Weed is a plant that we’ve been using for over 10,000 years, whether recreationally, medicinally, or in religious practices. Ancient civilizations used it for its mind-altering effects and also for its sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. Nowadays, the recreational use of this plant is only expected to increase in the next few years as the legal cannabis market reaches nearly 43 billion dollars by 2024, according to Statista.
Cannabis use has significantly increased in recent years, partly as a result of the pandemic (Covid-19) and also following the increasing legalization laws. Weed consumption is especially prevalent in young people who consume it recreationally in a lot of social gatherings. In states where cannabis is legal for medical use, it can be purchased in licensed dispensaries that sell a huge variety of cannabis products including raw flowers, CBD oil, THC oil, vapes, dabs, and even cannabis edibles.
But how is cannabis legalization regarded through the eyes of religion? Do Christians believe that the recreational use of marijuana is sinful? What does the Bible say about smoking weed? We’ll answer these questions and a few more as we examine how Christianity views cannabis consumption in the Bible.
Is Using Recreational Marijuana a Sin?
Whether marijuana use is considered a sin in Christianity isn’t a simple yes or no answer. Even though in the first chapter of the Bible God says “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food,” which is sometimes cited when people discuss whether the Bible is pro or against cannabis consumption, other passages are against consuming substances which affect the mind.
Generally, cannabis was used for nutrition, as well as for making clothing, ropes, and other products. However, smoking cannabis does give users psychoactive and mind-altering effects. For that matter, we won’t look at cannabis through the lens of its nutritional value, but rather look at it as a substance that affects behavior, similar to how alcohol does.
Passages in the Bible Related to Intoxication
While cannabis intoxication isn’t discussed in the Bible, alcohol intoxication is. Some of the most popular scripture citations from the Old and the New Testaments related to intoxicating substances such as wine include:
- Corinthians 6:10 — “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
- Ephesians 5:18 — “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, . . .”
- Galatians 5:21 — “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
- Isaiah 5:11 — “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!”
- Isaiah 28:7 — “These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.”
- Proverbs 23:20-21 — “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”
What Does the Bible Say About Smoking Marijuana?
Similar to other subjects such as abortion, slavery, and other controversial subjects, the Bible doesn’t seem to give concrete guidance. Rather, these subjects should be looked at through various lenses and contexts in order to make a stand about the Bible and marijuana.
According to the book of Genesis, after God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, he commanded them: “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Another quotation says: “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the Earth, everything having the breath of life in it, I have given every green plant for food.”
However, all of these quotes look at marijuana through the prism of nutrition, but what about smoking weed?
What Is God’s View on Smoking Marijuana?
While scripture doesn’t discuss using drugs, it does warn against altering your mind and intoxication, which is what cannabis ultimately does when it’s consumed recreationally.
A few BIble proverbs say: Proverbs 23:31-35 “Do not look at the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, or when it goes down smoothly. Afterward, it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind will speak perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, and like one who lies down on the top of the rigging. You will say, “They have struck me, but I am not harmed! They beat me, but I did not know it! When will I awake? I will look for another drink.”
Recreational marijuana use is mostly a way of releasing control, however, Paul says “I will not be brought under the power of any” in one Bible passage, stating that we must always have control over our body and mind since our body’s a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we wouldn’t want to cause any harm to it.
Moreover, after Adam and Eve ate the “apple” from the forbidden tree, Satan spoke through the serpent and to Eve by saying “Did God really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden,” insinuating that Adam and Eve should act on their own accord and not pay attention to God’s words. Ultimately, Peter the Apostle said “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
What About Medical Marijuana?
This is even more of a gray area since the Bible doesn’t address marijuana altogether. While medical marijuana can help alleviate certain medical conditions, this also falls into uncharted territories. Medicine has developed a lot throughout the years as new conditions are treated or managed with the use of medical marijuana, which probably wasn’t the case in the period when the Bible was written.
Jesus Christ and Marijuana Consumption
According to the Bible, God sent his son Jesus Christ to take away the sin which blocked humans from God. He died, was buried, and was resurrected to save us from our sins. According to 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And Colossians 3:17 says: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As a Christian, one shouldn’t probably smoke weed since it doesn’t seem to align with the prospect of giving thanks for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ did for humanity (since cannabis alters our minds and decision-making ability).
Final Thoughts on Christianity and Cannabis Consumption
Since a lot of Christians view the Bible as an interpretation of God’s word, and it advises against consuming substances that affect the mind, like alcohol and other substances, we can say that God probably opposes the consumption of recreational marijuana. So if you’re a Christian, it’s probably best to avoid smoking pot, especially if you’re doing it for recreational purposes.