A new study conducted by an international team of researchers has found that the practice of cannabis smoking dates back to 2500-years. During the study, researchers found evidence of cannabis smoking in an ancient cemetery located high up in the Pamir mountains, Central Asia.
The study report published in the journal Science Advances revealed that the cemetery site contained small stones that had been exposed to high heat and upon initial analysis, archaeologists found that these are actually braziers used for burning cannabis plant matter.
Later, researchers tested the residue and discovered that the cannabis that was smoked in the ancient days were very high in THC. Researchers suggested that the high level in THC could be either due to its cultivation at high altitudes or it may be the evidence of selective breeding.
As Jirzankal cannabis feature high levels of mind-altering compounds, experts strongly believe that people in these areas could have intentionally cultivated selected strains of cannabis to achieve that potent high.
Robert Spengler, director of paleoethnobotany laboratories at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History who is the co-author of the study revealed that the constant stream of people from various other places across the Pamir Plateau has resulted in the hybridization of local cannabis strain.
"It's a wonderful example of how closely intertwined humans are and have been with the biotic world around them, and that they impose evolutionary pressures on the plants around them," said Spengler, National Geographic reports.
Nicole Boivin, director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena revealed that cannabis plants were initially used in Central Asia, and they were later spread to other parts of the world.
A few months back, a study conducted by a team of European researchers had found that cannabis rich in THC may trigger psychosis among users.