Kapnobatai or capnobatae, meaning "those who walk on/in smoke/clouds"[1] was one of the names given to the Mysians of Thrace (geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south, and the Black Sea to the east) who practiced the dietary restriction of not consuming living things, thus living on milk and honey. The description is given by Strabo who attributes the information to Posidonius.[1]

Mysians are understood as a people who originally from Asia Minor, but those living in Thrace have become confounded with the Getae, according to Strabo.[1] As such, some commentators refer to them as Dacian priesthood.[2]


The interpretation that the "smoke-walkers" refer to cannabis smokers have been pushed by some authors, who think that the practice also extends to the ethnography of the Scythians. These authors imagine that the Kapnobatai must have burned cannabis flowers to induce a state of trance.[3] It is believed that as cannabis slowly spread westward, these peoples were introduced to it by the ancient Aryans, of whom in turn were introduced to it by the ancient Assyrians, and them by the ancient Hindus. These past cultures were some of the very first to smoke cannabis for recreational and spiritual purposes.


  1. ^ a b c Strabo, Geography VII.3.3, and note 17: literally "Smoke-treaders"
  2. ^ Ustinova, Yulia (2009), Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind, OUP Oxford, p. 102, ISBN 9780199548569
  3. ^ Chris Bennet. "The Scythians".

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