Marijuana has been used for thousands of years. Proof of that was recently discovered in China, where an ancient burial was unearthed, and in it was a skeleton and marijuana plants. The burial site was located at the Jiayi cemetery in Turpan. Turpan’s desert oasis was an important stop on the Silk Road at the time. It was not the first discovery of marijuana in the area, but this discovery was special because the marijuana plants appeared to have special meaning. Per National Geographic:
Archaeologists are hailing the discovery of an “extraordinary cache” of cannabis found in an ancient burial in northwest China, saying that the unique find adds considerably to our understanding of how ancient Eurasian cultures used the plant for ritual and medicinal purposes.
In a report in the journal Economic Botany, archaeologist Hongen Jiang and his colleagues describe the burial of an approximately 35-year-old adult man with Caucasian features in China’s Turpan Basin. The man had been laid out on a wooden bed with a reed pillow beneath his head.
Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man’s chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face.
Carbon dating of the site puts the age of the burial site between 2,400 to 2,800 years old. Dried marijuana and marijuana seeds had been found in the area previously on other projects, but this is the first time that marijuana plants were found, and in a fashion that indicates that the marijuana plants were used as a type of shroud.
It’s worth noting that no hemp textiles were found at any of the sites that archaeologists have discovered marijuana at. This discovery, along with others in the area, strongly suggest that marijuana was used for consumption purposes, both for medical and recreational purposes. One of the discoveries of marijuana in the area involved a woman that appeared to have died from breast cancer. The burial site that the woman was found at had strong indications that the woman was using marijuana to help treat her condition.
image via National Geographic