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Recent study indicates Shakespeare might have smoked cannabis

Kunal Majumder | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:58 IST

His readers have have long combed his work to find innuendoes of cannabis use, but this the first concrete evidence that can prove Shakespeare used the drug. A study of 24 clay smoking pipes, excavated from Shakespeare's garden, found traces of cannabis in at least eight pipes.

The pipes are believed to be 400 years old, and were loaned to South African scientists for this study by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The scientists, led by Dr. Francis Thackeray, used sophisticated gas chromatography methods at a government laboratory in Pretoria.

In Elizabethan England, two kinds of tobacco was in vogue, 'the henbane of Peru' which is associated coca leaves brought to England from South America, and North American 'tobacco leaves' from which we get nicotine.

First published: 14 February 2017, 6:58 IST
Kunal Majumder @kunalmajumder

Editor for Speed News aka Catch Live and Operations at Catch, Kunal enjoys measuring his life in numbers. Of his 30 years of life, 12 have been spent working, 9 of them in journalism. The remaining 3 were spent in 2 call centres, talking to British and Australians about insurance and cellphones. In his journalistic capacity, Kunal has worked at 3 publications and headed 2 online teams. The '3' includes Images Multimedia, Tehelka and DNA. The '2' includes Tehelka and DNA. Catch is Kunal's 6th workplace, where he will head his 3rd team as speed news editor. As a reporter, he won 2 awards - Statesman Award for Rural Reporting and UNFPA-Laadli Award for Gender Sensitivity. That's his story in Prime Numbers (a section on this site from which he's taken inspiration).