 22:2.

3 interesting hemp facts rastafari

Rastafari philosophy combines consciousness with nature and honoring Africa as a spiritual homeland. They refer to cannabis as “the wisdom weed” and holy herb”. It is often used in communal gatherings known as “reasoning sessions” often accompanied by drumming, prayer, and singing. Rastas believe cannabis is like all other sacred herbs, it grows in the wild and its conscientious use is a natural right.


Approximately 150 million people worldwide use cannabis.


Forensic evidence shows that William Shakespeare likely smoked cannabis. Researcher Francis Thackeray and his team from South Africa’s University were loaned 24 “tobacco pipe” fragments from Shakespeare’s Stratford – upon- Avon property by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. 8 tested positive for cannabis residue and two had remnants of Peruvian cocaine. In an unpublished manuscript, Thackeray suggested that Shakespeare preferred cannabis as a “stimulant which had mind-stimulating properties”.

3 interesting hemp facts shakespear


In 1619, Jamestown (settlement in the Colony of Virginia) residents were required by law to grow hemp. It was the first English settlement in today’s USA, and all settlers were required to grow Indian hemp. The use of hemp for rope and fabric was ubiquitous throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in the US. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries was against the law. In Virginia you could be jailed for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769. It was frequently used as barter and some colonies allowed farmers to pay taxes with hemp from 1631 until the early 1900s.

3 interesting hemp facts hemp law


Hemp was an important crop in ancient Korea used for fabric and other things, dating back as early as 3,000 BC. Their traditional sambe cloth is made from hemp. Hemp was legal and not considered a drug in North Korea. It could be purchased at supermarkets. It is their cheap alternative to cigarettes and to relax after a day of labor. It is common for North Koreans to grow their own hemp or to simply harvest plants which grow wild across the country. However, from the 2014 and 2017 reports by The Guardian and Associated Press this is no longer the case. It is still unclear as there is lack of legislation details for this isolated country.

3 interesting hemp facts north korea


Number 10 of 30 interesting cannabis facts includes the most holy book in the West. In 1456, the first Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp paper. It is a printed version of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible that was produced using movable type by Johannes Gutenberg. The 35 copies printed on hemp required 11,130 sheets. The handmade paper was of fine quality and imported from Italy.

3 interesting hemp facts bible


Iceland has the highest percentage of cannabis users at 18,3%, although it is illegal to sell and cultivate the plant. Possession of small amounts will not result in jail time, but offenders are still subject to arrest and payment of a fine. I guess it can get you through the polar night with joy 🙂 If you are interested in the effects of cannabis on stress click here.

3 interesting hemp facts iceland


CBD can severely reduce the length, frequency, and severity of epileptic seizures. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to ensure the balance of the body or homeostasis. You can read more about the effects of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system here.


Number 13 of 30 interesting cannabis facts is a suprise that anyone would enjoy. Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Abdul Hamid II.) gifted cannabis to the United States.

3 interesting hemp facts USA gift


Number 14 of 30 interesting cannabis facts is dedicated to the greatest ambassador of this amazing plant. Bob Marley was buried with the Bible, his guitar, and a nugget of cannabis. R.I.P one of the greatest…

3 interesting hemp facts bob marley


Bhang, a smoothie like preparation of cannabis originating on the Indian subcontinent, dates to over 3,000 years. It is an edible mixture made from the buds, leaves, and flowers of the female cannabis plant. It has been added to food and drinks for thousands of years and is a part of Hindu religious practices, festivals, rituals etc.

3 interesting hemp facts bhang

#16 50 STARS

The first flag of USA was created by Betsy Ross and woven from hemp fibers.

3 interesting hemp facts USA flag


Number 17 of 30 interesting cannabis facts is linked to the future that we would all like to see. Canada was the first country in the world to offer cannabis to patients, in 2003.

3 interesting hemp facts legalization


The historical Mayflower ship’s caulking, sails, and ropes were all constructed from hemp fibers. Hemp fibers were essential to navy as well. You can read more about how hemp caused a war and lead to demise of Napoleon here.

3 interesting hemp facts navy napoleon


The first thing ever sold online was a bag of cannabis. The deal was conducted over the Arpanet (precursor of today’s internet) in 1971 by Stanford and MIT college students.

3 interesting hemp facts cannabis and arpa


Queen Victoria used cannabis for her menstrual pain. Her private doctor, and source of cannabis was Sir J. Russell Reynolds, who wrote in 1890 “when pure and administered carefully, cannabis is one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”

3 interesting hemp facts queen victoria


The Uyghurs, a Muslim minority of China are large producers and consumers of hashish.

3 interesting hemp facts uyghurs


In Malaysia, the sentence for planting just one cannabis seed can result in life in prison. If you are caught with up to 20 grams, you may be given 3-9 lashes (a form of corporal punishment). For up to 50 grams, it is likely you will be sentenced to five years in prison and given a fine of up to RM 20,000 (approx. 4,720 USD).

If you are caught with 200 grams or more, this is classified as drugs trafficking by the Malaysian Law Dangerous Drugs Act, and up until 2018 offenders ran the risk of being given the death penalty by hanging. But now it has been scrapped. However, you probably still receive a life sentence.


Hemp has a different place in Bhutan. It is harvested as fodder for pigs and grows wild all over the towns and villages. In Bhutan, pigs are fed hemp to increase their appetite. It is claimed that farmers feed pigs’ cannabis as fodder because of local preference for pork that is fatty. Cannabis inebriated pigs tend to sleep more and grow fatter faster. It is also believed the meat is tastier compared to the conventional fodder. However, this practice is now not as common as it used to be.

3 interesting hemp facts pig food


Cannabis pollen was found in the tomb of Ramesses II of Egypt who died over 3,000 years ago. Seven pollen grains of cannabis were retrieved from the Pharaoh’s mummy. The paleobotanists who retrieved these crops suggested that they may not have been native species and were rather introduced.

3 interesting hemp facts ancient egypt


In ancient Greece, cannabis was used to dress horse wounds among other things people used it for.


Tommy Chong claims to have smoked marijuana with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, and all the Beatles except Paul. Come on Paul…

3 interesting hemp facts jimmy hendrix


The Greek historian Herodotus reported that the Scythians strewed hemp “seeds” (probably lumps of resin) on hot stones, inhaled the vapor and would “shout with pleasure” at the results.


The identity of a drug called nepenthe in Homer’s Odyssey, has caused a lot of controversy over the centuries. It is described as a substance that banishes sorrow. The famous epic is about the Trojan War. In the story, Helen of Troy serves nepenthe to her guests to cheer them up. There are various theories on what nepenthe is, one of them claims it could be cannabis. It is also possible it is a part of Homer’s imagination.


The Chinese character for hemp ( or ) depicts two plants hanging in a shed, likely for drying. The oldest known instance of the character dates to roughly 200 BC. In Japan the word “Magu” is a combination of hemp () and the Chinese character for aunt or maid (gū), literally translating to “Hemp Maiden”. It is the name of the legendary Taoist immortal, associated with the elixir of life and a symbolic protector of females in Chinese mythology. Magu is known as the Goddess of Longevity, and by some scholars as the Goddess of Hemp. It is also interesting that the word “marijuana” may have originated from the Chinese “ma ren hua” meaning “hemp seed flower”. However, the exact origins are not yet known and are still hotly debated. What a great cannabis fact.

3 interesting hemp facts letter ma


The last of 30 interesting cannabis facts is also connected to language, to slang. Cannabis has approximately 1,200 slang terms

According to Jonathan Green, who is a slang scholar, there are at least 1,200 words for cannabis. He claims there are also hundreds of terms to describe a person’s level of intoxication after using cannabis. The main reason is due to plants illegal status. The terminology became necessary due to prohibition of cannabis. Examples include: Asparagus, Ganja, Mary Jane, Reefer, Doobie, Houdini, Nixon (low quality cannabis) …

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DragonWear Team

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