Cannabis is a plant that has been made illegal by the United States Government for reasons of corporate profit, prison system slave labor and racism.  For over 5,000 years, cannabis has been written about in history books, medical journals and various sacred books, including the Bible, numerous times.

Genesis 1:12  And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:29  And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

The West and Christianity

There is clear evidence that God instructed the used cannabis in the Holy Anointing Oil to both Jesus and Moses.  This Holy Anointing Oil was used to heal the sick and give clear understanding of the spiritualty of God. 

In Exodus 30:23, God directed Moses to make a holy anointing oil composed of myrrh, sweet cinnamon, Kaneh-bosem, cassia, and olive oil.  “And you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.”

According to Biblical scholars, the “250 shekels of kaneh-bosm” refers directly to cannabis. Sula Benet, Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw and author of Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp, demonstrated that the word for cannabis is kaneh-bosm, also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kaneh or kannubus. This word appears five times in the Old Testament; in the books of Exodus, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

From ancient times, cannabis has been shown to be effective in the treatment of not only epilepsy, but many of the other ailments that Jesus and the disciples healed people of, such as skin diseases (Matthew 8, 10, 11; Mark 1; Luke 5, 7, 17), eye problems (John 9:6-15), and menstrual issues (Luke 8:43-48).

Cannabis has been used for more than 5,000 years by most of the world’s great cultures as a medicine, and is also recognized and highly valued as an aide to spiritual practice. When used, cannabis can have a profound, enlightening effect.

Why then, is so difficult for our communities to see cannabis in the same light that wine is used in many Christian religions?  Is the grape any more sacred than the cannabis flower?  Should the consumption of the cannabis flower be a reason to send our children to prison and cripple our communities, when God instructed that all fruits and seeds are good?

India, Nepal, Tibet and Buddhism

In the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, it is said that Buddha subsisted for six years on nothing but one hemp seed. Various spiritual texts, including the Buddhist Tara Tantra, list cannabis as an important aide to meditation and spiritual practice.

In India today, cannabis is often made into a drink consumed by local people and is said to be the favorite drink of Indra, the king of the Indian gods.



China and Taoists

A Chinese Taoist priest wrote in the fifth century B.C. that cannabis was used in combination with ginseng to set forward time in order to reveal future events. It is recorded that the Taoists recommended the addition of cannabis to their incense burners in the 1st century A.D. and the effects produced were regarded as a means of achieving immortality. At one point, cannabis was so prized that the Chinese called their country “the land of mulberry and hemp.”

Iran and Zoroastrianism

Ancient Iran was the source for the great Persian Empire. In the Zend-Avesta (the ancient texts of Zoroastrianism, an ancient Iranian religion) hemp occupies the first place in a list of 10,000 medicinal plants.

One of the few surviving books of the Zend-Avesta, called the Venidad, “The Law Against Demons,” calls bhanga (cannabis) a “good narcotic,” and tells of two mortals who were transported in soul to the heavens where, upon drinking from a cup of bhang, had the highest mysteries revealed to them.

Africa and Rastafari

Members of the Rastafari movement use cannabis as part of their worship of God and for Bible study and meditation. Rastafarians see cannabis as a sacramental and deeply beneficial plant and consider it to be the Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible.

According to Rastafari philosophy, “the herb is the key to new understanding of the self, the universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness” and is believed to burn the corruption out of the human heart.

The use of cannabis is an integral part of what Rastafarians call “reasoning sessions” where members join together to discuss life according to the Rasta perspective. Bob Marley said, “The herb ganja is the healing of the nations.”

Considering all the evidence of God’s approval of the plant he created, who are we to jail people for following the teachings of our greatest spiritual leaders?  I believe it is time to rethink our beliefs surrounding this plant.

And we are not blowing smoke…

ABOUT BLOWING SMOKE – We would like to answer your questions.  Please send any questions or comments to Blowing Smoke is written each month by Wanda James.  Ms. James is the managing partner at Cannabis Global Initiative and is a leading advocate in the cannabis industry.  She worked with the regulatory process to bring medical marijuana to fruition and was appointed to the Colorado Governor’s Amendment 64 Task Force Work Group. Wanda’s political and professional work on cannabis reform has led to her being featured in numerous national shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on CNBC’s Marijuana USA.  She and her husband, Scott Durrah, also own Jezebel’s Southern Bistro + Whiskey Bar in Denver.