- HEMP, the plant Cannabis sativa called kanbus in talmudic literature. The Mishnah speaks of its fibers as being woven with or without linen (Kil. 9:1). The prohibition of sha'atnez ("the mixture of wool and linen") did not apply to coarse garments and felt shoes, the products of overseas lands, the presumption being that they were sewn with hempen thread (Kil. 9:7). The Jerusalem Talmud (Kil. 9:5, 32d) notes that while in mishnaic times hemp was an important commodity because of the difficulty of cultivating linen, in the days of the amoraim linen replaced it. An interesting comment on the cultivation of linen and hemp in Europe at the end of the 12th century is given by Samson of Sens in his comment on the Mishnah in Kilayim (ibid.) that in his region linen was more expensive than hemp, whereas in Normandy and England it was very cheap. From another strain of hemp (Cannabis sativa var. Indica), grown in southern Asia, hashish is extracted. The use of hemp as a narcotic is extremely old. Herodotus (Historia, 4:75) mentions that the Scythians scattered hemp seeds on heated stones and inhaled the fumes. Hashish is not mentioned however in Jewish sources. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 1 (1928), 255–63; J. Feliks, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 220f. ADD BIBLIOGRAPHY: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 145. (Jehuda Feliks)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.