Shemshemet: Cannabis in Ancient Egypt
CANNABIS CULTURE – Up until recent times, many Egyptologists, failed to acknowledge much of a role for cannabis in ancient Egypt beyond that of a source of fiber for ropes, but recent research identifying a plant in the Egyptian texts with fibrous and medicinal properties, as well as edible seeds, under the name shemshemet, or sm-sm-t, are now generally regarded as identifying cannabis.
Excerpted from Cannabis and the Soma Solution.
In ancient Egypt the healing herb shemshemet was believed to have been a creation of the Sun God Ra. Besides this linguistic source, pollen analysis of ancient soil layers and deep tissue samples from Egyptian mummies, have indicated that in Egypt, like much of the rest of the ancient world, cannabis held an important role.
In fact from about around 3000 BC onward there is evidence of cannabis pollen in Egypt. According to the Codex of Ancient Egyptian Plant Remains, (1997) pollen has been identified at Egyptian sites dating from the Predynastic period (c.3500-3100 BCE); the 12th Dynasty (c.1991-1786 BCE) includes not only pollen, but also a hemp “fibre (ball)”; from the 19th Dynasty (c.1293-1185 BCE) found on the Mummy of Ramses II; and the Ptolemaic period (323-30 BCE) (Vartavan