Mainstream American Christianity has been hesitant to embrace CBD, both recreationally and medically. Some believers are wary due to misinformation about cannabis, or they presume that the biblical text forbids it. As more believers and faith leaders are exploring what the Bible actually says about cannabis – and better understanding its tangible benefits – Christians are coming around on CBD.
What does the Bible say about cannabis?
Explicitly, not much. While there are references to herbs and seeds, cannabis isn’t named. There are broader instructions in the New Testament clarifying laws from the Old Testament that restricted clean or unclean foods.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…who require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”1 Timothy 4:1-5
Judaism and Christianity share a lot of common text, but eating Kosher is more rare amongst Christians because of this passage. It has been widely interpreted as permission to eat previously restricted foods because if God made it, then it shouldn’t be rejected outright.
Christians that have embraced cannabis argue that this flower is natural and created by God. It should be viewed as a gift and something to be explored, studied, and used for our benefit.
The Greatest Commandment, Love One Another
Some advocates for CBD also believe that understanding its benefits is a way to follow Christ’s commandment to love one another. A major part of Christ’s ministry was healing the sick and giving comfort to those in pain. If CBD can provide physical or emotional relief, it can be “received with thanksgiving” and “made holy.”
In the New York Times Opinion Section, author Jonathan Merritt wrote about his own evolving views on cannabis. This is a deeply personal subject for Merritt. He shares that a few years ago, he was living with chronic pain and unable to find relief, despite having “a cabinet full of nerve pills, painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.” His life was changed by cannabis:
“That evening, I sampled a small dose and experienced what some might call a miracle. The excruciating pain receded and the cloud encircling my head lifted for the first time in months. I laid in bed and wept for more than an hour.”
“…America is sick, and the Christian call to compassion obligates the faithful to act. Chronic pain and illness now affect tens of millions of Americans, and in many cases the cause eludes the brightest medical minds. To fight these ailments, Americans have been prescribed mind-altering anti-depressants, highly addictive pain relievers and opioids, and all manner of legal substances with a list of side effects so long that drug commercials feel like ‘Saturday Night Live’ shorts.”
“Christian ethics has long taught that the faithful must take an active role in caring for the ailing among us. The New Testament repeatedly commands the people of God to engage in ‘healing the sick,’ an act that plays a central role in Jesus’s ministry in all four Gospels.”
James 1:17 says that every good and perfect gift comes from the Heavenly Father. If Merritt’s words are any indication, Christians are ready to embrace this green and leafy gift.
Readers, we want to hear from you! Is CBD a part of your spiritual journey? Leave a comment below!