Was William Shakespeare a stoner? Did he partake in smoking Cannabis and possibly coca leaves from Peru, which is what cocaine is derived from? Who knew that the Church of England had condemned Cannabis even before Shakespeare’s time? This means if the most brilliant playwright the world has ever known did indulge in the stoner weed, he would have had to have kept it under wraps.
According to CNN News on August 10, writers during Shakespeare’s time who were “explicit about Cannabis could have had their books burned.” Since the writer’s works survived from the 17th century it is a fair assumption to say he wasn’t a writer to reveal any Cannabis use if he ever did use it.
Fox News questions if William Shakespeare ever had the munchies while penning “Macbeth?” So why all of the sudden are people assuming Shakespeare was a stoner? This has to do with a new correspondence coming out of a 2001 report that was recently published in the South African Journal of Science.
Pipe fragments from Shakespeare’s era were analyzed for residue and out of 24 pipe fragments, eight samples indicated cannabis residue. Four of those pipe fragments with the Cannabis residue came from an excavation done in Shakespeare’s garden.
Nicotine was found in one fragment sample and “definite evidence” for Peruvian cocaine from coca leaves were found in two of the samples. The scientists who tested these pipe bowl and stem fragments got a hold of these very old objects on loan. They were on loan from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Along with the scientists, a police inspector from the South African Police narcotics laboratory helped in this testing. While these pipes were found where Shakespeare lived, it doesn’t mean that he was the one who actually smoked these pipes, but some believe he made cryptic references to his Cannabis within his writings.
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 76 he makes a reference to “invention in a noted weed,” which is pointed out by Professor Francis Thackeray from the Evolutionary Studies Institute a the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, who is also an author.
Thackeray speculates that Cannabis could have been a source of inspiration for the great writer. He told CNN, “”I think that Shakespeare was playing with words and (it) is probably a cryptic reference to cannabis.”
If Shakespeare was a stoner he is in good creative company when it comes to the writers who’ve been inspired by drugs like Byron and Hunter S. Thompson, just to name two off a long list!