Also called Indian hemp, marijuana. a tall, coarse plant, Cannabis sativa, that is native to Asia but naturalized or cultivated in many parts of the world and is the source of a valuable fiber as well as drugs such as marijuana and hashish.
O.E. hænep, from P.Gmc. *hanapiz (cf. O.S. hanap, O.N. hampr, O.H.G. hanaf, Ger. Hanf), probably a very early Gmc. borrowing of the same Scythian word that became Gk. kannabis (see cannabis). Slang sense of "marijuana" dates from 1940s; though scientific use for the narcotic derived from hemp dates to 1870.