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Shakespeare Might Have Been Stoned When He Wrote Hamlet

Scientists recently discovered that one of the world’s greatest playwrights may have smoked pot.

Image via Wikimedia

William Shakespeare: poet, playwright, and … pothead? It’s hard to believe that the canonical playwright wrote King Lear while under the influence (Macbeth: maybe), but recent research suggests that very thing. According to The Independent, scientists in England recently went into Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon garden and uncovered his tobacco pipes. They were surprised to learn that the pipes didn’t just include nicotine, but actual cannabis. Perhaps that’s the source of all the “dates and quince” munchies the poet referenced in his plays.


Stratford-on-Avon. Image via Wikimedia.

While it doesn’t appear that Shakespeare was a heavy coke snorter (seems more like an aderall kind of guy), nearby pipes outside the garden also included coca. Using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, the team was able to discover eight samples with cannabis, one with nicotine, and one with Peruvian cocaine. None of the pipes in Shakespeare’s garden included cocaine, but they did include cannabis. Researchers found no evidence of a bong.

In one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets, Sonnet 76, he references the creative powers of a certain weed: “invention in a noted weed.” Later he expressed disinterest in “compounds strange,” which some analysts believe may be cocaine. Would Shakespeare have done lines with Stevie Nicks? Who knows? But as England’s drug laws become more and more progressive, some activists may be happy to know that one of the world’s most famous playwrights might have been one of the world’s (most secretive) tokers.

(Via: The Independent)

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