William Shakespeare is a giant in the literary and theatrical world. His plays and poems have been performed for hundreds of years and taught to less-than-thrilled high schoolers for generations. Romeo & Juliet is more than just a doomed romance, it has become its own sub-genre.
Anyone who ever had to read Romeo & Juliet in high school also knows that Shakespeare is open minded when it comes to herbal remedies. In Sonnet 76, he explicitly references a “noted weed.” Cannabis is the only explanation for Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech, not to mention most of what happens in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
William Shakespeare’s appreciation of cannabis, however, went beyond a storytelling device. Scientists examined pipe fragments that were found in Shakespeare’s home and found traces of tobacco, camphor, and cannabis. Some of these pipe fragments even came from Shakespeare’s garden, which means that theoretically, the bard smoked cannabis recreational. It might have been part of his creative process, enjoying sativa while he dreamed up a new character or wrote one of his famous speeches. Maybe he used it to calm his mind after a long day of writing, smoking indica in his garden. While he was creating some of the most influential plays in history, he was also an actor and the founding member of a theater company. He needed time to relax, both physically and mentally, and cannabis would have provided that necessary relief.