William Shakespeare & Marijuana: Experts Find Cannabis Residue In Pipes, Suggest Shakespeare Smoked Marijuana

Did William Shakespeare smoke marijuana?

According to CNN, a new report indicates that cannabis residue was found in 17th century tobacco pipes excavated from Shakespeare’s own garden. While there is no hard evidence that these pipes belonged to Shakespeare, the indication is certainly there.

“Author Professor Francis Thackeray, from the Evolutionary Studies Institute at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, speculates that cannabis could have been a source of inspiration for the Bard. He cites a reference in Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 76’ to ‘invention in a noted weed’ saying via email: ‘I think that Shakespeare was playing with words and (it) is probably a cryptic reference to cannabis,’ ” reports CNN.

If William Shakespeare did smoke marijuana, it wouldn’t be surprising to some people.

According to the Huffington Post, Columbia University professor James Shapiro explained that evidence of cannabis residue means little. He also says that the word “weed,” which is mentioned in “Sonnet 76,” may not even refer to marijuana, as that may not have been a term used to described pot in the 17th century. Of course, there is always that possibility that the playwright invented the word — but there wouldn’t be a way to prove that, either.

“We don’t know what Shakespeare did or didn’t do. Just because these pipes were found in his garden doesn’t mean his neighbor kid didn’t throw the pipes over the fence. There are a million possible explanations,” said Shapiro.

Some feel that if William Shakespeare did smoke marijuana, it would “explain” some of his genius moments — as he would have drawn on the drugs for inspiration. As CNN points out, he wouldn’t be the first to have done so. Even still, there are those out there who simply don’t believe that Shakespeare did drugs before completing any of his works.

“People love to come up with reasons for saying Shakespeare was not a genius. I don’t think there’s any proof that he was helped in any way by taking narcotic substances,” said Ann Donnelly, curator of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust museum.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, there were also pipes found that had cocaine residue, but these pipes were not found on property previously belonging to William Shakespeare. The report indicates that residue from “coca leaves” was found elsewhere, and that the items may have been “bought back by Sir Francis Drake from his visits to Peru.”

Coca leaves are legal in South American countries like Peru and Bolivia.

[Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images]