A few years ago, the world media circulated on the news that William Shakespeare created most of his greatest works under the influence of marijuana. It all started with an article published in the South African Journal of Science. We read in it that among the 24 fragments of clay pipes found in the garden adjacent to Shakespeare’s house, in eight of these pipes, traces of marijuana were found.

The research itself was carried out using a specialized analytical method (gas chromatography), so there can be no mistake. Interestingly, cocaine residues and traces of nicotine were found on the other two pieces of smoking pipes.

Evidently, the author of  “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth” or “Hamlet” used stimulants (weed, cocaine etc) when creating his works. This hypothesis is even confirmed by the fragment of Sonnet 76, in which the poet mentions “discovering in wonderful herbage”. Did Shakespeare use marijuana to develop his creative prowess?


Did Shakespeare use marijuana to develop his creative prowess?

Georgianna Ziegler of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington is not exactly convinced, because there is really no 100% certainty that the pipes really belonged to Shakespeare and were used by him. Scientists only know that they come from the seventeenth century and that they were found in the place where the poet once lived.

Furthermore, Ziegler said, the author of “Romeo and Juliet” could use marijuana because of its healing effect, not for pleasure.

Perhaps it would be possible to dispel these doubts if one could, for example, carry out an exhumation of the famous writer’s remains. After all, some researchers still wonder how / what disease (or poison) Shakespeare died from.

Is there a possibility of exhuming the remains of the famous writer considering the fact that the English playwright wrote on his grave on his grave:


Let him be blessed, who will not move this stone, and cursed be he who will take away my bones
William Shakespeare

Is there someone out there ( a daredevil) that is not afraid of a curse?

Other authors accused of using cannabis?

It is not only Shakespeare that is suspected of using cannabis in order to stimulate creativity during creation. Rumour has it that other poets could have used cannabis too, i.e.  Arthur Rimbaud and William B. Yeats, and even Oscar Wilde. Perhaps in the fumes of burnt marijuana, works of such literary celebrities as Aleksander Dumas, Victor Hugo, Honore de Balzac, Charles Baudelaire and Eugene Delacroix were created. 

Interestingly, all of these gentlemen were included in the famous “Hashish Club”, which functioned in France in the mid-19th century.

Not only writers use marijuana to influence their creativity, musicians also use it too. Possibly, Wolfgang Amadeusz Mozart knew about hemp and could have used them. Some say he was under the influence of hashish when he composed his most popular operas “Abduction from the Seraj”.

What about the famous jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong has been an avid supporter (and user) of cannabis throughout his life. He believed that marijuana improved his ability to improvise. Cannabis has also become one of the symbols of the cultural revolution at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s when music festivals flocked to non-drug-consuming hippies.


Whether or not Shakespeare used cannabis to influence his creative prowess; it is still a rumour. However, there is still an atom of truth in everything rumoured. It is not a coincidence that most famous author, musicians use cannabis from time to time.