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.
Researchers have uncovered the earliest known evidence of cannabis use, from tombs in western China.
The scientists used a method called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to isolate and identify compounds preserved in the burners. Their tests showed an exact match with cannabis and a high amount of residual tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the chemical intoxicant in the plant.
"I think it should come as no surprise that humans have had a long, intimate history with cannabis, as they have had with all of the plants that eventually became domesticated", Spengler added.
An global team of archaeologists in western China unearthed the oldest evidence of prehistoric cannabis consumption. The Jirzankal Cemetery findings also suits with assorted veteran evidence for hashish utilize at burial sites in the Altai Mountains of Russian Federation.
An worldwide team of researchers analyzed the interiors and contents of 10 wooden bowls excavated from burials at Jirzankal Cemetery, a site on the Pamir Plateau in what is now far-western China. No clear evidence exists for smoking pipes in Central Asia before the modern era, according to the study, so people likely just inhaled the fumes.
Another possible explanation for the Jirzankal cannabis' strength is hybridization resulting from migration across the Pamir Plateau, which connects both Central Asia and China to southwest Asia.
Further work at the site has shown that some of the people buried there were not local to the area.
The data fits with the notion that the high mountain passes of Central and Eastern Asia played a key role in early trans-Eurasian exchange.
The cemetery site is situated near the ancient Silk Road, indicating that the old trade route linking China and the Middle East may have facilitated the spread of marijuana use as a drug. Specifically, the scientists found cannabinol, a substance produced when THC is oxidised.
It had always been a mystery when and where varieties of cannabis plants with higher levels of psychoactive compounds were recognized and used by humans, according to the study.
One theory suggests the plants produce greater quantities of active compounds in response to stressors related to growing at higher elevations.
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.
Cannabis is known for its "plasticity", or ability for new generations of plants to express different characteristics from earlier generations depending on exposure to environmental factors such as sunlight, temperature, and altitude.
Regardless of the type these people had used, evidence suggests that smoking pot had its place in commemorating their dead.
The cemetery, reaching all the plan by three terraces at a rocky and arid plight up to a pair, 080 metres above sea level, entails unlit and white stone strips created on the landscape the utilization of pebbles, marking the tomb surfaces, and round mounds with rings of stones below. However, its early usage as a psychoactive plant has not been brought to light until now. Dr. Yang has studied ancient organic residues in East Asia for over ten years.