The people of Central Asia smoke marijuana during rituals 2,500 years ago

15 Juin, 2019, 00:46 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The brazier and burnt stones

Cannabis has been cultivated as an oil-seed and fibre crop for millennia in East Asia. 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.

The findings shed fresh light on one of the most infamous plants on the planet with rapidly changing legislation surrounding its legalisation, said the researchers. This had made it impossible for other researchers to determine when humans first started cultivating these plants for their mind-altering properties.

Little is known about the origins of cannabis smoking, but its use at the cemetery resonates with Herodotus's written account from the 5th century BC.

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". Many historians place the origins of cannabis smoking on the ancient Central Asian steppes, 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.

Whether cannabis also had other uses in society is unclear, though it seems likely that the plant's ability to treat a variety of illnesses and symptoms was recognised early on.

Scientists have long lacked the physical evidence needed to verify his claims, but a new study published in the journal Science Advances is poised to set the record straight once and for all: As researchers from China and Germany report, wooden bowls, or braziers, excavated from a 2,500-year-old cemetery nestled in the mountains of western China bear significant traces of THC, the compound responsible for cannabis' psychoactive effects. Specifically the Pamir Mountains in now Tajikistan.

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The authors extracted organic material from the wooden brazier fragments and burned stones and analyzed it with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. To their surprise, the chemical signature of the isolated compounds was an exact match to the chemical signature of cannabis. According to new evidence discovered high in the mountains of Asia, people were toking long, long before 420 showed up as a day to celebrate all things pot-related. The Jirzankal Cemetery findings also suits with assorted veteran evidence for hashish utilize at burial sites in the Altai Mountains of Russian Federation.

It is known that the tradition of Smoking pipes in those days did not exist - it appeared on several hundred years later.

"We all know dinky or no about these of us past what has been recovered from this cemetery", Spengler acknowledged, though he eminent that one of the indispensable crucial artifacts reminiscent of glass beads, metal items and ceramics resemble these from farther west in Central Asia, suggesting cultural links.

Although the region is remote today, it may once have sat on the Silk Road, a key trade route. The Silk Road was at certain times in the past the single most important vector for cultural spread in the ancient world. If the plant has more CBN, then it has lower levels of THC, which means it can be used for domestic purposes. But it's possible that the site and cannabis was used for a variety of non-sacrificial funeral rituals, too.

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

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