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Traces of Cannabis Discovered in 17th-Century Human Bones

By: April Carson

In a fascinating archaeological breakthrough, researchers at the University of Milan have uncovered traces of cannabis in pre-modern human bones. The discovery, made in a crypt beneath Milan's Ca’ Granda hospital, marks the first time that archaeological evidence of cannabis's psychoactive components has been found in human skeletal remains. The findings shed new light on historical medicinal practices and provide a unique glimpse into the lives of individuals from the 17th century.

The Cannabis Connection:

The research, led by Gaia Giordano and her colleagues, focused on bone samples extracted from individuals buried in the hospital's crypt between 1638 and 1697. The team utilized radiocarbon dating to confirm the age of the remains and conducted toxicology analyses to detect specific chemical compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the psychoactive components of cannabis.

Preservation of Molecules:

Remarkably, the study revealed that molecules of THC and CBD can be preserved in bone tissue even centuries after an individual's death. According to Gaia Giordano, "Molecules of medicinal plants can be detected by toxicological analysis even centuries after the death of an individual." The preservation mechanism involves the absorption of these molecules into the bloodstream, subsequently traveling through blood vessels into the bone tissue, where they become trapped and endure over time.

Research Methodology:

The team extracted bone samples from the remains of nine individuals in the hospital crypt. By employing a meticulous process of powdering and preparing the bone samples, the researchers were able to separate and purify individual chemical compounds within a liquid solution. This preparation allowed for the use of mass spectrometry, a technique enabling the identification of specific chemical components, including THC and CBD.

Significance of the Discovery:

The discovery of cannabis traces in the 17th-century human bones challenges previous assumptions about the historical use of cannabis and its psychoactive properties. While cannabis has a long history of medicinal use, the direct archaeological evidence of its presence in human remains opens up avenues for understanding the cultural and medical practices of the past.

Implications for Historical Medicine:

Understanding the medicinal applications of cannabis in pre-modern societies provides insights into the evolution of medical practices. The fact that individuals in the 17th century had THC and CBD in their systems raises questions about how cannabis may have been utilized for therapeutic purposes during this period.

The groundbreaking discovery of cannabis traces in the bones of individuals buried beneath a 17th-century hospital in Milan unveils a new chapter in the history of cannabis use. As researchers continue to explore the implications of this finding, it opens the door to a deeper understanding of ancient medicinal practices and the role of cannabis in shaping historical healthcare. Gaia Giordano and her team have not only unearthed physical remains but also a glimpse into the medicinal mysteries of the past.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is a remarkable individual whose life has been shaped by her determination, dedication, and unwavering passion for both education and sports. Born as the daughter of Billy Carson, she embarked on a journey that would lead her to outstanding achievements and a profound impact on her community.

April's academic journey commenced at Jacksonville University, where she pursued her love for the Social Sciences. She quickly distinguished herself as a diligent student, displaying an insatiable curiosity for understanding the world around her. Her commitment to her studies was matched only by her desire to make a difference in her chosen field.

While her academic pursuits were certainly impressive, it was April's involvement in sports that truly set her apart. She was not just a student at Jacksonville University; she was also a vital member of the Women's Basketball team. On the court, April's dedication and talent were evident for all to see. She exhibited leadership, teamwork, and a relentless drive to excel, qualities that would become hallmarks of her personality both on and off the court.

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