Was Shakespeare High on Cannabis When He Wrote Hamlet?

Science has spoken: it is quite possible that William Shakespeare enjoyed a little ganja in his pipe.


That’s right. According to findings by a group of South African scientists, traces of cannabis were found among 24 pipe fragments, 4 of which were excavated from Shakespeare’s garden. The pipes date to the seventeenth century when hemp was used widely in the production of rope, clothing, and paper, and when marijuana was used to treat certain medical conditions.


Further adding to the theory are these excerpts from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 76, which seems to reference the special weed:


Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?


A noted weed, eh? It has also been postulated that ‘compounds strange’ is referring to cocaine, which was often smoked in pipes in the form of coca leaves. Some have suggested that this sonnet implies Shakespeare didn’t care much for the effects of coca leaves, but found great pleasure in cannabis.


Of course, with a good 400 years separating us from the truth, this is all speculation. But it certainly wouldn’t be the first time an artistic genius has used the effects of cannabis for inspiration and creative energy.


Oh, and in case you were wondering, these pipes were made of clay. If Shakespeare was around today, we at CupboardGlassPipes would of course hook him up with a fresh glass hand pipe.

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