In what would be Cheech & Chong's greatest fantasy, the world’s oldest stash of nearly 2lbs of cannabis was found in a tomb in China. 2,700-year-old pot that is.
According to an MSNBC report, in 2008, "the sizable amount of marijuana was excavated at the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, China. It was found lightly pounded in a wooden bowl in a leather basket near the head of a blue-eyed Caucasian man who died when he was about 45."
In a research article from The Journal of Experimental Botany, the find is explained:
The Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, China have recently been excavated to reveal the 2700-year-old grave of a Caucasoid shaman whose accoutrements included a large cache of cannabis, superbly preserved by climatic and burial conditions.
Various cultures are known to have used hemp as far back as 7,000 years to make all sorts of goods. But as Discovery News reported, earlier excavations in and around Gushi show they used wool for clothing and reed fibers to make rope.
Researchers feel this find of cannabis was used either for medicinal purposes or as an aid to divination.
Ethan Russo, author of the research article told Discovery News that it was similar to today’s marijuana and could “produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, the main psychoactive chemical in the plant)."
It’s also speculated the marijuana may have been used as a psychoactive agent (or to get high) because the male plant parts, which are less psychoactive, had been picked out.
There were no objects found that would allow for smoking such as pipes, so there’s no evidence of how the cannabis was ingested. Some on the research team think it may have been taken orally.
It’s thought the individual may have been a shaman from the Gushi people. Also buried along with him were many items, rare and considered to be of high value, including “a make-up bag, bridles, pots, archery equipment and a kongou harp.”
"As with other grave goods, it was traditional to place items needed for the afterlife in the tomb with the departed," Russo said.
This rare find has been placed at the Turpan Museum in China.