The History of Hemp

The History of Hemp

The history of hemp isn’t pleasant. When we look back at its story, we see one of greed and poor intent.

You have probably heard before that hemp has been around for a long time. You might have even learned about it in history class and its various uses. What you don’t learn in class, however, is the dark history of hemp and where the ancient cash crop sits today.

The oldest known traces of hemp go back to 8,000 B.C. in Mesopotamia (now Iran and Iraq). The plant had a vast history in eastern Europe and Asia, where the majority of hemp was produced. China is known to have the longest relationship with hemp, dating back over 6,000 years. In fact, the Chinese were known as the original inventors of paper, made with hemp.

The history of hemp

Around 1,200 B.C. hemp would make its way to Europe. Here, it became an essential crop grown throughout the continent. It became a common fabric used in ship canvases and rope for its durability. In 1535 King Henry VIII passed an act that “encouraged” farmers to sow at least 1/4 acre of their land for growing hemp, or get fined.

From this time all the way up until the 1920s, over 80% of clothing was made from hemp. There is a history of hemp in the Americas dating back to the 16th century, and it is known that by the time the Puritans landed on Plymouth Rock, hemp had already been there. During the early days of the country’s development, almost every state in the US at the time grew hemp.

The end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th would result in the history of hemp taking a dark turn.

The downfall of hemp

Hemp was essential in the building of the United States as it stands today, but would eventually be pushed out by the rise of cotton. While hemp was more durable and cheaper to produce, cotton was much easier to produce and process. With the introduction of the cotton gin, the end of the potential billion-dollar hemp industry had all but arrived.

With the rise in cotton production and new, petroleum based synthetic textiles along with growing newspaper and lumber conglomerates, the propaganda against hemp began to grow. In a last ditch effort to save the industry, a man named George Schlichten created a machine similar to the cotton gin for hemp.

However by this point the larger companies already had their hands in the pockets of lawmakers, leading the eventual forced taxation and banning of hemp production in the 1930s.

The future of hemp

The history of hemp all but faded after this point. It had a brief rise back to popularity during WWII, when the government gave out seeds to farmers and even released a propaganda film called “Hemp for Victory”. Unfortunately, after the war the ban continued, and the hemp industry in America was dead.

As for Europe however, hemp production continued throughout the continent in numerous countries, mainly Russia, China and France who is currently the largest hemp producer in the world. In Europe, the production of hemp with less than .02% THC is permitted by the EU. This allows large-scale commercial production of hemp. Similar bills have been introduced in the US in recent months, with no success.

It is hard to look at hemp and cannabis and not see the difference between the two. With the already known vast economic benefits of a legal hemp industry, it is baffling that the US has not lifted its ban on the cash crop.

Hear more about the history of hemp in Europe and what the future holds for this incredible plant on The Real Dirt Podcast!

Listen to the episode HERE

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Elite Strains

Elite Strains

Elite strains; elusive, secretive, top quality, and the subject of multiple songs. These exclusive strains are passed between the hands of few growers, but you’ve probably heard of most of them.

With the explosion of the legal cannabis market now spreading to nine states, suffice to say there has been an influx of marijuana products. While this can be good for several reasons, the main one being the lowering of prices due to supply, it also brings the risk of lower quality product, usually in the form of commercial cannabis.

Elite Strains Difference

Compared to the private market, these commercial strains have strong appeal for their price and what’s known as “bag appeal”, which means it looks good when its sitting on the dispensary shelf. That isn’t saying much though.

There are still those dedicated to the craft of growing top quality cannabis, with a distinct effort put into quality without the sole focus of growing as much as possible that commercial grows have. These “elite” strains are highly sought after by those who want to grow the best of the best, and don’t care about pumping out the pounds.

However, these strains are not easy to come by unless one looks in the right circles, or knows the right people. The difference between an elite strain and those of commercial grows is mainly that of exclusivity and genetic superiority.

Elusive and unique

As cannabis spread from California to Holland, to Colorado and other regions, strains have been cross-bred, manipulated, and repeatedly changed to find the best combination of flavor and effect. However, you can still hear whispers about the elite strains like cookies, skittlez, glue and others that you might also hear about in rap songs, but haven’t been able to get your hands on.

Elite strains can come and go, as hearing about a strain in a song or seeing it spread across Instagram will pump up its popularity until something else comes along. The eliteness of a strain can also have nothing to do with the strain itself, but the grower’s technique that makes it superior.

There’s a reason every dispensary tries to have an elite strain. The name alone boosts credit and sales, but actually having an elite strain on hand sets a grower or distributor apart from the competition that just uses the name. But be prepared to pay top dollar if an elite strain is on your to-smoke list.

Learn how some of the most elite strains in the world are cloned and cultivated from Kevin Jodrey of Wonderland Nursery. Kevin sits down with Chip on The Real Dirt Podcast to talk about his work, passion, and the future of the cannabis industry in California.

Listen Here and Subscribe on iTunes!

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Oregon Cannabis Overload

Oregon Cannabis Overload

Oregon is facing an issue that a lot of people never though would rise in our time. They have too much cannabis.

There is currently over a million pounds of unsold Oregon cannabis sitting idle. Just for fun, that million pounds breaks into over 120 million eighths, or over double the amount of Oregon cannabis consumed in 2017. With the overflow of product and lack of demand, prices are noticeably dropping.

All supply, not so much demand

The average cost of a gram in Oregon has dropped to just $4, compared to another legal state such as Colorado, where the cheapest gram averages around $10. While Colorado has been experimenting with legal cannabis since commercial sales starting in 2014, legal Oregon cannabis is still new, only taking effect in 2015.

While it was slow to pick up at first with just 99 licensed recreational dispensaries at the end of 2016, new regulations propelled the industry through 2017, seeing that number rise to over 260.

The best Oregon cannabis

With so many stores opening so fast, competition is fierce. Breeders and retail stores have to compete with dozens of other businesses in their area, and it has quickly become a race to the bottom.

While more people try to get involved in the Oregon cannabis industry, those already with their hands in the pie are beginning to wonder if they should take them out. Coupled with the inevitability of big business coming into the industry with investor backing, those already involved either have to beat out the competition to stay in business, or bail.

It’s too soon to say what might happen with the Oregon cannabis industry. After all, it’s young, and Colorado went through a similar stage in its legalization infancy in which the bad business models were quickly filtered out.

While for the consumer it might seem like a great time to move to Oregon for super-cheap cannabis, there’s no way to know how long the low prices will last, and if the quality will still be maintained with the inflation. For now, we can just watch and see who the top Oregon cannabis producers are as they compete to stay alive.

Hear first hand what one of the top breeders in Oregon is facing on The Real Dirt Podcast. Fletcher Watson works at Archive Seed Bank and Archive Portland, and he shares his experience in the Oregon cannabis industry.

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Is the Boutique Dispensary in Trouble?

Is the Boutique Dispensary in Trouble?

Big money is slowly starting to sink its teeth into the cannabis industry.


This should come as no surprise, as the industry is projected to reach a valuation of $50 billion by 2026, and big money is known to get involved when more money can be made. For the local dispensary with one location, this could mean problems.

This urges the question; as a grassroots movement that has gotten to where it is because of the people, will we let the industry become commercialized and commoditized by these big time players? This could already be happening in California, where new regulations and costly fees are pushing out the small business owners and opening the door for big players to come in and clean up.

The commercial dispensary

Just in Denver, there are already several dispensary chains with multiple locations throughout the city, who get their supplies from large-scale commercial growers who are pumping out hundreds of pounds in a single harvest and distributing to multiple stores. There are still those small-scale, artisan or craft grows that focus on providing a quality product to their customers, whether it’s a boutique dispensary with it’s own operation, or a small-scale grower that works with small dispensary businesses.

But will they be able to withstand the exponential growth that continues to bring in entrepreneurs with more money, and the demand for even more product?

Quality vs. Quantity

The shift from traditional forms of cultivation like outdoor, seasonal cultivation, to newer indoor methods has put a wedge between the cannabis community. There are those who think pumping out as much cannabis as possible to get the best prices and highest sales is what is important. Then there are those who want to grow small-batch, quality product using less chemicals and additives for a more organic and natural product, usually at the cost of quantity.

The issue arises when these small-scale growers can’t get their cannabis into storefronts because the commercial growers offer their product at a fraction of the price that the store will be able to make a greater profit from. This puts small businesses in a hard spot as well.

With business already suffering due to big players getting involved, boutique dispensaries either save money by getting commercial cannabis, or they provide better quality products at a higher price and risk going out of business even faster.

It will be the latter dispensary that the people want in the end.

The people’s choice

Voters and cannabis consumers have a choice to make in the future. Do we want to keep our small businesses that may cost more, but provide a better, full experience? Or do we want cannabis to become like alcohol, where no matter where you go you will always see the same product, from the same brand, for the same price? Seems like an easy choice to me.

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The Real Dirt on Cannabis Strains

The Real Dirt on Cannabis Strains

It is a highly debated fact whether or not music can help cannabis strains’ growth.


It is undeniable, whether it’s classical, hip hop or death metal, certain strains just like certain music. Maybe it’s just their personalities, the result of flowering teen angst, or some unique terpene profiles. Either way, these strains like to jam out to their favorite tunes.

Check out some of the cannabis strains we have extensively researched to discover their unique musical tastes. Maybe you’ll be as surprised as us with some of them.

Blue Dream

Somewhere over the Rainbow by Iz Kamakawiwoʻole

We suspect the song helps to promote Blue Dream’s uplifting and light-headed effects that Iz was definitely feeling when he wrote this song. Bluebirds, dreams, flying…The song might as well be called Blue Dream.

This sativa hybrid will have you up and about on 420 while you drift somewhere over the rainbow.


OG Kush

O.G. by Ice T

There’s imitators and then there’s the OGs. The original gangsters that made their own unique sound that ended up paying out big. OG Kush is a classic strain that will never be outdone, only imitated. You can usually see most of the OG varietals bumping in the back corner of the room while they talk about how strains were way better “back in the day”.

While it may be hard to find true OG Kush these days, at least we have its favorite jam to connect us.


The Fiddlestix Dosido

It’s rare that a strain loves a song so much it actually requests to be named after it. Do-Si-Dos is the exception. You can taste the sense of irony in this strain, as you most certainly won’t be up dancing all about after a joint of this stuff. Just Do-Si-Don’t hurt yourself if you try (it’s 420, we’re all a little spacey).

Ironically this strain will most likely lock you into the couch instead of get you up dancing, but you can dance in your head while your nugs dance to the Fiddlestix on your table. Yes, you’re starting to trip a little.

Sour Diesel

Semi-charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

Sour Diesel has always lived a semi-charmed kind of life. It burst onto the scene in the 90s and quickly became a favorite, which led to its hybridization and cross-breeding. After a consultation with the band, Third Eye Blind agreed to be the sole music provider for Sour Diesel. So even though it has gotten split up into god knows how many hybrids, it’s still living the good life. Though it might be regretting signing Third Eye Blind right now.

This gassy bud will help you see the greener side of things, and you’ll start see the charm in the song. Just prepare to have it stuck in your head for the next week.


Bad and Boujee by Migos

There’s something about mentioning the strain’s name repeatedly that helps build rapport and plant confidence. Blasting Bad and Boujee at full volume for at least 3 hours a day has shown to make Cookie strains much more resinous, as well as arrogant and flashy.

It’s been through plenty of controversy, from lawsuits with the Girl Scouts to shooting it out with competitors, but Cookies ain’t no strain to f*** with.

Purple Haze

Purple Haze by Jimmy Hendrix

Purple haze was one of those cannabis strains lost in the world. Unknown, unpopular, and songless. That is until Jimmy Hendrix gave it a puff. The two then entered into a mutual business agreement where Jimmy would promote the strain through his music, and Purple Haze would listen exclusively to Jimmy Hendrix. Their relationship had its ups and downs, and the strain officially settled on Purple Haze after Hendrix’s death. 

While you’re sitting back as the purple smoke billows up and hazes, you may notice yourself kissing the sky. In fact, you’re body is unconsciously gasping for air because you’ve been in the hotbox too long. TAKE A BREAK!


Happy 4/20 from The Real Dirt Podcast! We hope you liked our take on some of cannabis’ favorite songs, but we’d love to hear you’re strain’s favorite tune! Share it with us on Instagram or Facebook @therealdirtpodcast!


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420 Blaze it! What to do in Denver for 4/20

420 Blaze it! What to do in Denver for 4/20

420 Blaze it! Right?


April 20th has a special place in the hearts of cannabis lovers everywhere, and for good reason. It’s a celebration of all things cannabis, good and bad. We have come a long way from the prohibition days, and over half the states in the U.S. have legalized or decriminalized cannabis in some form.

While for some, “420 Blaze it” will be the chant they yell at 4:20 on 4/20, others aren’t so gung-ho on expressing their love for cannabis to the world, but rather just enjoying the day with some festivities. When it comes to finding something to do on 4/20 other than just blaze, The Real Dirt has your back.

Check out our recommended 4/20 events in Denver for 2018. You might not be able to go to them all, but a couple of these events will add some much needed activities to your smoke-filled day so you aren’t left on the couch in a hazy state of FOMO.

420 on the Block

Probably the most well-known (and most hyped) event going on for the 4/20 weekend is 420 on the Block.

The music festival and cannabis celebration goes from Friday the 20th to Sunday the 22nd, with three days packed full of events and activities for the community to enjoy. Featuring Action Bronson, Matisyahu, Washed Out and more live artists, the event boasts some of the biggest 4/20 names.

If you are willing to shell out some bucks (only ~$60 for all 3 days, or $25 for one day), you can get the full Denver 420 blaze it experience with awesome live music, plenty of vendors and giveaways, and one of the largest coming togethers of the cannabis community in Denver.

Mile High 420 Festival

If you’re looking to save your money for the important things (like more quality ganja), check out the Mile High 420 Festival at Civic Center Park in Denver.

Featuring Lil Wayne, Lil Jon and a bunch of local acts, the festival is free for everyone with plenty of stuff to do. Boasting itself as the largest, free 420 festival on Earth, the festival takes up the full Civic Center Park with vendors, arts and crafts and more.

The event runs from 10AM to 7PM on 4/20, so you can stop by at the beginning or swing through toward the end without having to worry about a ticket.


World Cannabis Week

While not an actual week-long event, World Cannabis Week goes from 4/20-4/22. The event takes place at the Fox Street Compound in Denver’s RiNo district.

Starting with a 420 Bazaar featuring a plethora of cannabis brands and products in an open marketplace and ending on Sunday with a 420 on the Block Tailgate, the three-day event has something for everyone. The event also includes a 420 Challenge where cannabis lovers can compete in axe throwing, nug tossing, and more.

Plus, other than 420 on the Block, it’s all free!



420 Eve on the Rocks

If you’re looking for something outside the city but still 420 friendly, check out the 420 Eve on the Rocks at Red Rocks. Featuring 311, Method Man & Redman, Collie Budz and more, the night is full of cannabis inspired music.

While the concert takes place on 4/19 so it’s not the full 4/20 experience, the concert will most likely go past midnight, after which time everybody at the Rocks will most likely start celebrating simultaneously, as if they hadn’t been celebrating during the whole show.

420 blaze it with some of the most well-known cannabis-enthusiastic artists on 4/19 at Red Rocks, ticket prices start at $55.

If you’re not into the huge public gatherings where the majority of cannabis tourists will be spending their time, look around your local area. Plenty of dispensaries are hosting their own events on 4/20 through the weekend.

Multiple vendor pop-ups, food trucks, and a lot of the same activities that will be at the Mile High 420 Festival and 420 on the Block will also be around the city at various dispensary locations. Maybe your favorite dispensary is featuring a prominent glass-blower or concentrate brand.

Lastly, there is nothing wrong with staying at home and have a nice smoke sesh with friends, or skipping 4/20 entirely. However, if you’ve made it this far in this article and your not celebrating 420, you’re definitely in the wrong place, and you should smoke about it.

Happy 4/20 from The Real Dirt Podcast! We hope you all have a safe and lifted holiday.

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