Tooth tartar could be “the new frontier” for discovering drug habits of ancient people

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A new method of analyzing drug residue in the tartar of teeth could unlock the drug habits of people who lived hundreds of thousands of years ago, reports Science Mag . While ancient artifacts like pipes can be examined for drug residue, it can lead to substances that did not require a vessel or container to be overlooked. According to Science Mag , tartar can survive for more than a million years on fossils. It has previously been used in research to better understand the diets of ancient peoples, but, until recently, there hasn’t been a standard test to uncover signs of drug use. Who was history’s first pot smoker? Researchers say 400-year-old cave art tied to hallucinogenic flower Canadian researchers receive more than $4 million in funding to breed better cannabis Researchers in Denmark collaborated on the revamped approach, which will be detailed in a study set to publish next month in the journal, Forensic Science International (FSI) . It’s a “new frontier,” anthropological archaeologist Shannon Tushingham of Washington State University, Pullman, told Science Mag.  Some of the earliest recorded cannabis use dates back 2,500 years ago , when residents in western China may have inhaled the plant as part of a burial ritual. A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America last November revealed what researchers believe is “the first clear evidence for the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site.” Researchers examing California’s Pinwheel Cave found 400-year-old evidence of Datura wrightii, a native Californian  entheogen and potent psychoactive substance. According to the researchers, Datura was used to “gain supernatural power for doctoring, to counteract negative supernatural events, to ward off ghosts and to see the future or find lost objects, but, most especially, as a mendicant…

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Source : Tooth tartar could be “the new frontier” for discovering drug habits of ancient people

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