Ancient Cannabis Plants and Incense Burners Discovered in China

Update: On June 12, 2019, archaeologists reported a new and striking discovery in the Xinjiang province: 10 wooden incense burners, known as braziers, with cannabis residues inside eight tombs in the Jirzankal Cemetery dating back to 500 BC, which is the same time period when the previous plant material was found. Tests determined that there were higher levels of THC than in the past, leading to the speculation that the cannabis was used (but not literally smoked) for intoxication purposes.

“We can start to piece together an image of funerary rites that included flames, rhythmic music and hallucinogen smoke, all intended to guide people into an altered state of mind,” the researchers write in the study published in the journal Science Advances.

In 2016, Archeologists found 13 well-preserved cannabis plants at a 2,500-year-old burial site in Western China. Writing in the journal Economic Botany, researchers described the discovery as “an extraordinary cache of ancient, well-preserved Cannabis” that “appear to have been locally produced and purposefully arranged and used as a burial shroud.” The plants were displayed on top of a corpse in a tomb at Jiayi cemetery in Turpan in the Xinjiang region.

In 2008, archeologists discovered another cache of

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