ANCIENT GANJA STASHES FOUND IN CHINA
November 29, 2008 7:25 PM   Subscribe

The Western press is heralding the discovery of the "world's oldest marijuana stash" (789 grams) in the tomb of a 2,700-year-old blond-haired, blue-eyed mummy in the Xinjiang region of China (photo). The mummy is believed to be a Nordic-featured Gushi shaman from the Tarim Basin. Scientists conjecture that the cannabis was being saved for use in the afterlife. In actuality, according to the Journal of Experimental Botany, the stash is the oldest pot to be tested for its properties. In 2006, the Chinese press reported that Chinese scientists had unearthed an older marijuana "baggy" in a 2,800-year-old Caucasian shaman's Xinjiang tomb.
posted by terranova (63 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Russo is a full-time consultant with GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine approved in Canada for pain linked to multiple sclerosis and cancer.

The company operates a cannabis-testing laboratory at a secret location in southern England to monitor crop quality for producing Sativex, and allowed Russo use of the facility for tests on 11 grams of the tomb cannabis.


No comment.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:32 PM on November 29, 2008


The caption in the photo link implies that it's a stock photo, not the actual find.
posted by D.C. at 7:33 PM on November 29, 2008


Not to derail from the EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY HUFF PUFFHURF DURF that's about to ensue, but you had me at "2,7000-year-old blond-haired, blue-eyed mummy in China". More info
posted by DU at 7:36 PM on November 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


The 789 grams of dried cannabis was buried alongside a light-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian man, as a warning to the dangers of this potent gateway drug.
posted by acro at 7:37 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll bet it's dirt weed.
posted by gman at 7:37 PM on November 29, 2008


The 2,700 year old stuff is fine, but once it gets to 2,800 it's a bit stale. Trust me.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:39 PM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm buried with the chinese pot
They found it diggin' in the right spot
I'm buried on chinese pot
Everything is in the pine box...
posted by jonmc at 7:41 PM on November 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


The Dead Tell a Tale China Doesn’t Care to Listen To
posted by homunculus at 7:45 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about the Ming vases, I prefer the pot.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:46 PM on November 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Let me be the first to suggest that the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu are somehow involved.
posted by Wataki at 7:47 PM on November 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


The caption in the photo link implies that it's a stock photo, not the actual find.
posted by D.C.


Dude!
posted by Eekacat at 7:53 PM on November 29, 2008


Actually, if there are seeds, it would be interesting to see if they'll grow, and then see what the BC breeders can come up with...
posted by Eekacat at 7:54 PM on November 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


If you are a shaman, and have the oomph to get buried well enough to be a mummy in a few thousand years, you probably don't have to put up with either seeds or stems in your stash.
posted by mmahaffie at 8:01 PM on November 29, 2008 [6 favorites]


Eekacat: The 18 researchers, most of them based in China, subjected the cannabis to a battery of tests, including carbon dating and genetic analysis. Scientists also tried to germinate 100 of the seeds found in the cache, without success.
posted by Demogorgon at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2008


And seeds that old probably wouldn't germinate.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:04 PM on November 29, 2008


was smoking a hit part of the "battery"? if not, i wonder if it's still psychoactive.
posted by Maias at 8:10 PM on November 29, 2008


if this is the same discovery that i'm thinking of, it's at least a few years old. national geographic did a story on it, meticulously recording the funerary relics, but for some reason *completely failing to mention* the pot stash.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:17 PM on November 29, 2008


The "Western Press" needs to stop snitchin'.
posted by dhammond at 8:19 PM on November 29, 2008 [10 favorites]


I have trouble following the logic of the NYT article homunculus links to. The PRC government's claim to sovereignty over the region has never been on the grounds of "which people settled first." The region's been controlled by Mongols, Kirghiz, and Uyghurs over the years, but everybody agrees Han Chinese certainly weren't the first.

I've always found the Western fascination with the Tarim mummies somewhat strange; there are plenty of living people with Caucasoid features, reddish hair, and blue eyes to be seen around Xinjiang and Central Asia. The discovery of similar-looking mummies should hardly be surprising.
posted by pravit at 8:20 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fascinating post!

Wikipedia on Tocharians (Caucasian residents of the Tarim Basin) +

North Silk Road

More Silk Road

Japan was the ancient terminus of the Silk Road, and I (like a lot of other tourists) have had the chance to check out some sites in Nara linked with Silk Road culture, notably Horyuji Temple. It is amazing and profound to be able to look at a fresco or an artifact from that period. It's like looking back in time.

About 2000 years ago, Japanese culture revolved around building ceremonial mounds or tumulus, which usually served as graves. Many of the graves contain artifacts from the Turim Basin or even farther west, indicating that there was intermarriage between Silk Road travelers and local Japanese nobility.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:22 PM on November 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


I've always found the Western fascination with the Tarim mummies somewhat strange

I agree - getting hung up on the physical or "racial" features of the mummies is a little weird. I think it's because most (Western) folks without some sort of background in anthropology or archaeology are unaware of where the Tarim Basin actually is. In the West, there isn't a lot of scholarly attention paid to Japan or even China. For example, I think there is really only one "definitive" complete, one-volume history of China, Jonathon D. Spence's 'The Search for Modern China', which is kind of unusual, given the sheer physical size and historic importance of that country. So there is still a lot of work to be done (in the West) on describing the history of "lesser civilizations" in Central Asia, so I guess a lot of people are going to be surprised that it was blond-haired, blue-eyed people with ponytails that helped transmit Buddhism to China.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:34 PM on November 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


That shit'll suck the life out of you.
posted by gman at 8:54 PM on November 29, 2008


was smoking a hit part of the "battery"? if not, i wonder if it's still psychoactive.

I think I speak for stoners everywhere when I say that I really hope someone got the chance to smoke this. I would give it a try, though I'd expect nastiness and no high.
posted by Sockpuppet For Naughty Things at 9:02 PM on November 29, 2008


There are plenty of living people with Caucasoid features, reddish hair, and blue eyes to be seen around Xinjiang and Central Asia.

Yeah, but they're all hitting on 14 year old girls.
posted by rokusan at 9:11 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. Those dudes had weed up the Xinjiang.
posted by grounded at 9:17 PM on November 29, 2008 [12 favorites]


so I guess a lot of people are going to be surprised that it was blond-haired, blue-eyed people with ponytails that helped transmit Buddhism to China.

Don't forget sandals and tie-dye.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:23 PM on November 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


cjorgenson: There is this

Missed that in the article that they had tried. Bummer.
posted by Eekacat at 9:24 PM on November 29, 2008


Don't shamen usually use higher order psychotropic enthnogens that produce effects on par with LSD/DMT? Maybe he was just an ordinary pothead.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


China: Home of Paper and Weed
posted by yeloson at 9:44 PM on November 29, 2008


I wonder if he smoked it in his hong kong long bong?
posted by vronsky at 9:48 PM on November 29, 2008


Xinjiang is one region of the world that has always fascinated me. It still amazes me to think of how many nations have stretched across those deserts over the centuries, how the Silk Road was probably the real beginning of international commerce, how many great cultures have risen and fallen into oblivion through Central Asia. That place is the heart of the world.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:50 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


you all do know that the worship of Shiva entails inhaling very deeply and saying "boom shanker" don't you?

*innocent face*
posted by infini at 9:52 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Less than two pounds? I wonder how long that was supposed to last him in the afterlife?
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:53 PM on November 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


The substance has been found in two of the 500 Gushi tombs excavated so far in northwestern China, indicating that cannabis was either restricted for use by a few individuals or was administered as a medicine to others through shamans, Russo said.

I like to question archeological assumptions like this. Maybe only 2 of 500 tombs had pot in them because only 2 of 500 Gushi were such enormous fucking potheads that they requested to be buried with their stash.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:53 PM on November 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


How many pancakes does it take to build a doghouse?

None. Alligators can't fly.
posted by netbros at 10:00 PM on November 29, 2008


I like to question archeological assumptions like this. Maybe only 2 of 500 tombs had pot in them because only 2 of 500 Gushi were such enormous fucking potheads that they requested to be buried with their stash.

Tomb Raider: Seattle Edition
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:01 PM on November 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


i find it fascinating that i'm sitting here commenting from schiphol airport
posted by infini at 10:34 PM on November 29, 2008


That was during the Bong Dynasty, right?
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:59 PM on November 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


The Western press is heralding the discovery of the "world's oldest marijuana stash"

We already knew where Willie Nelson's beard was.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:06 PM on November 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


I think there is really only one "definitive" complete, one-volume history of China, Jonathon D. Spence's 'The Search for Modern China', which is kind of unusual, given the sheer physical size and historic importance of that country
We were taught our introduction to Chinese history using Jacques Gernet's A History of Chinese Civilization and there was also a good slim volume by a Polish historian whose name escapes me, so perhaps you could say it's a problem of Anglophone historiography more than a Western one. The other Gernet book I particularly enjoyed was a fascinating look at the economics of early Chinese Buddhism, but like his general history it wasn't available in English until many years after first publication in French.
posted by Abiezer at 11:17 PM on November 29, 2008


If they found the skinny blonde guy next to a stash and a big dude in a coat, then I suspect evidence tampering.
posted by Tehanu at 11:18 PM on November 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I Googled Gushi and it translates to Lebowski. Does that mean anything to anybody?
posted by Mr_Zero at 11:20 PM on November 29, 2008


Still waiting for them to unearth he 2,800-year-old bag of Fritos and a copy of Dark Side of the Moon.
posted by brain cloud at 11:27 PM on November 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


Still waiting for 40-year old cliches of cannabis use to fade away.
posted by telstar at 12:17 AM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


There are still blue-eyed people in Xinjiang.
posted by mullingitover at 2:55 AM on November 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Less than two pounds? I wonder how long that was supposed to last him in the afterlife?

In the afterlife 1kg is the maximum allowance for personal use.
posted by mandal at 3:30 AM on November 30, 2008


DAT IZ VAUGHN BODE.
posted by Restless Day at 4:06 AM on November 30, 2008


you all do know that the worship of Shiva entails inhaling very deeply and saying "boom shanker" don't you?

infini - You bring back bad memories of a certain group of backpackers and their God damn chillums.
posted by gman at 6:55 AM on November 30, 2008


In other news, Nancy Reagan lambasts Chinese drug-using mummies, imploring them to just say no.
posted by jamstigator at 7:13 AM on November 30, 2008


Update: They just got this ancient marijuana into the lab, but they rolled up and burned a cocaine blunt, spoiling it for potency tests.
posted by porn in the woods at 7:23 AM on November 30, 2008


and this whole time i thought i thought 'ancient chinese secret' was a water softener.
posted by msconduct at 7:34 AM on November 30, 2008


We already knew where Willie Nelson's beard was.

Coincidentally, one of those mummies looks a lot like Willie Nelson.
posted by dilettante at 10:18 AM on November 30, 2008


A cautionary tale about old pot.
posted by moonmilk at 11:49 AM on November 30, 2008


and this whole time i thought i thought 'ancient chinese secret' was a water softener.

i thought it was a douche.
posted by CitizenD at 12:25 PM on November 30, 2008


Scientists conjecture that the cannabis was being saved for use in the afterlife.
Sheesh. Now that is some hardcore bogarting.
posted by Flunkie at 12:28 PM on November 30, 2008


A cautionary tale about old pot.

As the Boomers grow up my mental image of habitual pot-users has morphed from teenagers with drums to slightly crusty older academic types with 2 kids and lots of African crap on the walls.

Bow-tie is the new tie-dye.
posted by The Whelk at 12:42 PM on November 30, 2008


In other news, Nancy Reagan lambasts Chinese drug-using mummies, imploring them to just say no.

(represses urge to make a cheap " drug-using mummy" joke.)
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on November 30, 2008


If life was fair, there'd be a Conan pastiche called The Tomb of Tarim Basin.

Do you recommend 'The Search for Modern China', KokuRyu?
posted by ersatz at 3:59 PM on November 30, 2008


Mullingitover, that is a fantastic set you linked.

Anyone familiar with the region wouldn't be surprised that these mummies have Caucasoid features. A few hundred years after that stash was found, the dominant language in the region would have been Greek. Today, people in Xinjiang, even withing the same family, can look so different from one another than one can look Scandinavian, another South Asian, another Middle Eastern and another East Asian.

That said, if there was to be any place where people would display such amazing diversity of appearance, it would make sense that it would be Central Asia.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:13 PM on November 30, 2008


mullingitover, [expletive deleted] and others interested in the caucasians-in-China thing: see this previous thread - The lost tribe of Alexander.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 PM on November 30, 2008


and this one: Some Romans may have lived in ancient China. A few Chinese citizens today in the Gansu province have curly blonde hair and European features. It seems possible now that captured Roman soldiers settled in parts of China.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:30 PM on November 30, 2008


Actually, if there are seeds, it would be interesting to see if they'll grow, and then see what the BC breeders can come up with...

"Dude!"
"Dude, I know, it's wicked, right? It's called Chinese Mummy. They found this old stash of weed with a mummy in China--"
"I thought mummies were from Egypt."
"...yeah...well, I guess they were in China, too" *laughs* "So, anyway, they found this stash and someone smuggled a couple of the seeds and started growing plants from it, and that's what we are now smoking. See those Chinese people in your peripheral vision?"
"Fuck, dude, yes! I thought I was just high! Fuck!"
"That's what happens when you smoke weed from a Chinese mummy, dude..."
*both laugh hysterically*

/scene
posted by zardoz at 10:32 PM on November 30, 2008


Here are photos of the ACTUAL marijuana.
posted by gman at 7:11 PM on December 4, 2008


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