The oldest known evidence of smoking weed has been found in Israel.
Back around 760 B.C. to 715 B.C., about 30 miles from the Dead Sea, people apparently used cannabis in religious ceremonies.
While evidence of toking has only just been confirmed, archaeologists have actually known about the site for more than half a century. Back in 1963, two limestone altars were discovered in an ancient fortress city by archaeologists. However, previous limitations on chemical testing left scientists unable to determine what the dark material was which was staining the altars.
Nearly 60 years later, the science of weed has come along light years and researchers were able to determine that both cannabis and frankincense. The site also contained a shrine to Yahweh, the Hebrew name of God.
Notably, the people smoked their weed in a novel way. Along with traces of cannabinoids including THC, analysis found traces of animal dung, suggesting that cannabis was mixed with feces in order to help it burn more slowly.
The use of cannabis in ancient ritual and medical practices have been discovered all over the world, including in the Himalayas, Africa, and South America.
However, this is the first known instance in the Ancient Near East, and the oldest known instance of smoking weed anywhere.
It is not possible to know the exact reason why the ancient people burned cannabis at the altar, and some have proposed it was merely for the scent, but the study’s authors say it is much more likely that the people used it to help them reach a higher spiritual plain during religious practices.
“We know from all around the Ancient Near East and around the world that many cultures used hallucinogenic materials and ingredients in order to get into some kind of religious ecstasy,” said the study’s lead author Eran Arie, curator of Iron Age and Persian Periods archaeology in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The finding was reported by CNN.
Photo via Flickr/Michelle Grewe