Several pipes excavated from William Shakespeare's garden contained cannabis, report scientists who used gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to analyze the items.
In the Independent, University of Witwatersrand paleoanthropologist Francis Thackeray writes:
There was unquestionable evidence for the smoking of coca leaves in early 17th century England, based on chemical evidence from two pipes in the Stratford-upon-Avon area.
Neither of the pipes with cocaine came from Shakepeare's garden. But four of the pipes with cannabis did.
Results of this study (including 24 pipe fragments) indicated cannabis in eight samples, nicotine in at least one sample, and in two samples definite evidence for Peruvian cocaine from coca leaves.
Shakespeare may have been aware of the deleterious effects of cocaine as a strange compound. Possibly, he preferred cannabis as a weed with mind-stimulating properties.
Painting above: "Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing. By William Blake, c. 1786"