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Cannabis Use Detected at 2,500-Year-Old Cemetery in China

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Chinese Brazier

BEIJING, CHINA—The Washington Post reports that evidence of the ritual use of cannabis some 2,500 years ago has been discovered at a burial site near the route of the Silk Road, in the mountains of western China. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry was used to analyze residue obtained from 10 ancient wooden braziers. The tests revealed the presence of cannabis with relatively high levels of the mind-altering substance tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Robert Spengler of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Human History and Yimin Yang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences suggest the plants were placed on heated stones in the braziers to produce smoke during ceremonies connected with burial of the dead. Cannabis is known to have been cultivated in eastern China at least 3,500 years ago, Spengler added. For more, go to “Satellites on the Silk Road.”