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Did Shakespeare smoke pot for inspiration?

University of North Carolina anthropology professor Kristina Killgrove questions whether digging up Shakespeare's grave would lead to a definitive conclusion regarding the famed poet's cause of death - but another anthropologist, Francis Thackeray, believes he can at least find out whether Shakespeare used marijuana for inspiration.

Either way, you dig up Shakespeare's grave at your own peril. The gravestone engraving reads: "Blessed be the man that spares these stones. And cursed be he who moves my bones."

Thackeray hopes to avoid the curse by jumping through a loophole in the engraving. After all, Thackeray says, "He [Shakespeare] does not refer to teeth."

As Stephanie Pappas of LiveScience reports, Thackeray says that analysis of Shakespeare's teeth - just a very tiny portion of one tooth - could be enough to provide evidence of his "smoking habits," such as whether he smoked tobacco or preferred marijuana.

The quest to discover whether Shakespeare used marijuana began in 2001 when Thackeray found marijuana residue on fragments of pipe in Shakespeare's garden, according to Pappas.

And Shakespeare writes of a "noted weed" in one of his works.

More than evidence of marijuana usage, opening Shakespeare's grave and examining his remains could lead to answering the many unknowns about his life. But Killgrove, the professor in North Carolina, doesn't believe it will do much good.

Killgrove said, "I'm not really sure what it will tell us other than the lifestyle of somebody in Elizabethan England."

Whether or not Shakespeare's "lifestyle" included smoking marijuana for inspiration while he wrote, marijuana is still outlawed in North Carolina, and in most other states throughout the nation.

Source: LiveScience, "Could Shakespeare's bones tell us if he smoked pot?" by Stephanie Pappas, 6/27/11

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