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  Drug Trade Thrived in Biblical Times
Posted by CN Staff on August 07, 2002 at 17:52:00 PT
By Jason Keyser, Associated Press 
Source: MSNBC  

cannabisnews.com Jerusalem, A thriving Bronze Age drug trade supplied narcotics to ancient cultures throughout the eastern Mediterranean as balm for the pain of childbirth and disease, proving a sophisticated knowledge of medicines dating back thousands of years, researchers say.

Ancient Ceramic pots, most of them nearly identical in shape and about five inches long, have been found in tombs and settlements throughout the Middle East, dating as far back as 1400 B.C., said Joe Zias, an anthropologist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.


The drugs were probably used as medicine, and the finds are helping researchers better understand how ancient people treated illness and disease.

“It’s a window to the past that many people are unaware of,” Zias told a recent conference in Israel on DNA and archaeology. “Here’s something used in prehistoric times, and it’s used until today.”

When turned upside down, the thin-necked vessels with round bases resemble opium poppies pods. If there was any doubt about what was inside, the round bases have white markings, designs that symbolized knife cuts made on poppies bulbs so the white opium base can ooze and be harvested, Zias said.

The Mycenaean ceramics were analyzed with a procedure called gas chromatography that turned up traces of opium.

Hundreds of the pots have been found, and they commonly show up in the hands of antiquities dealers in places like Jerusalem’s Old City. “Give me an hour there and I could find you 10 of them,” Zias said.

PAIN RELIEVER

Based on ancient Egyptian medical writings from the 3rd millennium B.C., researchers believe opium and hashish — a smokable drug that comes from the concentrated resin from the flowers of hemp plants — were used during surgery and to treat aches and pains and other ailments. Hashish was also used to ease menstrual cramps and was even offered to women during childbirth.

Based on Egyptian writings, archaeologists believe the opium was eaten rather than smoked.

The drugs are part of a medical record that shows the ancients were far more advanced than most people realize, Zias said, noting evidence that European people did cranial surgery as long as 10,000 years ago, while the Romans left records of 120 surgical procedures.

Mark Spigelman, a Zias colleague at Hebrew University, found one of the poppy-shaped ceramic pots from the middle Bronze Age in Siqqura, a Giza cemetery near the pyramids outside of Cairo during a dig four years ago. The pot, found in an Egyptian grave from the 18th Dynasty, was identical to other pots found throughout ancient Israel and the Middle East.

“These guys were selling opium all over the Middle East,” Spigelman said. “This is the original Medellin cartel, 3,500 years ago,” he said in a joking reference to the violent Colombian cocaine cartel.

It seems more likely, however, that the ancient trade was run by respected healers rather than violent drug lords.

“We know for sure these things were used for medical purposes,” Zias said. “The question is whether they were used for recreational purposes.”

HASHISH AIDED DELIVERY

In an archaeologically rich area of central Israel, Zias found another clue. While excavating a tomb from the late Roman period in the town of Beit Shemesh 10 years ago, he found the skeleton of a 14-year-old girl who died in childbirth around A.D. 390. On her stomach was a fleck of a burnt brownish-black substance.

“I thought it was incense,” Zias said. But when he had it analyzed by police and chemists at Hebrew University, it turned out to be a 7-gram mixture of hashish, dried seeds, fruit and common reeds.

Seven glass vessels containing traces of the drug were found near the skeleton. She probably used them to inhale the smoky cocktail to aid her delivery. Medical researchers have found that other than relaxing the user, hashish increases the force and frequency of contractions in women giving birth; and it was used in deliveries until the 19th century, after which new drugs were developed.

But it didn’t help this girl, who was only 4 feet 6 inches tall. She bled to death.

The drug was an extremely rare find. Organic compounds quickly decay, but because this one had been burned it was carbonized and preserved.

“It’s the first time it’s ever been found in terms of direct evidence in an archaeological dig,” Zias said. “You rarely find direct evidence of drugs in antiquity.”

Note: Opium, hashish traces found on ceramic pots, tomb remains.

Newshawk: Clay L.
Source: MSNBC (US Web)
Author: Jason Keyser, Associated Press
Published: August 6, 2002
Copyright: 2002 MSNBC
Contact: letters@msnbc.com
Website: http://www.msnbc.com/news/

Related Articles:

Historical Research on Drug Policy
http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/ancient_history.htm


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Comment #17 posted by TroutMask on August 08, 2002 at 10:17:10 PT
Damn Hippies!
They are (were) everywhere, I tell you! Remember: If you quit using cannabis to help child birth, you join our fight against terrorism!

-TM

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #16 posted by John Tyler on August 08, 2002 at 09:33:41 PT
Raging Prohibitionist
This article just goes to show that since the dawn of humanity people have needed and sought substances such as these. It is in our nature and no amount of raging, moralizing prohibition can change that. To go against our nature creates discord and misery. BTW this is one of the better articles and treads.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #15 posted by Sam Adams on August 08, 2002 at 07:03:44 PT
Media still doesn't get it
At first I read this article with interest, and then fury.

Nowhere in the article will you find the words "cannabis" or "marijuana" or "pot". They went out of their way to avoid it.

Amerikan Tass strikes again.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #14 posted by Roger Christie on August 08, 2002 at 01:22:46 PT:

The original sacrament of many religions
Aloha from the rainforest on this erupting volcano.

(I was out there at sunset on the full moon last week [30 miles from where I live] and saw a giant 'peace sign' of fire and lava coming down the mountainside. Slowly moving and burning orange lava entered the ocean and created new real estate. Some of the lava floated on the ocean for a moment or two before sinking and making new black sand. It was floating fire! Amazing...)

I'm stoked to see this article of drugs in antiquity. The more researchers look, the more they are going to find.

The burning bush of Moses, the holy anointing oil of Saul and David, Jesus' new wine and baptism with fire, Ezekiel's plant of renown, Daniel's dream tree, the tree of life, Buddha's tree of enlightenment, the original sacrament of Shinto, Rasta, Hindu, Black Elk's 'great vision' herb to replace the buffalo, and so much more. Jack's beanstalk, Popeye's spinach, the muse of artists, musicians and others for thousands of years, cannabis is the queen of sacraments, in my opinion.

All the best to you,

Roger Christie

"We use cannabis religiously and you can, too."



[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #13 posted by BGreen on August 08, 2002 at 01:07:54 PT
So?
He could tell you he's a compassionate, loving, caring friend of the sick and dying, or the king of Canada, or he could say he's John Wayne, and everybody would say "whatever."

Why should we believe he's a Christian when he doesn't meet the requirements of such a title.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #12 posted by john wayne on August 07, 2002 at 23:43:00 PT
is ashcroft a christian?
just ask him

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #11 posted by BGreen on August 07, 2002 at 23:28:14 PT
Whatever
Whatever.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #10 posted by whatever on August 07, 2002 at 22:37:30 PT
Interesting but
not surprising that opium and cannabis were used in ancient times. Maybe someday people will wake up and realize the truth that the bible is a joke and that there really is no god.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #9 posted by The GCW on August 07, 2002 at 20:42:16 PT
We are ALL Green Collar Workers
Mathematics asserts that, if one person stands for a certain unit of intellectual and moral value, ten persons would stand for ten times this value. But in dealing with human personality it would be nearer the truth to say that such a personality association is a sum equal to the square of the number of personalities concerned in the equation rather than the simple arithmetical sum. A social group of human beings in co-ordinated working harmony stands for a force far greater than the simple sum of its parts. Paper 133. page 1477.

(AND TODAY, WE ARE NEARING A FULCRUM, WHERE THE SOCIAL GROUP OF GREEN COLLAR WORKERS, WILL BE A LARGER FORCE FAR GREATER THAN THE SIMPLE SUM OF ITS PARTS.)

(I heard "the moral mojority", term again, and it reminded Me of the bumper sticker again. THE MORAL MAJORITY IS NEITHER.)

There is but this one God, and his name is Truth.

We gain knowledge from the experience of man, but we derive wisdom from the contemplation of the Most High.

What a great honor it is to worship the Most High! All the worlds and the universes worship the Most High. paper 131

The Indians and farmers that grow the hemp, are Green Collar Workers



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by The GCW on August 07, 2002 at 20:01:44 PT
GOOD AND EVIL / from Urantia + Ethan
Dr. Russo asks, How long can American politicians deny the truth?

Perhaps, When those WE need to pray for remove the self inflicted blindness to the spirit with in themselves. Perhaps when men realize their treasure is a spiritual entity.

The only thing separating them for it is TRUTH. It says alot for truth, that if You do not have it, You are with out so much.

Pray for the Truth, as Christ God and The Holy Spirit of Truth want YOU to know it.

Ethan, You are a Green Collar Worker.

You da GCW

The GCW The GCW The GCW

Urantia, paper 132, page 1458.

The spiritually blind individual who logically follows scientific dictation, social usage, and religious dogma stands in grave danger of sacrificing his moral freedom and losing his spiritual liberty. Such a soul is destined to become an intellectual parrot, a social automaton, and a slave to religious authority.

Goodness is always growing toward new levels of the increasing liberty of moral self-realization and spiritual personality attainment--the discovery of, and identification with, the indwelling Adjuster. An experience is good when it heightens the appreciation of beauty, augments the moral will, enhances the discernment of truth, enlarges the capacity to love and serve one's fellows, exalts the spiritual ideals, and unifies the supreme human motives of time with the eternal plans of the indwelling Adjuster, all of which lead directly to an increased desire to do the Father's will, thereby fostering the divine passion to find God and to be more like him.

As you ascend the universe scale of creature development, you will find increasing goodness and diminishing evil in perfect accordance with your capacity for goodness-experience and truth-discernment. The ability to entertain error or experience evil will not be fully lost until the ascending human soul achieves final spirit levels.

Goodness is living, relative, always progressing, invariably a personal experience, and everlastingly correlated with the discernment of truth and beauty. Goodness is found in the recognition of the positive truth-values of the spiritual level, which must, in human experience, be contrasted with the negative counterpart--the shadows of potential evil. http://www.urantia.org/papers/paper132.html

This btw, is from PART IV. THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF JESUS



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by Ethan Russo MD on August 07, 2002 at 19:27:02 PT:

In Hard Copy Print
Lest any of the politicians or sanctimonious types disbelieve Joe Zias' claim of cannabis as an aid to childbirth, the scientific support is available:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8387642&dopt=Abstract

in the respected journal, Nature, no less.

In the next issue of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics 2(3-4), out in November, I wrote a long review article on the history of cannabis use in obstetrics and gynecology (which is quite extensive) and includes a picture of the cannabis residue discussed in this story.

I have known for years that cannabis is, and always has been real medicine. How long can American politicians deny the truth?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #6 posted by BGreen on August 07, 2002 at 18:32:04 PT
The GCW, I have no doubt
I'm not a criminal, but those who attack me for partaking in Gods' gifts are.

I will stand before God with my head held high.

Thank you for helping people know the REAL God, the God we both know so well.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by The GCW on August 07, 2002 at 18:22:19 PT
BGreen
BGreen= Mary, mother of Jesus, using hashish in childbirth?

I never thought of that, but WOW!

+

BGreen= God Almighty, the all-knowing, loving, caring, compassionate Creator of the Universe gave us all of the green plants (herbs)

That IS on the very 1st page of the Bible. I do not think it is just coincidence.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #4 posted by The GCW on August 07, 2002 at 18:18:47 PT
The Bible is pro cannabis
There are no warnings against too much cannabis.

Known as kaneh bosm, which was mistranslated in 5 places in the Bible, the only Biblical restriction placed on cannabis is to accept it with thanksgiving.

There is illustrations indicating that with out thanksgiving, cannabis and its powers may and will be used for evil.

I think Bush through Skull n bones, knows very well about the powers of cannabis, in the spiritual realm, and it would not surprise Me, to find that He uses it for evil.

Some suspect that Jesus used cannabis. It is unrealistic to consider He did not inhale. The temples had fire and He entered the temples.

The Bible is a plant friendly book and it is all written in green, from the very 1st page to the very last page.

The cannabis prohibition is against Christ God Our Father.

The cannabis prohibition may be the original living sin.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by BGreen on August 07, 2002 at 18:15:32 PT
AlvinCool
God Almighty, the all-knowing, loving, caring, compassionate Creator of the Universe gave us all of the green plants (herbs) with NO disclaimers. Anybody who rejects Gods' gifts to humans also rejects God.

The warning against strong drink is exemplified by out of control drunks.

Dig this from the NIV version of the Book of Proverbs:

PR 31:4 "It is not for kings, O Lemuel-- not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,

PR 31:5 lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

PR 31:6 Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish;

PR 31:7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

I've NEVER heard a preacher quote that.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by BGreen on August 07, 2002 at 18:08:13 PT
Jah Rules!
What if Mary, the mother of Jesus, used hashish in childbirth? That would make all of the fake Christians (Ashcroft, Bush, Hutchinson, Walters, Bennett, et al.,) dance around cussing up a storm.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by AlvinCool on August 07, 2002 at 18:00:48 PT
Why no biblical warnings?
I just posted a question in Stossel's message board.

The question to my fellow Christians is this, since God chose to tell us not to drink strong spirits but knew cannabis and opium were used regularly in the time the bible was written, and said nothing, what does that mean?

I hope I get some interesting responses.

[ Post Comment ]


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