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Shakespeare

It’s hard to know exactly where the prolific William Shakespeare found his inspiration. Perhaps, as he so eloquently puts in it his Sonnet 76, it had something to do with the “invention in a noted weed.” See what we’re getting at here?

Whether or not you think the above sonnet is proof that Shakespeare may have written Hamlet while high, a new study published in the South African Journal of Science states that 400-year-old tobacco pipes found in the garden of The Bard still contain cannabis.

The study examined 24 pipe fragments from Shakespeare’s town of Stratford-Upon-Avon using gas chromatography methods, and found traces of cannabis on eight of them. The Telegraph has since reported that four of those eight were actually from Shakespeare’s garden.

This isn’t the first time that the South African research team—led by anthropologist Francis Thackeray at the University of the Witwatersand in Johannesburg—has suggested that Shakespeare used drugs, but Shakespearean scholars that laughed them off before might find it hard to dismiss the facts of this latest study.

Shakespeare gained notoriety during his own time for the subversive ways he tackled sex and gender norms. Perhaps, even after all this time, he still has a few tricks up his sleeve and in his pipe.