Evidence of Cannabis Consumption in Ancient Times

Two recent archaeological discoveries have provided further evidence to the fact that ancient civilizations did consume cannabis, giving further evidence to theories long believed by cannabis activists and some members of the scientific community.

Residue in Found in Pots Suggests Cannabis and Opium Where Used for Rituals by Ancient Civilizations

The first discovery was discovered by the Science Magazine and has suggested that cannabis was used by ancient civilizations, most likely as part of a ritual that involved drinking cannabis-infused drinks, typically wine.

Discovered in the April Issue of Science (Issue No. 6386), it’s said that both cannabis and opium where used by Middle Eastern civilizations 5,000 years ago. The article states that thanks to advancements in chemical analysis technology, testing ancient pots has revealed the presence of psychoactive drugs.

The data has encouraged researchers to delve deeper into how these drugs may have impacted some of the first complex civilizations. With access to cannabis and opium possible through known trade routes at the time, it’s argued that these drugs may have played a bigger role in developing ancient societies than was originally thought.

If so, could ancient societies in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Anatolia have had a massive drug culture that influenced the rituals of the time?

It’s an argument that seems to have divided the scientific community. Many state that we’ve already studied these ancient rituals that involved drug use without even noticing, citing ancient carvings that depict various ritual scenes where psychoactive potions are being consumed.

Others believe that only alcohol could play a role in these rituals, with the conclusions being drawn from carvings feature mostly conjecture but little evidence. However, these residual findings could quickly change these perceptions, providing solid evidence that was once lacking.

It’s thought that ancient civilizations would use a combination of alcohol and drugs not for healing, but to help mould certain beliefs and enhance spiritual experiences – the feeling of being intoxicated contributing these ritual and spiritual experiences.

2,000-Year-Old Cannabis Infused Wine Found in France

Another discovery, albeit made a few years ago in 2015 but only recently published in Wine Spectator, provides evidence to the theory that ancient civilizations were proponents of cannabis-infused drinks.

An excavation of a 2nd century (BC) tomb close to Cébazat, a town in central France, revealed a vessel likely used to hold wine. After a chemical analysis, it was found that there were biomarkers for not only wine and resin but also THC.

Researchers have stated that both recreational and medicinal uses were possible for the civilization of the time and that the ethanol present in wine makes it more suitable for infusion compared to water.

So, using wine for medical preparations was commonplace at this period – could the cannabis-infused wine be used for medical, recreational, or spiritual uses at the time? Some believe all three, but as evidence continues to be unearthed, it appears we will be learning a lot more about the ancient uses of cannabis throughout history.