Cannabis sativa Linn. Urticaceae (Cannabidaceae). Fimble. Gallow Grass. Hemp.
Caspian, central Asia and northwestern Himalayas. Hemp is spontaneous in the north of India and in Siberia. It has also been found wild in the Caucasus and in the north of China. Its native country is probably the region of the Caspian. Hemp was cultivated by the Celts. The Scythians, according to Herodotus, cultivated it. The Hebrews and the ancient Egyptians did not know it, for no mention is made of it in the sacred books and it does not appear in the envelopes of the mummies. Its culture is ancient throughout the southern provinces of India as a textile plant and for the stimulating properties of the leaves, flowers and seeds. Dioscorides alludes to the strength of the ropes made from its fibre and the use of the seeds in medicine. Galen refers to it medicinally. It was known in China as early as A. D. 220. It was introduced into the United States before 1639, as Wm. Wood n mentions it.
Hempseed was served fried for dessert by the ancients. In Russia, Poland and neighboring countries, the peasants are extremely fond of parched hempseed and it is eaten even by the nobility. The oil expressed from the seed is much used as food during the time of the fasts in the Volga region. The plant is cultivated by the Hottentots for the purpose of smoking and it is used in like manner by the negroes of Brazil. In the East, hemp is grown largely for the sake of the churras, or resin, which possesses intoxicating properties. The Arabs smoke the sun-dried leaf mixed with tobacco in huge pipes, while the Africans smoke the hemp alone. For fibre purposes and for seed, the plant is largely grown in Russia and North America.