In the Pamir Mountains in Western China, there is an ancient cemetery. Scientists’ unearthed a 2,500 year-old bong with cannabis residue inside. The discovery made the journal Science Advances as proof that ancient people looked for cannabis and used it for its unique chemical structure.
Cannabis plants have been used for the length of human history to make things out of the stalks and oils, but this is the first bit of proof that they were using marijuana for its THC content. It is still unclear when they started inhaling the smoke from it. This recent discovery only adds more questions.
Finding evidence of early marijuana use has been difficult because of the nature of the plant to wither away with time. Similar discoveries have been made, but because there was not enough of the disintegrated product left to confirm its presence and discarded as proof.
The site being excavated in Western China might change all this. It is 3,000 meters above sea level with tombs filling the area. The cemetery also sits along the route that connects the Far East to the Middle East and Europe that's known as the Silk Road. Proof of the cultural exchange is in the cemetery. 10 of the 34 graves that have 2,500-year-old belong to people outside of the community.
To determine whether the substance in the bong was cannabis, scientists took 20-milligram samples of the residue and in some pipes found and tested it for THC. They found cannabinol, a derivative of THC, in higher amounts than expected. The proof was completely confirmed when an actual bong was dug up.
The next step in their research is figuring out the extent of use. So far, only 1 of the 10 non-resident’s buried has paraphernalia buried with them. They are not sure when they started smoking it and the degree of exposure along the silk road leads to more questions for when they decided to start smoking it.
Who knows? Maybe there were marijuana dispensary and marijuana doctors in China 2500 years ago?