Cannabis can be used for a variety of reasons. It can be used to treat various ailments and can sometimes be used to boost our creative senses. But now, researchers in India have found another use for cannabis, and it’s going to blow your mind.
More recently, Indian researchers, Rajdeo Singh of the Archaeological Survey of India’s science branch and M Sardesai of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, were astonished when they discovered that the ancient paintings and detailed carvings within the Ellora Caves had remained in such pristine condition. For a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built during the 6th century, with the newest parts dating back to the 11th century, the researchers weren’t quite sure as to how this was possible. However, they soon learned that the material used to build the caves wasn’t just your average plaster, it was something much more than that.
Don’t eat the plaster! It’s laced with cannabis
Singh and Sardesai were eager to learn more about how these ancient artworks had been conserved for so many years. After closely examining the plaster, they were surprised to find traces of cannabis, leading them to find that this illegal substance played a major role in preserving the paintings and the intricate artwork within the caves.
According to their study, after collecting a sample of the plaster and isolated cannabis sativa, Singh and Sardesai examined it under a scanning electron microscope. By doing so, they were able to confirm that cannabis was responsible for keeping the artwork in such pristine condition, and to solidify their findings, an additional technique, known as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, was used to confirm that cannabis had indeed been present in the material used to build the caves.
Why use cannabis?
Researchers believe it to be very likely that the ancient people who built the Ellora Caves knew what they were doing when they decided to mix in the medicine. Since cannabis helps to regulate humidity, in addition to warding off insects, the artworks were able to stay completely intact. Amazing, huh?
Dr. Singh told the Times of India that, “In the sample collected from the Ellora cave, we found 10% share of cannabis sativa in the mix of mud or clay plaster. This is the reason why no insect activity is found at Ellora.”
Yet, researchers went even further by checking out the nearby Ajanta Caves, only to find that the artworks in these caves were nowhere close to the tip-top condition of the artwork in Ellora Caves. Why is that? Because the plaster used to build the Ajatnta Caves found no traces of cannabis…
The future of construction
Researchers wrote in their study that it was suggested that the cannabis found in the clay was used as an insulating agent, as well as making the plaster more fibrous and durable.
The study also found that cannabis-based plaster is able to store heat, resist fire, and absorb up to 90% of sound. With that being said, researchers claimed that this created a peaceful living environment for the monks at the caves. Lucky them.
Not only is this interesting to learn about, but this discovery could very possibly influence future construction techniques, especially during a time when sustainable materials are becoming increasingly used. However, the only problem with this is that cannabis is illegal in many places, meaning no cannabis equals no peace and quiet. Ugh. If only I had been born a monk…
It’s truly incredible that cannabis has helped to preserve the precious artworks of the Ellora Caves. These discoveries are not only compelling but are important to our future understanding of history. Thanks to cannabis, these caves have survived for more than 1,500 years, and there is no telling as to what this new discovery may uncover.
Do you know of any crazy uses for cannabis? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.