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World's oldest marijuana stash totally busted

  1. Micklemouse
    19533.jpg 19533.jpg World's oldest marijuana stash totally busted

    Two pounds of still-green weed found in a 2,700-year-old Gobi Desert grave

    By Jennifer Viegas

    updated 12/3/2008 1:19:15 PM ET



    Nearly two pounds of still-green plant material found in a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi Desert has just been identified as the world's oldest marijuana stash, according to a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany.
    A barrage of tests proves the marijuana possessed potent psychoactive properties and casts doubt on the theory that the ancients only grew the plant for hemp in order to make clothing, rope and other objects.

    They apparently were getting high too.

    Lead author Ethan Russo told Discovery News that the marijuana "is quite similar" to what's grown today.

    "We know from both the chemical analysis and genetics that it could produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, the main psychoactive chemical in the plant)," he explained, adding that no one could feel its effects today, due to decomposition over the millennia.

    Russo served as a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Botany while conducting the study. He and his international team analyzed the cannabis, which 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.

    "This individual was buried with an unusual number of high value, rare items," Russo said, mentioning that the objects included a make-up bag, bridles, pots, archery equipment and a kongou harp. The researchers believe the individual was a shaman from the Gushi people, who spoke a now-extinct language called Tocharian that was similar to Celtic.
    Scientists originally thought the plant material in the grave was coriander, but microscopic botanical analysis of the bowl contents, along with genetic testing, revealed that it was cannabis.

    The size of seeds mixed in with the leaves, along with their color and other characteristics, indicate the marijuana came from a cultivated strain. Before the burial, someone had carefully picked out all of the male plant parts, which are less psychoactive, so Russo and his team believe there is little doubt as to why the cannabis was grown.

    What is in question, however, is how the marijuana was administered, since no pipes or other objects associated with smoking were found in the grave.

    "Perhaps it was ingested orally," Russo said. "It might also have been fumigated, as the Scythian tribes to the north did subsequently."

    Although other cultures in the area used hemp to make various goods as early as 7,000 years ago, additional tomb finds indicate the Gushi fabricated their clothing from wool and made their rope out of reed fibers. The scientists are unsure if the marijuana was grown for more spiritual or medical purposes, but it's evident that the blue-eyed man was buried with a lot of it.

    "As with other grave goods, it was traditional to place items needed for the afterlife in the tomb with the departed," Russo said.

    The ancient marijuana stash is now housed at Turpan Museum in China. In the future, Russo hopes to conduct further research at the Yanghai site, which has 2,000 other tombs.
    © 2012 Discovery Channel



  1. SpatialReason
    I'd love to be a weed-snob with just a nug of this: "oh, proud of your purple urkel are we? Well bitches, this pot is from the Xia Dynasty!"

    Of course, it won't get you high, but still, what a show-piece!
  2. rawbeer
    Yeah, I know it wouldn't do anything but I would TOTALLY smoke some of this stuff.
  3. NastyNate
    I wonder if the cannabis was in a pile. If over the period of time the THC retracted from the outermost weed to the center, more insulated buds, creating the most powerul weed ever created in the middle. Just a dumb thought.
    I have found an image of what is meant to be the burial site and belive the bowl described in the article is the one by his skull (bottom right of pic)

  5. al-k-mist
    theres seeds? can i get some of them? a landrace strain perfect for breeding!
  6. Alien Sex Fiend
    "Perhaps it was ingested orally," Russo said. "It might also have been fumigated, as the Scythian tribes to the north did subsequently."

    hmm maybe he was like Buddha living on one cannabis seed a day?
  7. Willyzh
    Maybe his rolling papers disintegrated.

    Maybe it was a gift for the gods.

    Maybe he wasn't a "Shaman" at all but involved in trading, and he wasn't gonna smoke it at all he was just slinging it. It seems significant that he was caucasian with blue eyes and spoke a language related to Celtic but was found in the Gobi desert.

    Its common to bury someone with the things they need for the afterlife, but I think that is our interpretation. I think it's far more common to not disrespect the dead by stealing their possessions. Burial of a foreigner in a proper tomb indicates this.

    THE GRATEFUL DEAD: "the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial."

    So there you have it- this fellow was the first wandering Grateful Dead Hippie. Of course he had weed.
  8. C11H15
    In some temples it was burnt in a special compartment under the floor, the smoke would rise up and fill the temple, cant remember which religion as i read it a while ago.
    The seeds! Where are the seeds!
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