Prehistoric Marijuana Use
Did you know the same people responsible for building the pyramids of Egypt were also known for their marijuana use? Even one of the greatest pharaohs of Ancient Egypt: King Ramses II’s mummy was found covered in kief particles. Another mummy was found buried with a 2-pound weed stash, apparently prepared for the afterlife. From the first Mesopotamian clay tablets to ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls, evidence of prehistoric cannabis use can be found in the texts and burial sites of various ancient civilizations.
Proof of marijuana use dates as far back as 3000 B.C., which was 5,000 years ago. In Romania, fire pits were found dating back to 3000 B.C. with burned and charred seeds indicating the use of marijuana for inhalation. Some archaeologists believe it was likely burned for use in magical religious rite ceremonies.
In December of 2013, scientists discovered the earliest case of cannabis use to date. On the shores of the Kunar river of Pakistan, in the Hindu Kush Mountains, a prehistoric tomb site was found. It was said to have belonged to a local shaman and was considered to contain marijuana seeds, resin, along with ash. The presence of ash with hash and seeds has led archaeologists to believe that this is the earliest known evidence of marijuana consumption in human history.
“According to the location and context in which the cannabis was found, leads us to believe it was used for ritual purposes. It seems that the occupants of the site threw large quantities of leaves, buds and resin in the fireplace situated on the far end of the cave, filling the entire site with psychotropic smoke.” – Professor Muzaffar Kambarzahi of the National Institute of Historical & Cultural Research
Before the location in Pakistan was discovered, China was home to the world’s oldest known pothead. In a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi Desert, a whole 2 pounds of marijuana was found that according to the lead author of the initial report was “quite similar” to the weed that’s being grown today.
Genetic and chemical analysis revealed that the herbs found in the grave were cannabis. It was also found that all the male plants which are less psychoactive than their female counterparts were picked out of the 2-pound stash.
This may indicate that the ancient civilization was aware of and made use of the psychoactive properties associated with the plant. The individual found with the 2-pound stash was said to be a member of the Gushi civilization around the age of 45 and a shaman.
An ancient Egyptian papyrus scroll dating back to 1700 BC was found to contain some of the first known medical references to marijuana. Hemp which is made from the male cannabis plant was used in ancient Egypt as a material to make things like rope and fine linens.
Another scroll called the Eber’s papyrus which is known as the world’s oldest known complete medical textbook also contained a reference to the medicinal qualities of cannabis.
The Ebers papyrus is believed by some archaeologists to be a copy of a book that is actually from 3000 BC or earlier.
The ancient Egyptian goddess of wisdom or Seshat was often depicted with what appears to be a pot leaf above her head illustrating the importance of the plant in ancient Egyptian religion.
Since the cannabis plant originates in some areas of Asia a lot of the cannabis found in ancient civilizations must have been brought over through trade. Many of the ancient sites containing cannabis were the graves of religious men further illustrating the link between ancient spirituality and marijuana. Before it was taboo, marijuana was found and used throughout various past civilizations and even prescribed to American and British patients only about a century ago.