According to an analysis conducted on fossil pollen, cannabis’ first origins can be traced to Tibet, something that sounds fittingly soothing.
These results were published in the journal Vegetation History and Archaebotany and although there’s no way of knowing how conclusive they are, they answer a mystery that has long plagued scientists.
While it’s been long thought that cannabis was from somewhere in the middle of Asia, the specifics have been hazy for decades because there’s never been much evidence of cannabis impressions on ancient fossils. There’s also the fact that cannabis shares a similar pollen shape to the plant humulus, also known as hops, which we all know is used to flavor beer.
The study was conducted by the University of Vermont and it took on a different approach to previous studies regarding cannabis origins, gathering samples from 155 fossil pollen studies and plants in order to learn how to distinguish the different types. After adapting the search to these factors, researchers found the earliest occurrence of cannabis pollen in northern China and southern Russia, concluding that the source was probably located in the Tibetan Plateau near Qinghai Lake.
The plant may have evolved and developed there over 28 million years ago. New Scientist reports that the climate in the Tibetan Plateau could’ve been an influence on cannabis, helping the plant grow since it tends to thrive when in arid environments.