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If you thought that old bag of weed in the box of stuff from your high school bedroom was old think again!  The oldest stash of marijuana has been found and scientists are pretty sure it was not just cultivated for practical uses but rather for getting high – go figure!

For years, historians believed that ancient people grew cannabis for hemp to make things like clothing and rope; the idea that they could get high off of it apparently never occurred to them. However, scientists changed their tune in 2008 when the oldest known stash of marijuana was discovered in a 2,700 year-old grave in the Gobi Desert. Technically, it’s impossible to know exactly what this still-green stash was used for, but a barrage of tests proved that the plant possessed potent psychoactive properties and wasn’t all that different from the recreational pot that is grown today. These findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Botany and suggested that people back then got just as high as people do today.

Sacred Marijuana?

The ancient marijuana was excavated from the Yanghai Tombs near Turpan, China from what scientists believe was the grave of a shaman of the Gushi people, a race who spoke an extinct language similar to Celtic. The blue-eyed Caucasian man was also buried with several valuable and rare items such as bridles, pots, archery equipment, a kongou harp and what appears to be make-up bags. The fact that the marijuana was found with such valuable items suggests that the Gushi people believed the plant was used in sacred rituals and was also very valuable.

Closer analysis also suggests that the plant was cultivated to be more psychoactive. If the Gushi people only used cannabis for clothing and rope as people have done for at least 7,000 years, they wouldn’t have taken the time to cultivate such a potent strain.

In case you’re wondering, nobody can get high off of 2,700 year-old marijuana. Most of the THC (the main psychoactive substance in marijuana) has been lost due to decomposition. The stash may still be green, but anybody who tries to smoke a sample of the stuff won’t feel anything. Still, this discovery should be fascinating to anybody with even a passing interest in cannabis culture.

By Neil Charles