Cannabis & Ancient Rituals
Recently analysis of a dark material found on two limestone monoliths has shown the residue contains animal dung, Frankincense and cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
The monoliths are believed to be altars and form part of a Judahite Shrine in the Israeli city of Tel Arad.
Originally discovered and excavated in the 1960s on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; the fortress mound of Tel Arad is believed to have been an important religious site and part of a fortress that protected the southern border the Judahite Kingdom.
The full history of the ancient site of Tel Arad is still unknown but has been compared to the First Temple in Jerusalem for having similar archaeological characteristics.
Its known to have been in use for hundreds of years up until 6th Century BCE and has offered up substantial archaeological finds including pottery and the well persevered shrine in which the altars have been found.
The other components of dark material found on the altars is believed to have helped evaporate and decarboxylate the cannabinoids offering psychoactive affects to anyone close enough to inhale.
Although hallucinogenic substances are known to have been used in neighbouring near east cultures, this is the first known evidence of cannabis use in the Kingdom of Judah; and seems likely it was used deliberately to stimulate a feeling of euphoria among worshippers at the shrine.