Using Cannabis – What Does the Bible Say?

Using Cannabis and Bible

Are you a Bible-believing Christian? Do you also use cannabis for medicinal purposes? If so, you’re probably interested in whether or not the Bible is in favor of, or against, the practice of using cannabis.

If that’s you, you’ve clicked on the right blog post. Let’s take a good look at what the Bible has to say about using cannabis.

Spoiler: It doesn’t say anything about using cannabis.

So, are we done here? Well, maybe it’s not quite that cut-and-dried, [no pun intended]. There are a few things the Bible has to say about other substances – like alcohol, for example – and by looking at those verses we might reasonably apply that same logic to cannabis.

If you’re willing to take an honest look at what the Bible has to say about consuming alcohol, you’ll discover that it’s surprisingly easy on those who enjoy a drink now and again.

The Bible tells us that God gave us alcohol to make our hearts happy:

[God] 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

Notice in that particular verse that God also gave us “plants for man to cultivate” and this would presumably also include cannabis. But I digress.

The Bible also tells us that God gave us alcohol to help with digestion:

Stop drinking only water and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illness. 1 Timothy 5:/scripture/is-it-ok-to-use-cbd-what-the-bible-says/23

So, not only does the Bible encourage us to drink alcohol for our pleasure, it also allows us to enjoy it for the medical benefits it produces.

Another very positive verse about enjoying alcohol says:

Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7

In this verse, God approves of wine consumption in advance, so there’s not even a need for us to question whether it’s good or bad before we partake of it.

In the book of wisdom, Proverbs, we read that strong drink and wine is beneficial for those who are troubled, or close to death:

Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress. Proverbs 31:6

Another surprisingly positive verse of scripture is found in the writings of the prophet, Isaiah:

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. Isaiah 25:6

In this case, “well-aged wine” will be prepared for all people – not only the faithful believers, but for everyone – by God Himself and provided as a blessing intended for enjoyment.

So, does that mean the Bible is 100 percent pro-alcohol? Not exactly. See, the Bible is not of one mind on this issue, or frankly, on almost any issue. The Bible contains a variety of perspectives from several different authors on this topic, and not all agree that wine is always a blessing or that alcohol is beneficial.

For every positive verse above, there are probably another two or three verses which either outright condemn the use of alcohol as the practice of the foolish and the wicked, or which warn the reader to exercise caution and practice moderation.

Here are just a few examples:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink. Isaiah 5:22

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Proverbs 23:29-30

Notice in these last two examples that we have a pair of negative verses about drinking wine from the book of Proverbs, whereas just a few verses earlier we had a statement about the benefits of drinking alcohol. We also see verses in Isaiah that both condemn and affirm the practice of drinking wine. So, as said above, the Bible is not only filled with a variety of views on this topic, views can even vary within the same book. This only adds to the confusion, to be honest.

So, now that we’ve looked at what the Bible has to say about alcohol, what have we learned? Well, we’ve learned that the Bible honestly cannot make up its mind about the subject. It both praises and condemns drinking alcohol. It both encourages alcohol consumption, and demonizes it, sometimes in the very same book of the Bible.

Let’s recap what we’ve learned so far:

Does the Bible condemn alcohol use? Yes.

Does the Bible encourage alcohol consumption? Yes.

Where are we going with this? (I’m coming to that).

Here it goes:

The Bible provides great wisdom for us on many topics. But it is not intended to be used as a manual for how to live our lives. Clearly, the Bible is unclear on most things. It gives us a variety of opinions and then – wait for it – it allows us to make up our own minds.

(Gasp!)

Yes, we are allowed to take into consideration the testimony of the Biblical authors, and then we are called to decide for ourselves what makes the most sense to us.

As Paul reminds us:

We have the mind of Christ! 1 Cor 2:16

On this very issue of eating and drinking, the Apostle Paul instructed the Christians in Corinth to do exactly this:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31

In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul gave instruction regarding a controversy within the fellowship. Some thought it was a sin to eat meat sold in the marketplace that had previously been sacrificed to pagan idols. Others thought it was totally fine to eat the meat since those gods weren’t real and they weren’t participating in the idol worship by eating it after the fact.

But, this issue was dividing the Church in Rome and so Paul wrote to them about it. Essentially, he says that:

Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5

What does this mean? It means that Paul doesn’t really care either way what they do. Everyone should decide for themselves if this meat is good to eat or not and let it go. But, for the sake of unity, he urges them to stop arguing about it:

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Romans 14:22

Again, the point here is that we, as individual Christians, can make up our own minds about these issues. Why? Because we have the mind of Christ! We don’t need to try to convince others that we are right, or that they are wrong. It can simply be a private matter between us and our Lord.

What Paul does stress in his letter is that we strive to keep the unity in the Body of Christ. Whatever we decide on matters like this, the ultimate goal is to love one another and not to place any stumbling blocks in the path of those who are weaker in their faith than we are. (See all of Romans chapter 14 for a detailed study of Paul’s thoughts in this regard).

So, if we take it all to heart, here’s what I believe we should take away from all of this:

  • The Bible doesn’t say anything about using cannabis
  • The Bible is both for, and against, alcohol consumption.
  • The Bible also encourages us to decide for ourselves what is right or wrong.
  • Whatever we decide, we should keep it to ourselves.
  • Unity in the Body is more important than winning arguments.

So, in the words of the Apostle Paul,

let everyone be convinced in his own mind” about whether using cannabis is acceptable or not. The most important thing is to love one another as Jesus Christ has loved us. John 13:34

Finally, if we do find ourselves in need of cannabis-derived medicines like CBD or cannabidiol, we can take heart in knowing that it won’t make us high and that there is a growing mountain of research to suggest that it’s a God-given, organic, plant-based substance that can alleviate a whole host of illnesses from insomnia to depression and much more.

The bottom line is that Christians who might benefit from CBD have nothing to worry about, and the Bible is certainly not a strong source of evidence for those who hope to condemn its use.

Keith Giles
Keith Giles
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. He is now a best selling author and co-hosts the "Heretic Happy Hour" podcast on iTunes, Spotify and Podbean. He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend