China has a very long history of marijuana use.

High Times in Ancient China: 2,700-Year-Old Marijuana Stash Found in Shaman Grave

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In the early 1600s, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut colonies required farmers to grow hemp. These early hemp plants had very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for marijuana’s mind-altering effects. However, it is believed that that some ancient cultures knew about the psychoactive properties of the cannabis plant and may have cultivated some varieties to produce higher levels of THC for use in religious ceremonies or healing practice.

Cannabis sativa plant.

Cannabis sativa plant. ( CC BY AS 3.0 )

Locally Grown Marijuana with a High Content of THC

The 2,700-year-old stash of marijuana found in China appears to strengthen the aforementioned belief, as it was found to have a relatively high content of THC - even though the sample was too old to determine an accurate percentage. Additionally, scientists could not determine whether the cannabis was smoked or ingested, as archaeologists weren’t able to find any pipes or other clues in the tomb of the shaman. However, this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Ancient people inhaled cannabis; they just didn't use pipes until the advent of tobacco. It’s very possible that the earliest inhalers of cannabis smoke did so by accident. Perhaps when throwing it on their campfire they found the fragrance pleasing to the nose and then discovered its effects on the mind.

So, what do we really learn from this 2,700-year-old rare find? Some of our ancestors – regardless of geographical location – knew more than we may think about the effects of inhaling pot. And probably some of them loved getting high, just like some of their descendants still do today!

‘Smokers hearts’ by Gabriel Ferrier, 1887.

‘Smokers hearts’ by Gabriel Ferrier, 1887. ( Public Domain )

Top Image: China has a very long history of marijuana use. Source: Edibles

By Theodoros Karasavvas


Dattatreya Mandal (2017). The World’s Oldest Known Stash Of Marijuana Was Found Inside A 2,700-Year-Old Grave. Realm of History. Available at:

Lane Tr (2015). World’s Oldest Weed Found In An Unexpected Place. Herb. Available at:

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