Scientists in Pretoria analysed 400-year-old tobacco pipes found in and around the playwright’s home in Stratford-Upon-Avon, The Independent reports.
New research suggests that one of the world’s most successful playwrights, William Shakespeare, may have imbibed in a spot of cannabis.
The pipes were excavated from Shakespeare’s garden in Stratford-upon-Avon in central England and the residues can still be detected despite the hundreds of years that have elapsed since the pipes were last smoked.
The study focused on analyzing the residue of clay pipes using a technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry, which sounds very scientific and sophisticated so I trust the results wholeheartedly.
However, unlike the latest find, the clay pipes with cocaine did not come from Shakespeare’s garden.
Thackeray (unpublished manuscript) suggests that Shakespeare preferred Cannabis as a stimulant which had mind-stimulating properties. The group found in the pipe fragments gathered from the Shakespeare’s house four contained traces of cannabis and two contained traces of coca leaves.
The Telegraph reports that marijuana residue was discovered in the 17th century pipes.
“In Sonnet 76 Shakespeare writes about “invention in a noted weed”, he added.
“This can be interpreted to mean that Shakespeare was willing to use “weed” (cannabis as a kind of tobacco) for creative writing (“invention”)”, the authors wrote.
In the same sonnet, Shakespeare also wrote he would prefer not to be associated with “strange compounds”, which could be a reference to cocaine, according to the article.