The cannabis plant is native to central Asia. Archeological evidence shows that cannabis was cultivated at least since neolithic time in eastern Asia. It was one of the first domesticated plants because of its utility as a source of fiber, food, and medicine.
Biological taxonomists have placed all hemp and marijuana in genus cannabis. A variety of cannabis has evolved through the pressures of natural selection and selective breeding by humans.
As a consequence, on the one hand, there is a tall and oily plant that became “hemp”, from which humans have made textiles, foods, papers, body care products, fuel and building materials for millennia.
And on the other hand, there is a small and bushy plant known as “marijuana”, consumed mainly for religious and recreational purposes.
Hemp has a very low amount of THC(Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance that marijuana contains. Because of its high industrial values and environmental benefits, more and more countries are promoting hemp cultivation.
Until the 19th century, everybody used the term cannabis either for hemp or for medicinal cannabis. The word “marijuana” appeared in the early 20th, in order to stigmatize hemp/cannabis with a “foreign-sounding name”. The word was codified into law and became part of common American English with the passing of the 1937 Marihuana tax act.