In a grave in the Gobi Desert, nearly two pounds of still-green Marijuana was found buried with the dead has proved to be at least 2,700 years old.
A barrage of testing has proven that the marijuana possessed highly potent psychoactive properties and casts doubt on the theory that the ancients only grew the plant for hemp in order to make clothing and rope. They apparently were getting very 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.
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.
"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 Aryan 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 indeed cannabis. Soma of the Indo-Aryans and Haoma of the Indo-Iranians was an intoxicant used for spiritual and religious purposes. Read More Here: NBC Science News