Cannabis and Religion

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Being a Catholic or Orthodox Christian, you might be caught off-guard when looking at such a headline. The reason is that cannabis is, to put it mildly, difficult to be found among traditional ecclesial pious symbols. The questions that arise in front of a true believer can vary from “Is it a joke?” and “Is the author mocking?” to “It is outrageously: drugs and God do not go together!” and “What a shame! It goes beyond endurance!”.

People who are called heathens by the official church might think of some of the possible rituals described in an article or new religions that are popping out like mushrooms in the rain nowadays. The aim of this article is not to offend, but to inform people about the use of cannabis within the religious practice — the attitude towards the plant of different religious communities. Cannabis was a part of spiritual practice in ancient religions, including Christianity.

 

Why is the question in high light?

The question of cannabis is gaining popularity among people recently. The reason is that scientists and doctors have made a step forward in researching the plant. Nowadays, some extracts are widely prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of violent illnesses.

People who are ill are often religiously devout, and they are on the fence about the rightness of taking the substance. Even claims about “the best cbd oil for pain” (more details here) skeeves them out. It is common that they are too shy to ask their rector about it and just do not use the plant.

 

What’s the hitch?

The critical point is cannabis, for sure. Here we are to make it clear what forms the plant may take and which of them can buy troubles. The first (and the most important in this context) is cannabidiol (henceforth CBD). CBD is considered relatively safe just because it was not registered that the substance causes addiction. CBD is a component of the cannabis plant, and the direct effects on the human’s body have not been fully discovered yet. The primary forms of CBD are the best cbd isolate oil and the best full spectrum cbd oil.

CBD isolates oil. This form of CBD is ‘the pure extract’ or ‘the best cbd oil’. The name is charactonym because it depicts the way the isolate originates: all the elements of the plant are taken away from the CBD itself. The result is a crystalline powder or best cbd oil with the concentration of CBD at almost 100%. It means no components that can cause addiction (=that is why it is called ‘safe’).

Full-spectrum CBD oil. This form of CBD is considered to be slightly more dangerous because not only cannabidiol is extracted from the plant. In the case of full-spectrum oil, the full range of other cannabinoids and essential oils are extracted. This type of CBD oil tolerates up to 0,2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (henceforth THC), which could have been addictive if used in substantial concentrations.

Note! It is possible that a doctor prescribes the best full spectrum cbd oil because it contains more elements, which might be needed to alleviate severe symptoms of the disease.

 

What is the attitude of my religion?

In case you find yourself a religious person. Still, you feel puzzled to ask your spiritual father about cannabis, here is a piece of short background information (listed by the relevance in the USA).

Christianity. This faith has some branches:

  • Protestantism: The official view of this branch is similar to the orthodox – they confront cannabis’s decriminalization in the USA and all over the world. Drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and other substances that can intoxicate your body and mind have always been under the ban. However, some of the Protestant churches have endorsed the use of medical marijuana in order to keep pace with time.
  • Orthodoxy:      The official point of the Orthodox church is to prohibit the use of illicit substances in all its forms and aspects. However, as the situation with CBD is changing all over the world, they are forced to get into the discussion.
  • Catholicism: Officially, cannabis or any other drug can be used ‘on strictly therapeutic grounds’ and all the other cases are grave offense. However, Pope Francis claimed his strong position against the legalization of drugs, insisting that this would not help to reduce drug consumption. 
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: This community has an active ban on drug use. The members of the church are unlikely to consume cannabis or any other psychoactive substance. Despite the official appeal to confront the legalization of drugs, the church’s First Presidency stated that non-psychoactive medical marijuana could be tolerated in case of urgent need.
  • Judaism: there exists a theory that a cannabis plant has been widely used in rituals because of mentioning the plant ‘kaneh bosm’ in the Hebrew Bible. However, the church’s officials oppose such a theory. In general, cannabis is prohibited under Jewish law as is considered to be dangerous and harmful, not for both body and soul. As for now, medical (but not recreational cannabis) is seen as kosher.
  • Buddhism: the five rules of training (a moral dogma in this religion) claim that the consumption of toxic drinks and other substances alike result in heedlessness. The main focus is on alcohol, but the drugs are also included nowadays. On the contrary, you may find cannabis in the Mahākāla Tantra to be used for specific medical needs.
  • Bahá’í: this faith claims that the use of any theoretically addictive substance should be done with “tact and wisdom” and is prohibited with no urgent need. The negative attitude towards drugs is not a new tendency. It is a long-term tradition. Taking such substances is seen as the destruction of the soul. Although smoking is possible (but viewed rather negatively).
  • Hinduism: is famous among non-believers for its Holi fests, where people are to consume a traditional thing called bhang. The content of bhang includes cannabis flowers. Cannabis is seen as a holy elixir created by Shiva from its own body. It is interesting that this religion does not only tolerates the drug but also ennobles it. There exists a belief that wise drinking of bhang can help to ‘cleanse sins, unite one with Shiva and avoid the miseries of hell in the future life’. On the other hand, the foolish use of bhang is a sin.

To sum up, the controlled and reasonable use of the best cbd oil on strictly therapeutic grounds is tolerated by the majority of religions. In case you are still not sure how to cope with the severe conditions of the disease, try to ask the doctor about the alternatives. If there is no choice, talk to your spiritual father about the specific situation and the possibility of using cannabis.

Tracy Simmons

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Journalism Instructor at Washington State University.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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