The chemical residue of marijuana has been found in incense burners that were used during funerary rites in western China in about 500 BC, reports Reuters. The finding proves what may be the oldest evidence of smoking marijuana for its mind-altering properties.

The marijuana residue was found on 10 wooden braziers containing stones with burn marks that were discovered in eight tombs at the Jirzankal Cemetery site in the Pamir Mountains in China’s Xinjiang region, scientists said on Wednesday. The tombs also bore human skeletons and artifacts including a type of angular harp used in ancient funerals and sacrificial ceremonies.

The researchers used a method called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify organic material preserved in the braziers, detecting marijuana’s chemical signature. They found a higher level of THC, the plant’s main psychoactive constituent, than the low levels typically seen in wild cannabis plants, indicating it was chosen for its mind-altering qualities.

“We can start to piece together an image of funerary rites that included flames, rhythmic music and hallucinogen smoke, all intended to guide people into an altered state of mind,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Science Advances, perhaps to try

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