History of Cannabis

Cannabis sativa and its constituents like CBD and THC, have been used over millennia to support human health. It has also played a central role in our civilization. Here is a timeline of this history.

Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung
6,000 B.C.

Hemp as an herbal medicine was published in what is known to be the oldest pharmacopeia, “Pen Ts’ao Ching”. It is believed that hemp was being used as far back as 6000 B.C. and the writings by the great medial writer, Li Shi Chen, show traditions handed down by generations. In the texts, the ancient Chinese identified that cannabis plants contain either male or female reproductive properties. This discovery was the first understanding of the difference between “hemp” and “marijuana.” #hemphistory #cannabis #cannabishistory #cbd

Seshat Goddess of Wisdom
3100 B.C.

Traces of Cannabis have been found in a number of Egyptian mummies providing more evidence that marijuana was a regular part of ancient Egyptian culture. One of their gods, Seshat, the goddess of wisdom, is often depicted with a marijuana leaf above her head.

2737 B.C.

According to Chinese legend, the emperor Shen-Nung  was the first person to discover the healing properties of Cannabis. He is known to have extracted hemp oil from the plant’s seeds for pain treatment and made topical salves for treating skin rashes and irritation. 

KingHenryVIII Hemp

During his reign, King Henry VIII required the cultivation of hemp in England which was used to make clothing and building materials.


There was an indigenous, fibrous species known to Native Americans as Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), but settlers traveling from Europe brought and cultivated the species we now know as, Cannabis sativa.

Hemp in Africa

Hemp becomes prevalent on the content of Africa, where amongst other uses, the plant was given to pregnant women before childbirth.

George Washington Hemp

George Washington cultivated hemp at Mount Vernon for industrial uses.


William Brooke O'Shaughnessy (b. 1809) was an Irish physician famous for introducing the therapeutic use of Cannabis to Western medicine. One of his patients was Queen Victoria of England, who used CBD to manage menstrual pain. He is also well known for paving the way for the development of intravenous therapy (I.V.).

temperance movement

During the temperance movement, cannabis was commonly recommended as a substitute for alcohol because people knew that the effects from marijuana mitigated some of the issues caused by alcohol abuse.

nixon Controlled Substances Act

The Cannabis plant, which includes Hemp and Marijuana, is banned as part of the Controlled Substances Act. Signed by Richard Nixon, it classified the plant as a Schedule I drug on the basis that is has "a high potential for abuse” and “no medicinal value.”


Mexican Revolution inuences criminalization of cannabis in the U.S.

Roger Adams

American organic chemist, Roger Adams, is the first person to isolate the CBD compound.

Raphael Mechoulam

Raphael Mechoulam, known as the “father of cannabis” was credited with the isolation of THC as well as elucidating the entire cannabidiol structure.

Reagan Say NO To Drugs

President Ronald Reagan pours tens of millions of dollars into a study to prove that marijuana damages the human brain. Instead, the Reagan administration ends up subsidizing a series of studies that culminates in the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, expanding our understanding of how cannabinoids interact with the human body.

2014 farm bill

The Farm Bill is passed, allowing the state sponsored cultivation of hemp provided that it has 0.3% or less THC.

Legalize Hemp
2018 September

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reschedules the epilepsy cannabidiol drug Epidiolex from Schedule I to Schedule V, setting the stage for further deregulation of Cannabis.

SkyNaturals Emblem
2018 December

The 2018 Farm Bill set a statute that legalized the hemp plant (cannabis sativa) as long as it contained no more than 0.3% of THC. Now, all parts of the hemp plant are federally legal to grow and utilize for commerce.

Major U.S. Cannabis Legalization Timeline

Sources available on wikipedia
  • 2019 New York, Hawaii, New Mexico, and North Dakota decriminalized marijuana
  • 2019 Illinois full legalization.
  • 2019 Texas expanded medical use, including legalizing CBD.
  • 2019 U.S. Territories: Guam full legalization and Virgin Islands medical use legalized.
  • 2018 Farm Bill federally legalizes the full cultivation of Cannabis sativa provided that it contains no more than 0.3% THC.
  • 2018 Michigan full legalization.
  • 2018 Missouri and Utah legalize medical use.
  • 2017 Indiana legalizes CBD.
  • 2017 West Virginia legalizes medical use.
  • 2016 Arkansas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota legalize medical use.
  • 2016 California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts full legalization.
  • 2015 Virginia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Delaware, and Wyoming legalize CBD.
  • 2015 Louisiana legalizes medial use.
  • 2014 Alabama, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, and Missouri legalize CBD.
  • 2014 Alaska and Oregon full legalization.
  • 2014 New York, Minnesota, Maryland legalize medical use.
  • 2014 Utah legalizes CBD (first state to do just CBD).
  • 2013 Illinois and New Hampshire legalize medical use.
  • 2012 Washington state and Colorado full legalization, becoming the first 2 states to do so.
  • 2012 Connecticut legalizes medical use.
  • 2011 Delaware legalizes medical use.
  • 2010 Arizona and New Jersey legalize medical use.
  • 2008 Michigan legalizes medical use.
  • 2007 New Mexico legalizes medical use.
  • 2006 Rhode Island legalizes medical use.
  • 2004 Vermont and Montana legalize medical use.
  • 2000 Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado legalizes medical use.
  • 1999 Maine legalizes medical use.
  • 1998 Oregon, Alaska, and Washington legalize medical use.
  • 1996 California becomes the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use.
  • 1970 Controlled Substances Act officially prohibits the use of cannabis for any reason.
  • 1937 Marihuana Tax Act bans Cannabis federally.
  • 1619 Jamestown colony law declared all settlers in the Colony of Virginia were required to grow Cannabis given its use as a renewable resource.

Uses of Hemp

hemp biofuel

An acre of hemp can produce power equivalent to a thousand gallons of gasoline. However, the legal status and thus the lack of a market economy has prevented hemp biofuel from becoming a mainstream reality.

Popular Mechanics Hemp Billion Dollar Crop
Farmer's choice

From the farmer's point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grow corn, wheat, or oats. It can be grown in any state of the Union. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for next year's crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds. Two successive crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned... Popular Mechanics 1938 “Billion Dollar Crop”

English Flee Hemp Sails

It is estimated that the English fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588 donned 10,000 acres of cultivated hemp.