Chinese tombs yield earliest evidence of cannabis use

People Smoked Pot to Get High at Least 2,500 Years Ago

The researchers do not have enough evidence to confirm if the plants were gathered from a certain location or where they were grown, but they can say that a lot of people were smoking it. This is the earliest clear evidence to date of cannabis being used for its psychoactive properties.

The next time you're lighting one up, remember this post. This had made it impossible for other researchers to determine when humans first started cultivating these plants for their mind-altering properties. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote of people in Central Asia smoking cannabis around 440 B.C. In the past century, archaeologists have found cannabis seeds and plants buried in tombs across Central Asia's highlands, including in southern Siberia, and elsewhere in western China's Xinjiang region.

The research article states that the "cannabinoids detected on the wooden braziers are mainly CBN, indicating that the burned cannabis plants expressed higher THC levels than typically found in wild plants". But these varieties had low levels of THC.

But these arguments rely exclusively on a passage from a single ancient text from the late first millennium BC, written by the Greek historian Herodotus. Still, he points out that the research expands the range of sites linked with early cannabis use. Specifically the Pamir Mountains in now Tajikistan.

To their surprise, the chemical signature of the isolated compounds exactly matched the chemical signature of cannabis.

A 2006 study revealed the presence of cannabis seeds in a separate Chinese tomb but offered no indication that the plant had been burned or smoked.

An global team of archaeologists in western China unearthed the oldest evidence of prehistoric cannabis consumption.

It corroborates other early evidence for cannabis from burials further north, in the Xinjiang region of China and in the Altai Mountains of Russian Federation.

Dr Robert Spengler, also of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said: "Modern perspectives on cannabis vary tremendously cross-culturally, but it is clear that the plant has a long history of human use, medicinally, ritually, and recreationally, over countless millennia".

The THC-containing residues were extracted from burners from a cemetery known as Jirzankal in the remote Pamir Mountains.

"Some of the artifacts are from Central Asia and some from Central China", he said.

According toNational Geographic's Michelle Z. Donahue, it's possible that the individuals behind the burials chanced upon more potent cannabis strains as a result of Jirzankal's high elevation.

The plants produced psychoactive compounds, another term for what we call the feeling of being "high".

The elevated THC levels develop the seek recordsdata from of whether or not the of us historical wild hashish varieties with naturally high THC levels or flowers bred to be stronger.

The main difference is that they would most likely have smoked up during ritual and religious activities.

Regardless of the type these people had used, evidence suggests that smoking pot had its place in commemorating their dead. It seems that the early Chinese buried their kin in tombs over which they created circular mounds, stone rings and striped patterns using black and white stones. There is also evidence that the plants did produce psychoactive compounds.

This discovery opens a door into the importance of residue analyses, and how they can help us understand cultural communication from the past.

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