New research: Wild cannabis in Europe during the Stone Age was abundant  

Wild cannabis was everywhere in Europe. (File image via NYT)
Wild cannabis was everywhere in Europe. (File image via NYT)

New research says wild cannabis was abundant during the Stone Age, however, it disappeared from the continent before the first farmers had the chance to grow it.  

Scientists had long were unable to find out where marijuana grew as it has similarities to the related common hop, making the research over the usual methods of studying pollen fossils difficult.

But a group of researchers from the University of Vermont led by John McPartland believes they have some answers.

McPartland’s team concluded that if other ancient pollen collected from a location were from plants common on grassy steppes, the sample is likely to be cannabis.

The research suggests that if other fossils were in an area that was woodland, it can be assumed the plant was a hop.

After studying samples of Stone Age fossil pollen from more than 470 sites across Europe, the team concluded cannabis was present on dry tundra landscapes during the period.

The study was published in the Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.

However, McPartland believes it was possible that early European farmers did use cannabis as a drug as alcohol was not common.

“Even muted psychoactivity would have been appreciated by people who did not yet have alcohol,” he said.

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