What did oldworlders smoke before contact?

I don’t recall ever hearing accounts by European sources in which the author expresses surprise or unfamiliarity with the act of smoking, even though tobacco was unknown in the old world until after contact with the natives of N. America. What were they smoking?

I don’t know how great a source this is, but it offers:

I’d heard a tale in college that the above mentioned crew member’s wife had imagined he’d been possessed by the devil when she saw him exhaling smoke. No cite.


According to a book I read, marijuana had been occasionally smoked in pipes in western Europe long before tobacco arrived.

However, I have also read treatises expressing disgust at the arrival of the smoking habit, if not surprise.

The Scythians used to smoke hemp, or something similar.

What were they smoking? Herring!

Don’t forget those crazy opium pipes.