A Brief Interview With Prof. Yimin Yang, Discoverer of Ancient Chinese Cannabis

millions of years ago

Speaking of long growing seasons, cannabis grows wild on our planet Evidentlyhas been cultivated for millions, possibly thousands of years. cannabis sativa Belongs to a narrow group of flowering plants (Cannabaceae) that includes hops and a few others. Originating in Central Asia, cannabis became incorporated into early Asian cultures. For from this leafy little plant, with its utility caravans, people got the commodities they needed, such as cords for binding, fiber for clothing.

It’s easy to imagine that somewhere along the Silk Road, a lone night traveler wondered what other secrets this little plant might hold and decided to set fire to it. That’s certainly possible, but there’s no strong evidence that marijuana was ever consumed for its psychotropic effects in ancient times.

first reference

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, in 440 B.C. Scythian, consumed cannabis smoke to purify themselves as part of post-burial rituals for dead people. To paraphrase his description, they dug a hole, filled it with red-hot stones, and formed his little three-pronged tent around it.the next step is throw of Kavavich Seeds of (cannabis) are placed on hot stones, sending out clouds that rival those of the finest Greek baths.

When the tents were filled with fragrant intoxicants, the mourning Scythians would crawl in, smoke, and, according to Herodotus, “roar joyfully in their steam baths.”reasonably inferred Other parts of the cannabis plant hit those hot rocks. (I wonder if that’s where the term is acquisition stoned Origin? )

Modern scholars, Herodotus or not, are demanding facts, and there is no substantial evidence that historically cannabis was burned or smoked to enhance its psychoactive properties.

mountain high?

In 2013, an international research team led by Professor Yimin Yang of the Department of Archeology and Anthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences University in Beijing, began excavating the Jirzankar Cemetery in the Central Pamir Mountains of China. A region known as the Pamir Plateau.

Sunburn Altitude 10,000 feet, the team was there to excavate the site and study the ancient tombs of the region’s indigenous peoples. This diverse group of researchers included a co-author of the study, Dr. Robert Spengler, director of the Institute for Paleoethnobotany at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Human Sciences.

Details of their findings were eventually published in a prestigious journal. scientific progress This article documents the excavation of 10 wooden braziers in a Pamir burial ground, an astonishing discovery whose contents have yet to be realized. Inside those braziers were still the remains of the burned debris and ashes, and those little heaps of ashes held ancient secrets.

Courtesy of Yang Yimin

Note: A brazier can be any type of holder, pot, box, or even a hollowed piece of wood to hold hot coals or stones. In this instance, these braziers were considered to be typical funerary incense burners. However, through a high-tech analytical process, they discovered that the content was not typical.

Test 1-2-3

Marshalling the latest scientific methods of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), Professor Yang and his colleagues conducted several tests. An initial analysis of the ash’s chemical signature excitedly revealed the presence of tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Further testing revealed that not only was it marijuana, but it was more potent than any strain previously found growing wild in the region, suggesting cultivation and even trade. another milestone. Furthermore, the high quality of cannabis lends more credence to the view that marijuana was deliberately smoked for its mind-altering properties. It was something.

In addition to the team’s success, further testing revealed that the ancient herb was at least 2,500 years old, making it one of the oldest pots discovered to be directly linked to consumption for the purpose of reshaping consciousness. In one interview, Professor Yang speculated that during funerals, mourners likely smoked cannabis to communicate with the spirit world or spirit of the recently deceased.

mountain man

This was a historic discovery worth pursuing. I contacted Professor Yan, the leader of the Pamir Expedition, and found him in Beijing.explained I have written for a cannabis-friendly magazine and would like to interview him about his team’s findings. provided a Q&A.

Incidentally, Professor Yang has a PhD in Archeology and is a world-renowned authority on ancient organic residue analysis.

High Times: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, Professor.

Professor Yang: you’re welcome.

Do you know what kind of marijuana was found in the grave? Sativa or Indica Strain?

No, there is a long debate about how cannabis is classified (classified). We speculated that ancient burned cannabis had a higher THC content.

I have a hobby. 2,500 years later, how could you determine that the cannabis you discovered was potent?

Cannabis with high THC levels often have low CBD levels. The cannabinoids detected in the wooden braziers were predominantly CBN, indicating that the burned cannabis plants exhibited higher THC levels than typically found in wild plants.

Although a pattern of relatively equal amounts of THC and CBD is expected in wild cannabis plants, no clear peaks corresponding to cannabinoids of CBD and their breakdown products (such as cannabinoids) were detected in the combustion residue. did not.

So, did the GC/MS test results show that the cannabis in your brazier is a stronger strain than anything we’ve discovered so far?

yes.

It must have been a very exciting moment. What are the dimensions of the brazier containing the cannabis residue you found?

The diameter of the brazier is about 10-20 cm.

Did you see any signs of cultivation?

There is no firm evidence of cultivation. Archaeologists have found some terrible braziers in the tombs, so it is assumed that these braziers, stones, and cannabis burning occurred in funerary rituals.

Have you written a paper on this subject that others might read?

Since this is the first time cannabis residues have been chemically analyzed, we have no other papers to offer.

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