The Bible nowhere speaks specifically about cannabis. Although some people have argued that Genesis 1:29 refers to “herbs,” and therefore to cannabis, the original Hebrew word translated “herb” is actually just a general word for “green plants”… and the rest of the verse says that God gave us these plants to eat, not to smoke!
Wider Biblical principles
Because the Bible doesn’t speak directly about cannabis, we need to consider wider Biblical principles. Jesus tells us that God’s whole law flows from the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind“; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). So the real question is: can cannabis help me better to love God and my neighbour?
The Bible seems to say: “Yes… and no.” On the one hand, Proverbs 31:6 says that alcohol can bring relief to people in great distress (see also 1 Timothy 5:23). Since cannabis can have a similar effect, perhaps in some circumstances responsible doctors might show love to their patients by medically administering drugs (e.g. cannabis) when they are suffering. If so, then when cannabis is used in this way, the patient may rightly receive it with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4-5).
Similarity between cannabis and alcohol
On the other hand, Jesus’ two great commandments rule out all recreational cannabis use. Cannabis, like alcohol, has power to enslave you (Proverbs 23:35), stopping you from loving God with all your heart and soul. Cannabis, like alcohol, can confuse you (Proverbs 23:33), stopping you from loving God with all your mind. Cannabis, like alcohol, can sap your energy (Proverbs 23:34), stopping you from loving God with all your strength. And cannabis, like alcohol, can lead you into to violence (Proverbs 20:1), both directly and indirectly, and so stop you from loving you neighbour as yourself. Another reason why Christians must not use cannabis recreationally is that we must honour the authorities God has placed over us, and not break the law of the land (Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17). Finally, it is especially sinful to use cannabis to try and enter a “spiritual trance.” Galatians 5:19 condemns the sin of “pharmakeia” – a kind of “sorcery” which could use drugs and magic potions for “spiritual” purposes (see also Revelation 9:21; 18:23).
Given the similarity between cannabis and alcohol, the Bible has a serious warning. If you call yourself a “Christian,” but take part in recreational cannabis abuse without any real desire to change, you are self-deceived (1 Corinthians 5:11). You are not living like a genuine Christian (Titus 3:3) and you will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Break free from cannabis
However, if you long to break free from cannabis, the Bible has some very good news for you! God still loves you (Romans 5:8), and Jesus wants to set you free from your slavery and give you a fresh start (Galatians 5:1)! Today, Jesus offers you a free gift far more powerful than cannabis: the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), Who will give you self-control to conquer your sinful cravings and desires (Galatians 5:19-24) so that you can start to live for others instead of for yourself (Galatians 5:13), following in the footsteps of Jesus, who laid down His life to forgive and heal sinners (1 Peter 2:24-25).
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