Did you know that archeologists in China have found ancient cannabis flowers that are up to 2700 years old?

Ancient Chinese Cannabis

Over a decade ago, archeologists working in China’s Gobi Desert discovered a grouping of tombs– thousands of them– dating back more than 3000 years. Among the many incredible discoveries in these graves was one containing the remains of a 45-year-old male buried 2700 years ago with an impressively large cache of cannabis– nearly two pounds!
The dry environment and alkaline soil of the desert had preserved this ‘stash’ almost perfectly, as the cannabis retained its green color and still contained resin glands (trichomes). Researchers noticed several important things about this ancient sample. First, there was a lack of stalks or any parts of male cannabis plants. This implies separation of the male and female plants, which is strong evidence that the plants were purposefully cultivated. Not only that but it also hints that the plants were cultivated specifically for their chemical content, as female cannabis plants produce more cannabinoids when not fully seeded. The seeds that were found in the sample, when examined by botanists, showed “traits of domestication.

The dry environment and alkaline soil of the desert had preserved this ‘stash’ almost perfectly, as the cannabis retained its green color and still contained resin glands (trichomes). Researchers noticed several important things about this ancient sample. First, there was a lack of stalks or any parts of male cannabis plants. This implies separation of the male and female plants, which is strong evidence that the plants were purposefully cultivated. Not only that but it also hints that the plants were cultivated specifically for their chemical content, as female cannabis plants produce more cannabinoids when not fully seeded. The seeds that were found in the sample, when examined by botanists, showed “traits of domestication.

The seeds that were found in the sample, when examined by botanists, showed “traits of domestication.

Perhaps this man was a shaman (as the other items in his tomb seem to indicate), or just a very cool dude for his era, but one thing is clear: humans were actively cultivating cannabis for medicinal uses thousands of years ago. Seen through a historical perspective, what we do here at Stigma is but a continuation of a very ancient tradition of using this amazing plant for its many healing properties.

Reference:
Russo, Ethan et al., “Phytochemical and genetic analyses of ancient cannabis from Central Asia,” Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 59, No.15.

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