Shakespeare A Stoner? Evidence Indicates He May Have Smoked Marijuana

Legendary authors of the 16th and 17th centuries — they’re just like us!

Well, like some of us anyway. According to a study originally published in the South African Journal of Science, William Shakespeare may very well have been a user of marijuana. In the study, clay pipes found in the garden of Dude Bill’s home at Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK were analyzed and evidence of cannabis was found in some of them.

If Shakespeare did use a bit of weed, he would hardly have been out of step in Elizabethan England — hemp was the second-most-cultivated plant in the country at that time (after wheat), according to Harvard Magazine. Hemp fibers were used to make rope, paper, clothing and sails. The cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa) can be grown to create tough fibers or to be smoked for its psychoactive uses.

Scrapings taken by researchers from the clay bits found in Shakespeare’s garden were subjected to gas chromatography and a mass spectrometer, and turned up evidence of marijuana-related compounds.