Scientists Think They’ve Pinpointed the Origins of Cannabis
They call it “the roof of the world."
Sitting three miles above sea level with a length spanning over five times the size of California, the Tibetan Plateau is the most extensive mountain region in the world. It is home to the world’s two highest peaks, Mount Everest and K2. Now, scientists believe it may also be the birthplace of cannabis.
An analysis of fossil pollen has revealed that cannabis likely originated on the Tibetan Plateau near Qinghai Lake. Researchers think this because of a genus of steppe plant known as Artemisia that grew abundantly beside cannabis millions of years ago and which appears to have originated on the Plateau.
“Using a statistical model, the study authors estimated that since the assembly of plants in that location — including Artemisia — were found with Cannabis in other locations millions of years later, it was likely that Cannabis was also present in this high-altitude ecosystem, even if there was no direct evidence of Cannabis pollen...” LiveScience reports. The plant eventually made its way to Europe and then China.
The findings were published on May 14 in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany.