Cannabis and Longevity

One of the things I’ve found with working in extensive research projects, as I have over the years with three books and various articles, is that right up until publication I always seem to find new bits of information, as with this recent find I somehow missed regarding the record-holder for world’s oldest woman.

In 1939 Joges Candra Ray, an Indian researcher who wrote a paper identifying the ancient Vedic Soma as cannabis, pointed too ancient references regarding longevity from Soma’s ingestion. and other researchers have commented on this and a connection to cannabis as well:


In the article Beliefs about Aging and Longevity in Ancient China, Alain Corcos notes: “The sacred intoxicating drink, named haoma by the Iranians and Soma by the Aryans in India was believed to cure disease and to confer immortality. Hemp was an active ingredient of both drinks” (Corcos, 1981). Interestingly, the Anandakanda (Root of Bliss) a considerable text of 6900 verses on tantric alchemy and yoga, which is thought to have originated around the 12th or 13th century AD, has similar references to cannabis and these are believed to have been based on the descriptions of Soma.

[T]he Anandakanda describes rejuvenation treatment based on cannabis. This involves treatment over a long period in a specially constructed hut (kut.i). This procedure is strongly reminiscent of a similar rejuvenation procedure described in the earliest Sanskrit medical literature, one that requires not cannabis but the unknown plant Soma. And that procedure itself echoes a rite of ritual rebirth that dates from the mid-first millennium BC. (Wujastyk, 2001)

Here ancient wisdom and modern science may concur. In a recent news story “Expert Testifies Cannabis Helps Slow Aging”, Dr. Robert Melamede, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs biology professor, and former head of the UCCS biology department stated that:

“You can look at the harm caused by free radicals as biological friction or biological rust and the endocannabinoid1 system minimizes the impact of that and directly acts as an antioxidant as well as modifying the biochemistry in a way that minimizes the impacts,” said Melamede outside court Thursday, likening endocannabinoids to humans like oil is to cars. He said if you don’t have lubrication in your car, your car breaks. In the human body, the damage comes in the form of age-related diseases.

“I’m saying what science has now shown is that marijuana and cannabinoids are effective anti-aging agents which means that they are effective in minimizing the onset and the severity of age-related illnesses which include cognitive dysfunction things like Alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, be it heart attacks, strokes, or clogged arteries,” he said. (Newham, 2008)

In reference to this, it is worth noting that the world’s oldest woman was a copious cannabis smoker, and attributed her great age to her use of the herb:


A GREAT-great granny reveals how she has lived to be 120 … by smoking CANNABIS every day.

Fulla Nayak – believed to be the world’s oldest woman – puffs “ganja” cigars and drinks strong palm wine in her cow-dung hut in India.

She lives with her 92-year-old daughter and grandson, 72, by the Indian Ocean.

THE SUN (UK) Oct.21st, 2006

1Endocannabinoids are indigenous cannibinoid like substances in the human body. Cannibinoids found in cannabis are able to mimic the similar endocannibinoids in the human body.

Chris Bennett
Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett has been researching the historical role of cannabis in the spiritual life of humanity for more than a quarter of a century. He is co-author of Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion (1995); Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (2001); and author of Cannabis and the Soma Solution (2010); and Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal herbs and the Occult (2018) . He has also contributed chapters on the the historical role of cannabis in spiritual practices in books such as The Pot Book (2010), Entheogens and the Development of Culture (2013), Seeking the Sacred with Psychoactive Substances (2014), One Toke Closer to God (2017), Cannabis and Spirituality (2016) and Psychedelics Reimagined (1999). Bennett’s research has received international attention from the BBC , Guardian, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Vice and other media sources. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.