Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
B. S. Walters
Native of Asia, and cultivated, now legally, mostly for medicinal and recreational use, but spontaneous in many situations: roadsides, farmyards, vacant lots, old fields, stream banks; thrives on muck soils.
Long established as a weed in disturbed places (collected as early as 1837 by the First Survey), and cultivated since antiquity for the fiber, derived from the stem much as flax and used in ropes, nets, sailcloth, etc. Cultivation as a fiber plant and also for the oil in the seeds has been encouraged as recently as World War II, and most wild plants represent escapes.
The species is also known as a drug plant, long used in Asia (source of bhang, hashish) and also used elsewhere as a non-addictive stimulant. More recently becoming utilized medicinally for chronic pain and nausea. The resin of the plant, exuded especially in the pistillate inflorescences, is the source of the active principle. The strains cultivated for fiber are not the same as those particularly cherished for drug use.