What does the Bible have to say about Christianity and cannabis?
Nothing. The Bible is silent.
That’s the simple answer because scripture does not mention this specific plant. A little digging reveals the Bible does have a great deal to say about how we take care of and maintain our mind. body, and spirit. These verses will be relevant in discussing cannabis use within the Christian community.
Whether you’re looking for justification on recreational use or clarification on what options you have for medicinal use, our discussion is concerned on the spiritual implications.
Pull up a chair. Welcome to the table. Let’s talk Christianity and cannabis!
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say about alcohol.
The use of alcohol is a great starting point in this discussion. Why? Because the Bible isn’t silent here. In fact, it has a great deal to say when it comes to responsible and irresponsible drinking.
It’s worth noting that the first miracle of Christ recorded in the Bible (John 2:1-11) was in fact turning water to wine. At the end of his ministry, during the last supper he passed the wine using it as the illustration of his own blood poured out for believers (Luke 22:20).
Alcohol was used recreationally and responsibly. It is an imagery used throughout Christ’s ministry and continues to be used today when communities of faith take communion together. Neither the wedding feast or the last supper portrays scenes of drunkenness, but rather of close fellowship and teaching. For teaching to occur the student must be lucid enough to get the point, not so drunk to not remember. And Christ doesn’t pull punches.
Jesus calls people out, corrects them, and calls them to do and live better. In Luke 7:33-44, in his own words, Jesus admonishes those who call him a drunkard but does not deny partaking. In fact, he says, “yeah, I came eating and drinking.” (Paraphrase mine)
Drunkenness is not the ideal. It is frowned deeply on and is not a quality to be sought out in leaders (Ephesians 5:18, 1 Timothy 3:3; Romans 13:13-14). Instead we are to deny the desires of the flesh and lean on Christ. That is so much of what the Christian walk is; deny self and follow Christ (Mathew 16:24).
Jesus is constantly setting himself up as the example. His responsible use of alcohol is only one of many examples we can and should follow. While drunkenness is considered a fault, Psalm 104:14-15 says “he makes…wine that gladdens human hearts.”
Moderation and responsibility seems to be the standard.
What about cannabis and Christianity?
Scripture permits moderation of alcohol even though it has psychoactive effects, but alcohol and cannabis are not the same thing. Though the legalization of alcohol is often sited as a defense for the legalization of marijuana, the two psychoactive drugs have significant differences.
The responsibility of the Christian to treat the body as God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) remains the same. Our bodies belong to God. As Christians we must be responsible with what we put in our bodies.
As the study of cannabis has progressed more and more benefits for various ailments have been discovered.
Here are two questions each of us should ask ourselves before using cannabis:
- Is it being used responsibly as an empowering drug, administered responsibly, and enabling me to be a more competent human being? Is it working to right a medical issue?
- Am I using this as an escape from real life problems (my marriage, my children, my job, etc.) that I should be addressing and not running from?
One is honoring your mind and body and the other is causing harm. The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should purposely work to care and maintain that temple. When cannabis is used medically, it holds the same theological restraints as any other medication. Use responsibly and for the intended purpose.
What are the social obligations of Christianity if cannabis becomes mainstream?
Marijuana use has come with negative connotations. People have paid with job loss, heavy fines, stigma, and even prison time. To argue for the legalization of and use of cannabis responsibly as a Christian, it means to acknowledge the past penalties and work to right the wrongs of the past.
The war on drugs is a complicated subject to address. It was racially charged and destroyed the opportunity of many to rise beyond one mistake.
If Christianity and cannabis can coexist what responsibility do we have as Christians?
We can’t change the past, but how can we justify our own medical use of this drug and turn a blind eye to the collateral damage that brought us to today? After all, we aren’t asking here today if Christianity and Opioids can coexist. But why not?