Is Cannabis Bad in the Bible? See for Yourself

Is Cannabis Bad in Bible

Right from the start we need to get one thing clear: The Bible never mentions cannabis directly, nor does it condemn those who use cannabis. Not even once.

But, the Bible does strongly condemn a variety of other behaviors, for example:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

So, is that it? Are we done here? Well, not so fast. You see, even though the Bible doesn’t directly refer to cannabis or condemn using it, there may be a few things we can glean from the scriptures to learn if using cannabis is ok, and in what context.

For example, there are some good reasons to suspect that cannabis was an ingredient used to create the anointing oil used by Jewish priests in the tabernacle and temple worship rites.

At least, that’s if you accept the research from Doctor Sula Benet, a 20th century Polish anthropologist. She specialized in Jewish customs and traditions and, she discovered that a reference in Exodus 30:22-25 to something called “kaneh bosom” was probably meant to be translated as hemp, or “cannabis”.

Her reasons for this were quite simple. Based on her findings that the root word “kan” can mean either “hemp” and “reed,” she deduced that sometime around the third century B.C., the translators of the Septuagint may have mistaken the terms “kaneh” and “kaneh-bosom” as referring to “sweet kalamos” – an entirely different plant.

This error, she suggests, once embedded in the Septuagint, was repeated over and over again, by every other translator who followed after, allowing the original mistake to be copied without question.

Based on this research, Dr. Benet published her surprising discoveries in the 1970’s and since that time her theory has gained increased support among many people, including theologians and linguists.

Of course, not everyone agrees. Some stand by the “sweet kalamos” translation and reject the idea that cannabis or hemp could have been an ingredient in the most holy anointing oil used by the Jewish priesthood.

But, is it really all that far-fetched? Keep in mind that ancient cultures were not as scandalized as ours by the use of drugs or plant-based intoxicants. Even those who argue against Dr. Benet’s theory readily admit:

There is evidence of the use of drugs in the ancient near east, including Israel. Although its mention by name is uncertain, little question exists that the hemp plant was used in the Ancient Near East, and likely in Israel, in a variety of ways, other than as a drug, such as textiles, cords, incense, oils, and even seeds used for food…It is true that as early as 5000 BC what was called a “joy plant,” possibly cannabis, was indulged in to induce sleep or a trance. Whether used in Israel, it is well known that drugs from plants were tied both to medical applications and pagan activities, including especially magic. Galen, the ancient doctor, for example, speaks at length of medical applications of intoxicating drugs.

So, cannabis was used in Israel in ancient times, and there is very little evidence to suggest that anyone thought this was scandalous. In fact, the absence of any specific condemnation of using cannabis, or any other drug, is in itself an evidence that early Biblical cultures did not view it as sinful or off-limits. Whereas, the Bible does speak out against the abuse of alcohol, for example, and even then, only in the mildest of terms.

The Old Testament scriptures give us warnings like these:

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

Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Proverbs 23:31

But notice that there are just as many verses that recommend alcohol consumption for health reasons, like these:

Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illness. 1 Timothy 5:23

He makes grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth; wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart. Psalm 104:14-15

Not to mention that the first miracle ever performed by Jesus Christ at the start of his ministry was to turn ordinary water into some of the best wine you’ve ever tasted in your life. (See John 2:1-11)

So, on the one hand, the Bible says nothing negative about cannabis, but speaks about alcohol in very moderate terms, leaving plenty of room for the positive effects of wine to be enjoyed by the faithful follower of Christ.

Let’s also keep in mind that drinking alcohol can have its own share of negative side effects, like killing brain and stem cells, giving you a higher risk for cancer, and giving you a beer belly, for example.

Bottom line: There is no reason – according to the Bible – that a Christian should avoid cannabis use. Especially when we consider all the positive health benefits of cannabis-related medicines like CBD oil, or Cannabidiol.

According to a growing number of studies, CBD provides a variety of positive effects and has proven useful to provide relief for:

  • Anxiety
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic Pain
  • Acne
  • Insomnia
  • Addiction to opiods

The best part is, CBD contains no intoxicants, which means it won’t get you high or impair your cognitive functions.

What’s even more astounding is that the human body has built-in receptors that are perfectly designed to interact with CBD compounds. Could this be an accident? Or could it be that the same God who created human beings, and who also created every plant on the face of all the earth and gave it to us for our benefit, (See Genesis 1:29) actually designed us this way and fully intended for us to use, enjoy and receive all of the abundant healing properties found in cannabis?

What do you think?

Keith Giles
Keith Giles
Keith Giles
Keith Giles is an author, blogger and podcaster who posts regularly at He currently lives with his wife in Boise, Idaho.

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