The Origins of Cannabis
The oldest known written record on cannabis use comes from the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung in 2727 B.C. Ancient Greeks and Romans were also familiar with cannabis, while in the Middle East use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa. In 1545 cannabis spread to the Western Hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber. In North America cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown on many plantations for use in rope, clothing, and paper.
The Use of Cannabis
Cannabis sativa grows wild throughout many tropical and humid parts of the world. Its seeds have been used for animal feed, its fiber for hemp rope, and its oil as a vehicle for paint.
The Cannabis Plant
Cannabis is dioecious, meaning it comes as separate male and female plants. Male plants are taller and thinner and have flower-like pods that contain the fertilizing, pollen-generating anthers. The female plant is darker and shorter and has short hairs protruding at the end of the bracteole pods.