As I am aware most Christians regard the physical and spiritual effects of Cannabis as the same as use of alcohol for intoxication, and that its use is not permitted by their doctrines.

Contrarily, some Christian denominations such as the Rastafari and Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church not only allow its use but strongly suggest its use for meditation and communication with God. Now, I realize that Cannabis use is a controversial topic for many devout Christians and many will not give it a second thought as to whether it has any place in worship. Through some research I have landed upon the following article regarding its use in the time of Jesus: Jesus 'healed using cannabis'. Cannabis is often referenced in the Bible as Calamus (hebrew 'קנה-בשם' or "kaneh bosm"), as in the following scripture:

"Take thou also unto thee the chief spices, of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty" (Exodus 30:23).

"Vedan and Javan traded with yarn for thy wares; massive iron, cassia, and calamus, were among thy merchandise" (Ezekiel 27:19).

"Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices" (Song of Songs 4:14).

There is no debate that Cannabis was used in the time of the Hebrews and throughout the time of Jesus Christ.

I am neither for nor against the use of Cannabis, I only wish to see arguments for/against its use as an aid in spiritual connection with God and developing a deeper understanding of his Word.

Any insights on this?

  • (thinks back to days in RC, and the thurible) – Marc Gravell Jun 11 '12 at 7:45

There is no Biblical argument for any food or drink of any type to 'aid in spiritual connection with God' or in 'developing a deeper understanding of his Word'. However, as you already noticed, the Bible does oppose drinking too much alcohol.

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? ... nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9–10)

Alcohol is an interesting subject because it shows that the Bible is not unreasonable or defensive. On one hand, it assigns the destination of hell for all drunkards, yet a little wine it does not condemn. It is natural therefore that there is no need to concern ourselves with this controversial debate among some scholars, whether there was some Cannabis in the Holy Oil, or whether there was not. It has no bearing on real life.

The Holy Oil was simply used for anointing physical things in the temple services. The oil was not smoked; it was just dabbed on the utensils used in the service. It was not even allowed to be put "on men’s bodies". It was also commanded that they "do not make any oil with the same formula." (Exodus 30:32) So actually, if there was some Cannabis in the oil, the only bearing it would have on life in ancient Palestine, is that it would prevented a wider use of Cannabis.

The point here is that there is no evidence Cannabis was ever used in a manner that would have any effect on the mental state of the Hebrew worshipper. If it did, the Bible would condemn it just as excessive alcohol was condemned.

The Bible looks on the subject with pity, rather than with anything else. Basically the Bible say's one is to be pitied, if one allows mind-altering drugs to make them into a lazy fool.

20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, 21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (Proverbs 23:20–21, NIV)

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. (Proverbs 20:1, NIV)

  • No food and drink except for the flesh and blood of Jesus, and the living water, which is the Holy Spirit! – LoveTheFaith Jun 12 '12 at 2:35

While there is little debate that the ancient Hebrews had access to cannabis, whether it was used is something which is very much subject to debate. The LXX suggests that it was cannabis, while the most reliable Hebrew documents say calamus (which is an entirely separate species), other sources identify that Hebrew word with yet another plant from the ancient Near East.

As to whether it is an aid to relationship with God, well, here is another question: is there ever a time where a like action is recommended to a believer (in scripture or in Tradition)? Alcohol is recommended for an upset stomach, but not only is excess alcohol condemned, but it is also something which the Nazerites (you know, like Sampson) were forbidden from consuming and it was expressly forbidden from those who would go an worship at the tent of meeting in Lev. 10.

And, as a side note, my understanding is that cannabis is actually very effective at prohibiting the intellect and dulling the whit. I find it very doubtful that it would lead to a clearer understanding of a passage than, say, fasting and meditating.


I belong to a church where we actively use Cannabis as a sacred plant that allows for a deeper understanding of ourselves and god. It has opened my own understanding of scripture and given me an insight into deeper feelings of being one with God, therefore we consider the plant an entheogen not an "allucinogen".

I believe Cannabis is an incarnated spirit of consolation, a gift from God. It is such a pity that it is prosecuted by the laws of (most parts of) this world. I have faith it will be eventually freed from this prohibition.

That said, it is a powerful plant that needs to be treated with respect. Always consacrate its use to God and use it for meditation, prayer or selfless service. In this way it will bring you inspiration and clarity of thought. If you use it all the time or in an inappropriate setting, you will not obtain the benefits but rather experience suffering, either by reduced energy, cloudy thinking and even axiety.

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    Welcome! Could you perhaps link to your church's website or a statement of their doctrines on cannabis? This is useful information that could use a corroborative source. – wax eagle Jul 21 '13 at 18:10
  • It is difficult to find official communication on the topic because often people are persecuted because of the use of this plant. However, some sources are available such as has.vcu.edu/wrs/profiles/SantoDaime.htm – Basil Dec 8 '13 at 5:10
  • In your country you're allowed to have cannabis or is against the law? I also smoke marijuana and the only thing that's get me down it's the fact that's illegal here. I can consume but i can't grow or buy, and so i'm agains't the law. I use with the reasons you pointed but also as a re-creative, with brothers and non believers as well. – Gui Sep 15 '14 at 17:02
  • Sadly, it is still illegal, but it looks like it will change sometime in the future. Let's pray for that. With regard to recreative uses, my suggestion is, avoid them, unless the focus is on elevating conciousness. If you can bring a clearer perspective to your friends with the help of this teacher plant, then go for it. – Basil Sep 21 '14 at 20:50

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