Proof of ancient drug use

A new study led by North Carolina State University's Dr. Scott Fitzpatrick is the first to show physical evidence that the people who colonized the Caribbean from South America brought with them heirloom drug paraphernalia that had been passed down from generation to generation as the colonists traveled through the islands. Archeologists found plates and pipes with which primitive people inhaled psychedelic drugs such as Cohoba (a snuff made from Yopo, or Anadenathera peregrina).

The research team dated the items to between roughly 400 and 100 B.C. These dates are well before Carriacou was colonized in approximately A.D. 400.

Heirlooms are portable objects that are inherited by family members and kept in circulation for generations, Fitzpatrick says, and are frequently part of important rituals. The objects tested for this study are ceramic inhaling bowls that were likely used for the ingestion of hallucinogenic substances. On the science website Fitzpatrick says that the artifacts "appear to have been transported to Carriacou when it was colonized – possibly hundreds of years after they were made."

It's not the first time researchers have found clues pointing towards prehistoric drug use. For example, at several European excavation sites cannabis seeds have been found, and numerous "trippy" paintings in caves also seemed to indicate that prehistoric man was quite familiar with the psychedelic experience. The recent findings in the Caribbean however provide physical evidence for this theory.