Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man. It has been used for paper, textiles, and cordage for thousands of years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
So what exactly is hemp, and how is it different from the intoxicating forms of cannabis that we consume medicinally and recreationally?
There are many different varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp—also called industrial hemp—refers to the non-intoxicating (less than 0.3% THC) varieties of Cannabis sativa L. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and are further distinguished by use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods.