“The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium (8,000-7,000 B.C.).” (The Columbia History of the World, 1981, page 54.)
The body of literature (i.e., archaeology, anthropology, philology, economy, history) pertaining to hemp is in general agreement that, at the very least:
From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 A.D., cannabis hemp, indeed, marijuana was our planet’s largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth’s fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals.
According to virtually every anthropologist and university in the world, marijuana was also used in most of our religions and cults as one of the seven or so most widely used mood-, mind-or pain-altering drugs when taken as psychotropic, psychedelic (mind-manifesting or -expanding) sacraments.
Almost without exception, these sacred (drug) experiences inspired our superstitions, amulets, talismans, religions, prayers, and language codes. (See Chapter10 on “Religions and Magic.”)
(Wasson, R. Gordon, Soma, Divine Mushroom of Immortality; Allegro, J.M., Sacred Mushroom & the Cross, Doubleday, NY, 1969; Pliny; Josephus; Herodotus; Dead Sea Scrolls; Gnostic Gospels; the Bible; Ginsberg Legends Kaballah, c. 1860; Paracelsus; British Museum; Budge; Ency. Britannica, Pharmacological Cults; Schultes & Wasson, Plants of the Gods; Research of: R.E. Schultes, Harvard Botanical Dept.; Wm. EmBoden, Cal State U., Northridge; et al.)