Vikings Grew Cannabis, Findings Reveal

Researchers say it is unclear whether the plant was used for hedonistic purposes or merely for producing cloth and rope, but I think we all know the answer. ScienceNordic reports:

The Sosteli farmsted, in Norway’s southermmost Vest-Agder County, offers strong evidence that Vikings farmers actively cultivated cannabis, a recent analysis shows. The cannabis remains from the farmsted date from 650 AD to 800 AD. This is not the first sign of hemp cultivation in Norway this far back in time, but the find is much more extensive than previous discoveries.

“The other instances were just individual finds of pollen grains. Much more has been found here,” says Frans-Arne Stylegar, an archaeologist and the county’s curator.

“We don’t know if hemp could have been used as a drug. Most of it was probably used in textile production,” says archaeologist Marianne Vedeler at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.

11 Comments on "Vikings Grew Cannabis, Findings Reveal"

  1. VaudeVillain | Dec 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |

    It might be impossible to know for sure if they used cannabis as a drug, but a little bit of extraploation seems fair.

    Alcohol production is non-obvious, time-consuming, and a bit of a pain. In fact, most drinkable alcohol requires going through several steps where the product is good for nothing except moving on to the next step. There is not, to my knowledge, any question that Vikings produced and consumed alcohol.

    Cannabis is comparatively trivial to produce. It only requires one plant, for starters, and has minimal preparation.

    For any people growing cannabis and drinking alcohol, the belief that cannabis was not used as a drug requires us to believe two things: that they were clever enough to figure out the relatively complex process of safely making alcohol, and that they were not clever enough to figure out the process of harvesting an otherwise unused part of a plant and drying it slightly. That seems, to me, like a somewhat suspect combination.

    • SoruhFrake | Dec 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm |

      Being half icelandic, at least within my family the men on my icelandic side include many avid pipe smokers. While this is talking about today, Iceland is quite a viking blooded place, even their beliefs are partly still shared. I’m sure those old vikings back in the day were just as keen on smoking their pipes, and I can very well imagine there was some good ruderalis haze in there 😛

  2. InfvoCuernos | Dec 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

    Vikings were such avid traders, I would think you would see the smoking use spread across a large section of the world. They were also avid sailors, and hemp is one of the best materials you can make rope out from. I wouldn’t say that smoking requires a “clever” mind to figure out. If you have never seen anyone smoke something, the idea just might not occur to you. Hops are related to cannabis but they ended up mixed into the production of beer, rather than being smoked. Maybe the vikings just weren’t growing the kind of cannabis that produces good bud. I’m not convinced. And anyway, I think the vikings would be a lot less bloodthirsty if they had all smoked. They seem more like an “upper” kind of crowd, like speed or coke.

    • Hasan Sahba’s order of Medieval Assassins were blasted on hashish, and they managed to make a name for themselves as ruthless and unstoppable killers.

      • InfvoCuernos | Dec 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |

        All the information that I have read on the order of Assassins indicates that they did not operate all the time on cannabis, but used it more as a ritual drug, although you do make a good point that vikings, that were trading with the middle east may have had exposure to recreational/spiritual use of cannabis. (I am not a scholar of the assassin cult/sect so I could be entirely wrong on that point and they may have all been “wake-and-bake types).

        • Assassin – Origin:

          1525–35; < Medieval Latin assassinī (plural) < Arabic ḥashshāshīn eaters of hashish

  3. Vikings had trade links with the ancient Phoenicians, who certainly traded in cannabis, and used it to make ropes and sails, pretty important items for any seafaring nation.

  4. Odin taught them how to hot box that shit

    • Seriously though, The Vikings had cultural links to the Scythian, who definitely hotboxed cannabis. Odin may have been an historical person that later was made a God and he was possibly a Scythian
      The Vikings definitely weren’t simply the indigenous people of the region that developed into Seafaring pirates. The indigenous people were the Sami. The Vikings farmed had a hierarchical society, did lots of things that were from Middle Eastern/ Asian origin.

      • The Sami came after the germanic tribes, the ice melted in the south first ya know. The Sami lives in the north.

  5. Herodotus wrote about the customs of the Scythians in the 5th cent. BC. He misunderstood their rituals as bathing, but they were obviously something else;

    “The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Grecian vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this vapour serves them instead of a water-bath; for they never by any chance wash their bodies with water.”

    Smelly pot-smoking hippies…

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