Study author Francis Thackeray suggests this verse from one of Shakespeare's sonnets may contain subtle references to drug use:
"Why is my verse so barren of new pride / So far from variation or quick change? / Why with the time do I not glance aside / To new-found methods, and to compounds strange? / Why write I still all one, ever the same, / And keep invention in a noted weed, / That every word doth almost tell my name, / Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?"
"This can be interpreted to mean that Shakespeare was willing to use 'weed' (Cannabis as a kind of tobacco) for creative writing ('invention')," Thackeray argues. "In the same sonnet it appears that he would prefer not to be associated with 'compounds strange', which can be interpreted, at least potentially, to mean 'strange drugs' (possibly cocaine)."
Sure, traditional Shakespeare scholars say "noted weed" is generally interpreted here as meaning something like familiar clothing. And "compounds strange" may just be Shakespeare's way of talking about words. But then again, they may not be...