Study: Shakespeare Consumed Cannabis

Study: Shakespeare Consumed Cannabis

William Shakespeare. Portrait of William Shakespeare 1564-1616. Chromolithography after Hombres y Mujeres celebres 1877, Barcelona SpainWilliam Shakespeare, the famous author and playwright, likely consumed cannabis as a mind-stimulant, according to a study published in the South African Journal of Science.

For the study, researchers examined residue from twenty four early 17th century clay pipes found in Shakespeare’s garden, and elsewhere in the Stratford-Upon-Avon. A gas chromatography mass spectrometry was used to analyze the residue, with eight of the twenty four pipes containing cannabis residue; four of these eight were found in Shakespeare’s garden. A couple of the pipes also contained cocaine residue, but none of the pipes found in the playwright’s garden contained the drug.

Many believe Shakespeare’s Sonnet 76 makes a reference to his willingness to use cannabis; in the sonnet he writes about “invention in a noted weed”. In the same sonnet Shakespeare puts across the impression that he doesn’t want to be involved with “compounds strange”, which can be interpreted to mean “strange drugs” such as cocaine (explaining why none of the pipes in Shakespeare’s garden contained cocaine residue).

The full study can be found by clicking here.


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