Skip to Main Content

Researchers Discover Evidence Of 2500-Year-Old Cannabis Consumers

Published on

Researchers have discovered the earliest directly dated and scientifically verified evidence for ritual cannabis smoking.”

This according to the abstract of a new research article called The origins of cannabis smoking: Chemical residue evidence from the first millennium BCE in the Pamirs.’ According to the article, ten wooden braziers were exhumed from tombs in the 2500-year-old Jirzankal Cemetery on the Pamir Plateau in China. They contained small stones that had been exposed to high heat, and archaeologists identified them as braziers for burning incense or other plant matter,” explains Michelle Z. Donahue at National Geographic.

Samples collected by the researchers found the chemical signature for CBN (aka cannabinol) inside the braziers, a lesser-known cannabinoid that is often found in old cannabis. The reason? THC degrades and oxidizes to CBN if exposed to the elements.

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.

That’s right. This cannabis was potent stuff.

The takeaway from all this? These results suggest that the cannabis burned by those using the Jirzankal Cemetery might have been physiologically altered through hybridization (domestication) or a poorly understood expression of genetic plasticity in the plants.”

But the most interesting detail might be the fact that these ancient cannabis consumers took Snoop Dogg’s advice from Still D.R.E.’ — no seeds, no stems, no sticks!” As the article explains: The lack of seeds in the burners may suggest that nonfloral plant parts were burned, or it may suggest that seeds were removed from the floral structures because they do not contain the desired secondary compounds.”

There’s much more fascinating material to be found at Science Advance, who published the article. In previous years, other archaeological finds involving cannabis have been found in China, including a cannabis burial shroud made of desiccated plants, and wooden bowls that appear to have been used to grind down the plant. 

What to read next

Subscribe to our newsletter

By clicking “submit,” you agree to receive emails from Civilized and accept our web terms of use and privacy and cookie policy.

Let’s see some ID

Where are you from?

Are you at least 21 years of age?

The content of this website cannot be shown unless you verify your age. Please verify to visit our site.