Cannabis is a substance of great divide. Many people believe that it is an evil substance that was put on earth to corrupt. But what does the Bible or even God himself say about cannabis?
Thankfully scholars and historians have spent years digging deep into what has actually been said about cannabis as well as cannabidiol (CBD). To my surprise there has actually been quite a few references in the Bible, and surprisingly some of them are very in favor of cannabis. This surprises me because when I was growing up I was always told cannabis was a sin, but let’s dig deeper!
What Does The Bible Say About Cannabis?:
If you scan the Bible specifically for the words “cannabis” you’ll find… zero matches. The Bible never references cannabis by this name. But the search doesn’t end there. Just like many other terms in the Bible, they’ve been translated over the years or simply went by a different name during that time.
Many scholars will agree that what is known currently as cannabis is actually mentioned quite a few times in both the New Testaments and Old Testaments. Some will go further and even argue that cannabis was critically important in these scriptures and are involved in many well known Bible stories.
Is Marijuana Mentioned In The Bible?:
Cannabis is never named specifically by the name cannabis. That being said there are multiple mentions of the plant called “Calamus” which seems to be a translated version of “Cannabis”. One of the most famous mentions is a reference of “Calamus” as one of the primary ingredients in the Holy Anointing Oil recipe that was given to Moses by God in the Old Testament.
Does The Bible Approve of Cannabis? – Is Using Cannabis a Sin?:
This is a slightly tricky question. The Bible actually never outright says the use of cannabis is a sin and there were no laws against using cannabis in the either Hebrew of Christian texts.
If you’re looking for specific scripture, then I would point you to Genesis 1:29 – “Every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the Earth, and ever tree with seed in its fruit, you shall have for food.”
This scripture seems to imply that every plant that is on Earth was put on Earth by God and is here to be used and consumed by humans. I personally think this refers to cannabis as well because cannabis has quite a few different uses which makes it beneficial to humans. And if you believe in God, then you believe that he is all powerful and has a masterful plan for everything he’s created.
Some people could also argue that just because God put certain natural substances on Earth doesn’t mean we should consume them. This could be said about certain poisonous plants, or you could even make the argument about alcohol, it’s a natural substance but that doesn’t mean you should be consumed with alcohol.
On the other side of this argument, we are learning more and more about just how powerful and enlightening cannabis can be, and maybe cannabis is a good way of connecting and becoming closer with God. This point is further demonstrated by the Union for Reform Judaism, with them announcing their stance asking for the Federal legalization of weed in the United States for medicinal use. The URJ takes the stance that marijuana can be a powerful healing and enlightening tool, and needs to be researched even more.
Instances of Cannabis In The Old Testament:
Song of Songs:
The only probable mention of cannabis in the Song of Songs involves King Solomon as he’s describing his new bride by comparing her to beautifully smelling spices and herbs:
Song of Solomon 4:14:
“Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all tress of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:…”
Although this is mentioning calamus, that seems likely that it’s a translation to modern day cannabis.
In the book of Isiah, there are a few mentions of harvesting a plant without a specific name, which some people have believed has been mentioning cannabis.
“For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect And the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks And take away and cut down the branches.”
Maybe not the most convincing argument, but we’ll keep going.
In the book of Jeremiah, there are mentions of unacceptable offerings:
“To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.”
Some scholars argue that this incense and sweet cane could be cannabis.
“I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore.“
Some scholars argue that the “garden of renown” would be in reference of cannabis, but others argue that this isn’t the case.
Probably the most popular mention of cannabis in the Old Testament of the Bible is in the book of Exodus. In this specific passage, Exodus 3:2-5, Moses begins his discussion with God in the famous story of the burning bush. This is where God instructs Moses to bring the Israelites away from Egypt, away from slavery and oppression, and to the new promise land. Throughout this entire story, God is giving Moses divine instruction by making appearances in clouds of smoke.
This makes many scholars believe that all these conversations and even communion took place under the influence of cannabis.
“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”
To go even further,
“The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will always put their trust in you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said.“
Many scholars believe that “come to you in a dense cloud” means they will communicate under the influence of cannabis and that’s how Moses became closer to God.
“Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense… 7 Aaron must burn fragrant incense on the altar every morning when he tends the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the Lord for the generations to come. 9 Do not offer on this altar any other incense or any burnt offering or grain offering, and do not pour a drink offering on it.”
Many argue that the term “incense” is actually referring to marijuana and that marijuana was actually a large part of their prayers and offerings.
Did Jesus Use Cannabis?
Moving towards the New Testament, you might start to wonder, did Jesus ever use or talk about cannabis?
One of the strongest arguments for Jesus using cannabis points to the Holy Anointing Oil mentioned prior. This oil could have been a huge part of Jesus’ miracles and healings that he performed throughout the New Testament.
“They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”
Diseases and conditions that Jesus has credited with healing:
- Skin disease such as dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
- Muscle diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
- Eye disease including glaucoma.
- Epilepsy and other seizure causing diseases.
Interesting enough, all of these are diseases that have been proven to have been cured by cannabis and CBD strains. For instance, the Charlotte’s Web Strain is one of the most famous strains for dealing with seizures.