The Atlantic

The Ancient Pots That Hint at Cannabis’s Early Use as a Drug

Incense burners recently unearthed in western China provide new evidence of marijuana’s ritual role, once known only from historic texts.
Source: Xinhua Wu

Marijuana can linger in the human system for a few months at most, but cannabis residue will stick to other surfaces for millennia. High up in the Pamir Mountains, in what is now western China, archaeologists were excavating the tombs of Jirzankal Cemetery when they came upon a set of braziers and asked themselves what purpose the tools served. After analyzing the residue, a team of researchers found that it not only came from cannabis, but contained unusually high levels of THC—the compound that gives cannabis its psychoactive, or mind-altering, qualities.

Indeed, these braziers, or wooden incense burners, mark some of the earliest, most robust physical evidence of humans.

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