Ancient human bones reveal traces of cannabis

The Discovery of Ancient Cannabis Bones

A 17th century crypt in Milan has yielded the first archaeological evidence of the psychoactive constituents of cannabis in human bones. This comes from skeletal remains that were buried beneath a hospital.

Ancient cannabis bones

She and her colleagues discovered molecules of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the psychoactive components of cannabis – in the thigh bones of a young man and a middle-aged woman buried between 1638 and 1697. The individuals were buried in a crypt of the Ca’ Granda Hospital in Milan in the 17th century, and the researchers confirmed this by radiocarbon dating.

They then performed toxicological analyses by pulverizing and preparing the bone samples so that individual chemical compounds could be separated and purified in liquid solution. This allowed them to use mass spectrometry to identify the chemical components.

The researchers found no mention of cannabis in the Ca’ Granda hospital’s medical records. Giordano says it is possible that people may have self-medicated or used cannabis recreationally.
The study is unique because this toxicological method is used to analyze human remains at an archaeological site.

  • The discovery is groundbreaking
  • Provides insight into ancient cannabis use
  • Opens new research opportunities

Yang’s own research has previously found chemical traces of cannabis in wooden braziers in tombs dating back 2500 years. And cannabis has an even longer history of becoming humanity’s favorite plant species, beginning with its domestication some 12,000 years ago. Meanwhile, Giordano and his colleagues are expanding their toxicological search to other substances, such as cocaine, in human remains.

Source: (EN)

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