SA forensics suggests Shakespeare smoked weed
Forensic technology from South Africa has been used to get to the bottom of what was smoked in tobacco pipes in William Shakespeare’s garden in the English town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Britain’s Independent newspaper reported that residue from clay tobacco pipes more than 400 years old, found in his garden, was analysed in Pretoria using a technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry.
Chemicals from the pipe bowls and stems showed that, although many people in the 17th century smoked coca leaves – the raw material of cocaine – those in Shakespeare’s garden weren’t used to smoke these. However, four of the pipes were used to smoke dagga.
Shakespeare might have known about the negative effects of coca and preferred dagga.
Researchers base these assertions on some of his works. The Independent said that, in Sonnet 76, The Bard writes about “invention in a noted weed”, which could be interpreted to mean he was willing to use “weed” for creative writing.