Humans have been smoking marijuana for 2,500 years — and now, there's proof
Marijuanahas been around for centuries but now scientists have found proof of the cannabisplant being used for its psychoactive elements going as far back as 2,500 years.
- Researchers at UCAS found pots in Jirzankal Cemetery in China's Pamir Mountains that contain marjiuana residue.
- They also speculate that this may have been one of the regions where the use of marijuana spread to the rest of the world via the
Pots found in the ruins of funeral home in China show that people in Central Asia were smoking marjiuana 2,500 years ago. Researchers at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) found chemical residue in a study of incense burners from the Jirzankal Cemetery in the Pamir Mountains.
"This study provides some of the earliest clear evidence for the use of cannabis for its psychoactive compounds, and the awareness of higher THC-producing varieties of the plant."
Growing marijuana to smoking marijuana
Scientists have already determined that the cultivation of cannabis has been happening since 4000 BC. But, in the cases observed, the primary use of cannabis has been as an oil crop — like mustard seeds today — and the crops had very low concentrations of the chemical, THC.
This time around, in a study that was published in Science Advances, scientists are certain that marjiuana was used specifically for its psychoactive properties. When they originally found the pots in 2013, the remains showed clear signs of burning.
The team originally assumed that it was used for a ritual at the funeral. In order to determine what was burnt within the pots, they began the analyse chemical properties of the wood and stones using gas chromatography mass spectrometry.
What they found surprised them. They didn't just find trace amounts of cannabinol in some of the pots but nearly all of them. Scientists ascertain that this means cannabis was deliberately burnt in the pots and that cannabis plants with high THC content was deliberately sought out by the people in Jirzankal.
While cannabis is largely a recreational drug or a medicinal aid today, it may have been used in a completely different way in the past.
Remains from the cemetery show that not all the bones come from local residents or at least not from people who were originally born in the Pamir Mountains.
Today, the Pamir regions may be considered remote but back then, it's likely that the Silk Road passed right through the region.
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