The Latter-day Saints subscribe to a revelation dubbed the "Word of Wisdom" which outlines a code of health which Saints in good standing are expected to live. It's found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Generally it prohibits use of "herbs" (drugs) such as tobacco for the body, but recommends it for treating cattle.

However, the LDS Church is pretty clear that drugs which are prescribed by a competent medical professional (a doctor) are allowed within the recommendations of the doctor. (This has traditionally meant things like morphine, sleeping pills, etc.)

When there is sickness or disease and healing is desired, there are a few recommended courses of action, such as obtaining a blessing with faith under the hands of priesthood brethren. Just as important to Latter-day Saints, however, is seeking care using the best medical knowledge available.

I've seen this question online before, but haven't found any answers that are definitive or official: How does the Word of Wisdom or LDS doctrine in general apply to medicinal marijuana (prescribed by a doctor)? Is it prohibited entirely, are there only some permissible cases, or is it A-OK? (Assume it is legal in the politick; Mormons believe in following the law of the land.)

Again, I'm posting here because I'm sure it'll attract higher-quality answers than I've seen elsewhere which are more speculation than citing official or declarative sources.

  • 3
    Nice to see an LDS-specific question here that's non-combative, even when reading between the lines. You don't get that too often. +1. Aug 29, 2012 at 5:53

2 Answers 2


No, medical use of prescription drugs is compatible with the Word of Wisdom. Opiates, alcohol (e.g., cough syrup), and other drugs are commonly used as medicine but would clearly violate the Word of Wisdom if taken recreationally. A recent article in the Ensign (the official Church magazine) stated, "We should not use any drugs except when they are necessary as medicine. Those who misuse legal or illegal drugs need to seek help so their bodies can become clean again and free from addiction" ("The Lord Has Given Us a Law of Health", Ensign, Feb. 2012).

However, using drugs recreationally with a prescription is by no means the same thing as legitimate medical use. Spencer W. Kimball (12th president of the Church) stated, "We hope our people will eliminate from their lives all kinds of drugs so far as possible. Too many depend upon drugs as tranquilizers and sleep helps, which is not always necessary" (General Conference, October 1974). As with many issues in LDS doctrine, individuals are expected to prayerfully make responsible decisions. A bishop in a temple recommend interview asks a fixed set of questions (which are somewhat vague). A temple recommend holder is considered responsible to God if they are dishonest or insincere.

Medical Marijuana: The Doctor IS IN!

Boyd K. Packer's book, The Holy Temple, and the adapted pamphlet based on it, Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, discuss the introspective purpose of temple recommend interviews:

[A temple recommend interview] is an occasion to explore with an ordained servant of the Lord the pattern of your life. If anything is amiss in your life, the bishop will be able to help you resolve it. Through this procedure, you can declare or can be helped to establish your worthiness to enter the temple with the Lord’s approval... The person must certify that he or she is morally clean and is keeping the Word of Wisdom, paying a full tithing, living in harmony with the teachings of the Church, and not maintaining any affiliation or sympathy with apostate groups.

  • This is good -- nice choice of sources and quotes, insightful, and visual illustration. :) Much clearer than other things I've read about it.
    – Matt
    Sep 1, 2012 at 21:57

Marijuana use is acceptable in the following circumstances:

  1. Its use is legal where the person resides.
  2. It is administered under direction of a competent physician

Where illegal, use of marijuana may prevent people from being baptized.

This restriction has nothing to do with marijuana itself but is a question of legality. The official church policy is as follows:

The only official interpretation of “hot drinks” (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early Church leaders that the term “hot drinks” means tea and coffee.

Members should not use any substance that contains illegal drugs. Nor should members use harmful or habit-forming substances except under the care of a competent physician.

To permit marijuana use where it is illegal would be in direct violation of the 12th Article of Faith

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

  • Correct, except it seems "habit-forming substances" covers marijuana. While not as addicting as other drugs like narcotics, marijuana is widely considered to be "habit-forming". I believe khat falls into the same category. Jul 21, 2014 at 8:34

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