Scientists searching for the cause of death for an ancient woman found in the Altai Mountains in 1993 believe she may have been self-medicating with pot.
The mummified remains of the woman, who is believed to have lived in the 5th Century BC, revealed well-preserved tattoos. The exact circumstances surrounding her death have remained shrouded for the past two decades, but now scientists believe they have an answer. She was likely suffering from breast cancer reports the The Siberian Times.
Their findings suggest she was using cannabis to dull the pain associated with cancer and osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone or marrow.
Dr. Natalie Polosmok, an archeological professor, says the use of such drugs is helpful in understand their importance during such primitive times.
In ancient cultures, from which there is a written testimony, such analgesics were used wine, hashish, opium, henbane, an extract of mandrake, aconite and Indian hemp,” she said. “The Pazyryks knew hemp and its features.”
It is known that in her burial chamber was a container of cannabis.
‘Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,’ said the scientist. ‘And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.’
Siberian scientists have discerned more about the likely circumstances of her demise, but also of her life, use of cannabis, and why she was regarded as a woman of singular importance to her mountain people.
Her use of drugs to cope with the symptoms of her illnesses evidently gave her ‘an altered state of mind’, leading her kinsmen to the belief that she could communicate with the spirits, the experts believe.
Put more simply: she was the life of the party. Most impressive is the intricate nature of her ink. One has to imagine the pressure to tattoo the group’s princess was pretty intense. Although, considering the fact they were already in Siberia, it’s not like they could threaten to send you some place worse.
(Image: Wiki Commons)