hemp

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hemp,

common name for a tall annual herb (Cannabis sativa) of the family Cannabinaceae, native to Asia but now widespread because of its formerly large-scale cultivation for the bast fiber (also called hemp) and for the drugs it yields. Known and cultivated in ancient China, the plant was introduced into Europe before the Christian era. In the United States it was cultivated chiefly in the Midwest. The fiber, retted from the stem, was one of the most important for various kinds of cordage; it was also used in making paper, cloth (canvas and other kinds), oakum for calking ships, and other products. The male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. The chemical derived from the female flowering tops is used medicinally; the tops are also the source of marijuanamarijuana
or marihuana,
drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates.
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 and hashishhashish
, resin extracted from the flower clusters and top leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, and C. indica. Hashish, called charas in India, is the most potent grade of cannabis and is obtained from cultivated plants grown in hot, moist climates.
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. Hemp seed is used as bird food, and the oil from the seeds is used in the manufacture of paints, varnishes, and soap and in cooking. The dried leaves are used in Asia for a beverage. The word hemp is used in combination for several other kinds of fiber plants, notably Manila hempManila hemp,
the most important of the cordage fibers. It is obtained chiefly from the Manila hemp plant (Musa textilis) of the family Musaceae (banana family). It is grown mainly in its native Philippine Islands, where it has been cultivated since the 16th cent.
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 and sisal hempsisal hemp
[from Sisal, former chief port of Yucatan], important cordage fiber obtained from the leaves of the sisal hemp plant, an extensively cultivated tropical agave (family Agavaceae or Liliaceae).
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. The true hemp plant is related to the hophop,
herbaceous perennial vine of the family Moraceae (mulberry family), widely cultivated since early times for brewing purposes. The commercial hop (Humulus lupulus
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, which is used in making beer. Hemp is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Urticales, family Cannabinaceae.

Hemp

One of the oldest cultivated crops, its use dates back to the stone age. Hemp is one of the most environmentally friendly fibers in the world and requires no pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, and it uses very little water. Hemp exhibits eight times the strength of cotton and can be woven into a variety of textures. Although currently illegal to cultivate in the United States, hemp is a fast-growing, environmentally sound substitute for cotton and wood fibers that requires little or no chemicals to produce paper, textiles, and a variety of other products.

Hemp

 

the coarse bast fiber from the stem of hemp plants (Cannabis sativa). The bast fibers from other plant species are also called hemp, for example, Manila hemp. Industrial hemp consists of elementary fibers measuring 14–15 mm long that are glued together. Fibers more than 700 mm long are obtained by breaking and scutching the washed and dried stems of C. sativa. Short fibers measuring 175–250 mm long are obtained from cleaning the by-products of scutching; they are also obtained from the short, matted, entangled, low-quality straw. Hemp is used to manufacture rope, string, twine, fishnets, canvas, sailcloth, and materials for furniture upholstery and drapery.

hemp

1. an annual strong-smelling Asian plant, Cannabis sativa, having tough fibres, deeply lobed leaves, and small greenish flowers: family Cannabidaeceae
2. the fibre of this plant, used to make canvas, rope, etc.
3. any of several narcotic drugs obtained from some varieties of this plant, esp from Indian hemp