Cannabis, (genus Cannabis), a genus of medicinal, recreational, and fiber plants belonging to the family Cannabaceae. By some classifications, the genus Cannabis comprises a single species, hemp (Cannabis sativa), a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb that originated in Central Asia and is now cultivated worldwide. A tall canelike variety is raised for the production of hemp fiber, while the female plants of a short branchier variety are prized as the more abundant source of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient of marijuana. See also medical cannabis.
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Morphological differences in wild and cultivated forms of cannabis have introduced taxonomic uncertainties. Hence, in addition to C. Sativa, some scientists consider the genus as including a second species, C. Indica, and even a third, C. ruderalis. These two species are also sometimes treated as subspecies of C. Sativa.
The plant is also known as hemp, although this term is often used to refer only to varieties of Cannabis cultivated for non-drug use. Cannabis has long been used for hemp fiber, hemp seeds, and their oils, hemp leaves for use as vegetables and as juice, medicinal purposes, and as a recreational drug. Industrial hemp products are made from cannabis plants selected to produce an abundance of fiber. To satisfy the UN Narcotics Convention, some cannabis strains have been bred to produce minimal levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent. Some strains have been selectively bred to produce a maximum of THC (a cannabinoid), the strength of which is enhanced by curing the fruits. Various compounds, including hashish and hash oil, are extracted from the plant.
In the US, "industrial hemp" is classified by the federal government as cannabis containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. This classification was established in the 2018 Farm Bill and was refined to include hemp-sourced extracts, cannabinoids, and derivatives in the definition of hemp.
Globally, in 2013, 60,400 kilograms of cannabis were produced legally. In 2014 there were an estimated 182.5 million cannabis users (3.8% of the population aged 15–64). This percentage did not change significantly between 1998 and 2014.[