The Ancients Got Lit on Ganja at Funerals, According to New Archaeological Discovery

Archaeologists found clear evidence of ancient marijuana use in a burial ground they unearthed in western China, high up in the Pamir Mountains that border central Asia. While researchers have stumbled across evidence historical marijuana use in the past, this latest discovery marks the oldest instance of cannabis consumption in known history.

The archaeological site, located in a 2,500-year-old cemetery, contained a skeleton, incense burners known as braziers, fine goods, a musical instrument, and the remains of what researchers have identified as “high-potency” marijuana. “To our excitement, we identified the biomarkers of cannabis, notably chemicals related to the psychoactive properties of the plant,” Yimin Yang, one of the researchers, told The Guardian. Yang explained that the braziers contained evidence of cannabinol, or CBN, the cannabinoid that is present in weed that is past its prime; highly psychoactive THC oxidizes over time into the more mellow and sleep-inducing CBN. It’s unknown whether the plants were cultivated by ancient canna-botanists or if they were harvested from the wild.

China discovered ancient Ganja Belatina
A wooden brazier and burnt stones from an archaeological site in western China that provided evidence for the burning of cannabis at a cemetery locale roughly 2,500 years ago, is shown in this image from the Pamir Mountains in Xinjiang region, released from Beijing, China, on June 12, 2019. Courtesy Xinhua Wu/Handout via REUTERS

Robert Spengler, another researcher involved in the study, summed up to the New York Times, “Modern perspectives on cannabis vary tremendously cross-culturally, but it is clear that the plant has a long history of human use, medicinally, ritually and recreationally over countless millennia.” He and his team imagined a funerary rite marked by hallucinogenic vapors, fire, and rhythmic music that helped mourners connect with the dead. Cannabis has been found in nearby sites from the same period, in arrangements that have also suggested its ritual use in funeral rites.

Soon, Prospective Employees Can Test Positive for MJ in Nevada. In the meantime, us modern folk are desperately trying to catch up to our 420-friendly forebears, taking baby steps toward reestablishing ganja’s role in our lives. In Nevada, where recreational marijuana has been legal for a couple of years, legislators officially have made it illegal for employers to reject job applicants if their drug tests are positive for marijuana usage, with a few exceptions for public safety officers and occupations that would require someone to be behind the wheel. “As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it’s important to ensure that the door of economic opportunity remains open for all Nevadans,” said Governor Steve Sisolak upon announcing the legislation. The law will go into effect in 2020.

The new law will likely be of great benefit to black and Latinx job applicants, since drug tests for jobs perpetuate systemic racism. The tests tend to accompany occupations and industries that are made up of black and brown workers, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by Salon. The publication also referenced a survey from last year found that black people were twice as likely as their white peers to either be fired or reprimanded for a failed drug test.