Shakespeare Was a Pothead?! Scientists Discover Cannabis in the Bard’s Pipes | Harbor Village - Harbor Village

Shakespeare Was a Pothead?! Scientists Discover Cannabis in the Bard’s Pipes

If you thought you may have noticed a double entendre alluding to Shakespeare’s drug use throughout his work- you may have been right! According to Time scientists have discovered the presence of cannabis on the remnants of the Bard’s tobacco pipes. The analysis and recent findings of the excavation of Shakespeare’s personal garden was first published in the South African Journal of Science– which examines 24 pieces of the alleged marijuana pipe. Findings also reveal the presence of cocaine on nearby pipes, which are not necessarily Shakespeare’s.

Time quotes the South African Journal of Science,


“Literary analyses and chemical science can be mutually beneficial, bringing the arts and the sciences together in an effort to better understand Shakespeare and his contemporaries.”

Findings from the same journal back in 2001 reveal Shakespeare may have dabbled in far more than marijuana. Analysis of his personal effects reveal cocaine and myristic acid (which is a hallucinogen derived from nutmeg) among the long since decimated ashes of his pipes. And no, smoking marijuana and cocaine will not make you as eloquent as the Bard. In fact, such behavior would very likely incite the exact opposite effect.

Back in 2001 the South African Journal of Science asserted,


“At least some of Shakespeare’s texts were associated with the use or at least knowledge of the effect of certain hallucinogenic substances.”


So what does this mean for the Bard, and does this diminish his talent in any way? It depends on who you ask. Many are skeptical Shakespeare was the sole creator of his work, and attempt to cast doubt on the authorship of his work. Although many would like to disavow the Bard his title for the most globally influential writer, besmirching Shakespeare is no easy task.

In any case, many writers dabbled in recreational drug use including Edgar Allan Poe, Jean-Paul, Sartre, Hunter S. Thompson, Stephen King, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others.


Featured Image: William Shakespeare by Thomas Sully licensed under CC by 4.0

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