Did Ancient Native Americans Smoke Marijuana?

Posted on May 13 2016

Before Europeans came to America, there were tens of millions of people living from the tip of the artic to the tip of South America that had lived there for thousands of years. There were hundreds of different cultures, each with different ways of living, loving and worshipping. The question we’re asking today - Did any of them smoke marijuana?

There has been a stereotype for a long time, made famous by western films of the ‘peace pipe’ and its significance in Native American culture. There is no one single Native american culture however. Not all tribes use pipes, though most do in some way or another. There are prayer pipes, blessing pipes, emblem pipes, ceremonial pipes, and a few others. In some tribes everyone has their own, but in most, certain people within the tribe, and in most clans someone in the family, is considered a pipe-carrier—a ceremonial duty. For many years, these pies were illegal in the US, because of laws designed to persecute Native Americans and impact on their culture. 

So what did Native Americans put in their pipes? Many people have said that it was only tobacco in the pipes, however, many tribes used different types of herbs in their pipes, Sage, Salvia and Peyote being more common than others. 

Unfortunately for some people out there who would love to tout cannabis use by Native Americans as a sign that cannabis is in touch with nature, there is no evidence that cannabis was used anywhere on the American continent before European settlers arrived. This is mostly due to the fact that even if there was any cross continental trade before this, it was extremely limited and was unlikely to have connected America with places in the world that did have cannabis, namely Asia and the indian subcontinent. 

Do you have evidence to the contrary? If so, let us know in the comments or on social media!



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