CBD 101 / History of Hemp

CBD 101: A Brief History of Hemp

It all started with a plant

Lindsey Sirera

04 March, 2021 - 7 min read

Believed to be one of the oldest cultivated crops in human history, evidence suggests that hemp was first harvested as long ago as 2800 BCE. Since then, this dynamic crop has spanned continents, reached the hands of kings, and even sprawled across the farm of the first U.S. president, taking on a life of its own as a powerful and diverse gift of nature. Hemp’s history is just as rich as its many, many uses, and our understanding of this incredible plant is just beginning to scratch the surface.



  • 2737 BCE: First recorded medicinal use of hemp in China under Emperor Shen Hung to treat rheumatism, gout, malaria & memory loss.
  • 1533: King Henry VIII of England passes a law to fine farmers for failure to grow enough hemp.
  • 1619: Jamestown lawmakers pass measures to encourage the production of hemp.
  • 1760s: George Washington grows hemp as a staple crop at Mount Vernon, and did so throughout his life.
  • 1839: Irish physician William O’Shaughnessy introduces research using cannabis as a medical treatment after conducting studies in India.
  • 1890s: Queen Victoria regularly takes cannabis for medicinal purposes under the advisement of her doctors.
  • 1914: The Harrison Narcotics Act passes in U.S. Congress, outlawing opium & heroin and kicking off an era of more intense drug & alcohol restrictions.
  • 1937: The Marihuana Tax Act passes, placing heavy regulations and taxes on the importation, cultivation, and sales of all cannabis (including marijuana and hemp).
  • 1942: The hemp industry experiences a brief resurgence with the Hemp for Victory campaign during WWII that aimed to increase the production of hemp rope for naval use.
  • 1967: The Controlled Substances Act places cannabis at the top of a list of dangerous drugs, effectively criminalizing it.
  • 1990s: Medical marijuana becomes popular in the U.S.
  • 1992: The Endocannabinoid System (ECS), the body’s means of processing hemp-extract & other balancing ingredients, is discovered.
  • 2012: Colorado & Washington become the first states to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use.
  • 2010s: Legalization of Cannabis beomes a national issue.
  • 2018: The Agricultural Improvement Act legalizes CBD in all 50 states.


Hemp v. Marijuana.

Thought they were the same? Nope! While both hemp and marijuana are types of cannabis, they are not the same thing.

Hemp is known for its low THC levels and is used for rope, paper, fabric, as a skincare ingredient, and as a medicinal supplement.

Marijuana is known for its higher THC levels and has traditionally been used for more medicinal and spiritual purposes. To make it more confusing, it is often referred to as just “cannabis.”

In the world of CBD, we ONLY use the hemp plant. As such, CBD is also known as hemp-extract.

So what is CBD?

The hemp plant contains 113 cannabinoids, i.e. different compounds each with their own unique benefits. Short for cannabidiol, CBD is one of these cannabinoids.


The Endocannabinoid System

CBD works its wonders through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to promote balance in the body. This is why it can be used to help increase energy, induce sleep, and boost our moods.

The ECS also derives benefits from ingredients like cocoa, black pepper, rosemary, and vanilla. So even if you’ve never tried cannabis plant products, this is already an active system in your body.



Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.

CBD is non-psychotropic, meaning that it will not get you high. Research suggest that CBD can be helpful in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and seizures. And as we mentioned earlier, it’s anti-inflammatory properties are thought to make it a pain reliever.

THC is psychotropic, meaning that it can get you high. It’s long been used as a major pain reliever, and it is often involved in spiritual as well as recreation practices.

What are the types of CBD?

Full Spectrum= CBD + all other cannabinoids in hemp (ex: THC, CBG, CBN)

Broad Spectrum= CBD + all other cannabinoids minus THC

Isolate= Only CBD. No other cannabinoids.


What are the benefits of CBD?

Since the ECS aims to find homeostasis, CBD is able to help influence our energy levels, focus, mood, sleep, and pain response. This is why CBD is continuously being studied as an aid for so many different conditions.


What should I look for in a CBD product?

  1. Know your type of CBD
  2. Know the amount of CBD
  3. Know the manufacturer
  4. See the Certificate of Analysis (COA)
  5. Simple ingredients. No junk.


Will CBD Make me high?

CBD is completely non-intoxicating, instead creating a relaxed but unaltered state of mind. It’s THC that creates the euphoric “high” for which cannabis is known.


Will I fail a drug test?

It’s not likely. There is a very slim chance, but is technically possible. To ensure that CBD and hemp users have the lowest possible chance of a positive drug test, the industry mandates that all such products have THC levels of 0.3% or less (which is why we always state that on our packaging!) At Upness, our standard per product is 0.1% or less to reduce that chance even further.


Are there side-effects?

In most cases, CBD is well tolerated and without any side-effects. However, if you take prescription medication, have underlying health conditions, or are generally sensitive to new ingredients, be sure to check with your doctor before trying.

Why Upness?

There’s a lot of CBD on the market. And that’s great. What’s not great is that many of the products out there are not crafted at a high standard, one that removes as much THC as physically possible and that prevents harsh, toxic chemicals from ever coming in contact.

At Upness, quality is EVERYTHING.

Our products are designed with you in mind, and that means no fillers, no testing on animals, and no BS.

Everything we make is cruelty-free, gluten-free, Kosher & Halal.

We have an extensive blacklist of more than 100 ingredients that we refuse to use. That includes:

  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Synthetic Fragrances
  • Palm Oil
  • Heavy Metals
  • Mineral Oils


Extraction Is the Word.

We use a CBD extraction process (aka how we get the CBD out of the hemp plant) called subcritical CO2 extraction. This is a pressurized method of extraction, meaning NO chemicals are used. A more popular method of extraction uses ethanol to get CBD from the plant, which can leave behind harmful toxins in the product. We avoid this entirely, AND we provide third-party testing with every batch to show exactly what’s in our product.


Our Process

From farming to extraction, our entire manufacturing process takes place on U.S. soil.

And that’s not all. We work with small U.S. farms that follow certified organic growing standards. Our hemp is grown on clean soil, free of pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals.


Our Pledge to You

We do unto our CBD as we’d have others do unto their CBD. AKA, we only make the CBD we’d want to take ourselves. That means that every single item we create must jump through insanely high quality hoops and hurdles before it ever reaches you.

At Upness, we’re in this together. Through the good days and the bad, the high times and the low, we’re all on a journey to our be best selves—one dropperful of CBD at a time.