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Cannabis and Christianity has become quite a controversial topic. While much of the church has traditionally opposed the use of cannabis, many Christians today are realizing that such prohibition has been largely based on faulty thinking. Today, even the Evangelical Christian world must wrestle with the fact that the Bible doesn’t ever prohibit using cannabis.
If we were to do a Bible study on cannabis plants, we would find that they are included as part of God’s very good creation, and we might even find evidence that cannabis was included as one of the ingredients for the holy anointing oil used in the tabernacle. But does the Bible say whether it’s okay to use cannabis? Not directly, no. But quite a few Bible verses do provide us with principles for the Christian life that we can apply to this controversy.
The most foundational ethical principle in the whole Bible is stated by Jesus Christ:
And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’ Matthew 22:37–40, ESV
And in his “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus specifies how we may love our neighbor in what has become known as the “Golden Rule”:
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12, ESV
The Apostle Paul later restates the centrality of love, and he clarifies that it means doing no wrong to a neighbor:
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8–10, ESV
With this principle of love in mind, we need only ask, if I were to use cannabis, would I be doing wrong to my neighbor? If the answer is no, then it isn’t sinful.
But we can apply even further principles. The letter to the church at Colossae and the first letter to Timothy both address the problem of believers who were adding legalistic restrictions on one another, going beyond the principle of love to make unnecessary demands. Here are the scriptural responses:
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20–23, ESV
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4–5, ESV
So according to these passages, such prohibitions may appear to be wise, but they’re really just “self-made religion.” And “everything created by God”—which must include cannabis—”is good.” Even cannabis can be “received with thanksgiving” and “made holy by the word of God and prayer.”
Not only that, but medical researchers are learning even more about how beneficial cannabis can be for us. Especially CBD, and oil produced from cannabis, which has been approved by the FDA to treat epileptic seizures. Many other studies are also finding additional illnesses and problems that can be effectively treated using CBD, including PTSD, weight loss, depression, and stress, to name only a few.
Even more amazing is the fact that the human body is has built-in cannabis receptors which allow us to process the healing properties of cannabis quickly. It’s almost as if our Creator intended for us to absorb the benefits of the herb from the very beginning.
Some respond to the lack of specific cannabis verses in the Bible by pointing to verses about alcohol. Could this approach provide us with a parallel to using cannabis? Might that provide us with a very different conclusion?
Well, the Bible certainly does have some negative things to say about strong drink:
Be not among drunkards
or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
and slumber will clothe them with rags.
Proverbs 23:20–21, ESV
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18, ESV
But it has some pretty positive things to say about it as well:
You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
Psalm 104:14–15, ESV
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Proverbs 31:6–7, ESV
And according to John’s Gospel, the very first miracle Jesus performed was turning water into wine at a wedding. The master of the feast even praised it as being “the good wine” John 2:1–11.
The overall biblical picture we see is this: Alcohol is powerful, and it can certainly be abused. And we should be careful not to live a lifestyle characterized by drunkenness, preferring instead to be filled with the Holy Spirit. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some strong drink responsibly and in moderation.
What we really need to keep in mind, however, is that CBD doesn’t contain any intoxicating properties and therefore won’t get you high. So, this comparison to alcohol is largely moot.
CBD is produced from cannabis, it provides numerous healing properties, and it won’t impair your judgment in any way. Therefore, Christians should have no issues with using CBD to stay healthy and improve their quality of life.
God created cannabis and intended for us to use it for our benefit. Whenever we do this, we are fully in the will of our Creator and have no need to fear.
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