Did Shakespeare Smoke Pot?

Have you ever found yourself in a pickle when friends get the munchies because you're afraid they might eat you out of house and home? Despite making a laughing stock of themselves, and because you have a heart of gold and your love is blind, (but mostly because they had you in stitches), you just decide to join in on the wild goose chase, hoping there was a method to their madness? After all – you thought to yourself – there can never be too much of a good thing!

Got munchies? Welcome to paradise. [Photo credit: 38. whats in your fridge? via photopin (license)]

All of the now-everyday expressions in the previous paragraph were first penned by William Shakespeare. There is now evidence that his wonderful wit may have been assisted, in part, by smoking marijuana. When English scientists tested tobacco pipes in his 400 year-old, Stratford-upon-Avon garden, the pipes didn’t just include nicotine, but also traces of cannabis.

In scientific terms that are all Greek to me, using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), the scientific team discovered eight samples from the Warwickshire, England gardencontaining cannabis, one containing nicotine, and one containing Peruvian cocaine. The study included the surrounding properties, not just Shakespeare's. None of the pipes in Shakespeare’s garden included cocaine, but they did include cannabis.

Did Shakespeare have help...from hemp? [Photo credit: DSC_0684 via photopin (license)]

In one of Shakespeare’s most prized sonnets, Sonnet 76, he refers to the creative powers of a certain weed: “invention in a noted weed.” Later he expressed disinterest in “compounds strange,” which some analysts believe may have been cocaine.

With 31 states now considering Marijuana law reform, national legalizationis nolonger considered a matter of if, but when. In the end, all the fuss about controlling personal behavior may turn out to be muchado about nothing.

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