Cannabis believed to have been used at biblical site in Israel

click to enlarge Cannabis believed to have been used at biblical site in Israel
Public domain, Wikimedia Creative Commons

There is good evidence that religious followers at an ancient shrine in Israel might have been enjoying what some call the "devil's lettuce."

That's according to a new report recently published in the archaeological journal Tel Aviv. Researchers analyzed residue on two altars at the entrance to a shrine on the site of Tel Arad, located in Israel's Beersheba Valley. When it was first discovered in 1963, researchers believed the residue was from burning incense. But a more modern chemical analysis revealed cannabinoids THC, CBD, and CBN in the residue on one of the altars.

Eran Arie, the lead author of the study, said he believes the cannabis was mixed with dung and fat to achieve a slow burn used to induce religious ecstasy.

"We know from all around the Ancient Near East and around the world that many cultures used hallucinogenic materials and ingredients in order to get into some kind of religious ecstasy," he told CNN, but added, "We never thought about Judah taking part in these cultic practices. The fact that we found cannabis in an official cult place of Judah says something new about the cult of Judah."

The discovery is the earliest evidence of cannabis use in the Ancient Near East. You can read more at High Times.

Last year, scientists found traces of THC on wooden bowls found at a 2,500-year-old Chinese cemetery.

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