In 1993, a 2,500-year-old mummy was removed from the Altai Mountains in Russia. It was covered in permafrost and protected from the elements. The body was in passable condition. It was identified as a female who died in her early 20s. Her body was decorated in tattoos that were still visible on her well-preserved skin and she was buried with meat, ornate clothing, and accessories. This all indicates that she was important and lead to her nickname of “Altai Princess”. She was identified to the Pazyryk culture.
Researchers have discovered that the mummy was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and may have used cannabis to self-medicate as a way to relieve the painful symptoms of her condition. MRI scans had been performed on the Altai Princess showed that she had a host of maladies throughout her life. She showed signs of osteomyelitis, a bone infection. Nearer to the time of her death, her bones also showed signs of damage that could’ve happened from falling from a height, possibly from a horse. “During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,” researcher Andrey Letyagin told the Siberian Times. “We are dealing with a primary tumor in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases.”
Her sickness lead to her weakened state which caused her fall. At her death, her breast cancer reached staged 4. The fall fractured her skull, dislocated her right shoulder and hip, but did not kill her. It is displayed that she died 3-5 months later. The mummy was discovered buried with cannabis. There is other archeological evidence that the Pazyryk people used weed, wine, and opium pain relieving purposes. “Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” Natalya Polosmak told the Siberian Times. Polosmak led the team of researchers that found the mummy in 1993. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”