Can Christians smoke cannabis?

Last updated on March 7, 2022

The Bible nowhere speaks specifically about cannabis (or about pot, weed, marijuana, hashish, etc). Because the Bible doesn’t speak directly about this question, we need to consider wider Biblical principles to answer it.

In some cases, cannabis is clearly forbidden

In many countries, the recreational use of cannabis is not allowed. Then it is clear that neither Christians can use cannabis recreationally, since they must honor the authorities God has placed over us, and not break the law of the country (Romans 13:1-5; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17).

Moreover, it is especially sinful to use cannabis to try and enter a “spiritual trance.” Galatians 5:19-20 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). If those two cases do not apply, we should discern between medicinal and recreational use of cannabis.

Medicinal use of cannabis is permitted

Medicinal use of cannabis includes e.g. treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation in patients with anorexia and wasting syndromes, and relief of muscle spasms or stiffness and pain in multiple sclerosis (MS).

As for medication in general (including opioids!), there is no Biblical basis to forbid cannabis. If it is used in this way, the patient may rightly receive it with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

Recreational use of cannabis

Recreational use can have mild (anxiolytic and euphoriant) effects or strong effects (including dependence and addiction). While the Bible never mentions cannabis, it clearly prohibits intoxication by alcohol. In Proverbs 23:31-35, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:18, 1 Timothy 3:2-3, Romans 13:13-14 and 1 Peter 4:3, drunkenness is clearly not considered acceptable for a Christian.

While Jesus did use alcohol responsibly, and Psalm 104:14-15 states that God gives “wine to gladden the heart of man”, it should not be consumed to the point of intoxication. The same goes for cannabis, since this can also have intoxicating effects, to a greater extent than alcohol.

Does cannabis help you to live a godly life?

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 neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). So, the real question is: can cannabis help me to love God and my neighbor?

The warnings against drinking too much alcohol in Proverbs 23:31-35 also apply to cannabis or other intoxicating and addictive products: they have power to enslave you, stopping you from loving God with all your heart and soul. They can confuse you, stopping you from loving God with all your mind. They can sap your energy, stopping you from loving God with all your strength. They are often used to disengage from people and issues, which is not “loving your neighbor as yourself.

And many such products slow the mind, which doesn’t combine very well with the warning to “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Christians have a better alternative

Cannabis is often used to satisfy certain longings, or to temporarily forget about life problems. But as a Christian, you can find contentment, peace, and overall well-being in Jesus Christ! That is not a temporary fix, but one that lasts forever – even amidst the difficulties of life in a sinful and broken world. Jesus offers you a free gift far more powerful than cannabis: the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

Want to read more?

There are several helpful resources on this topic, partly written from personal experience.

Share post