Stout, aromatic, erect annual herbaceous plant (Cannabis sativa, family Cannabaceae), the sole species of cannabis; also, its fibre. Hemp originated in Central Asia and is now cultivated widely in the northern temperate zone. A tall, canelike variety is raised for the fibre; a short, more branched variety is prized as the more abundant source of marijuana. Hemp fibre is strong and durable and is used for cordage and for artificial sponges and such coarse fabrics as sacking (burlap) and canvas. Hemp is grown primarily for fibre in most countries.
Hemp (Cannabis sativa).—John Kohout/Root Resources
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on hemp, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up hemp? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.