What Does the Bible Say about Weed?
Cannabis by the names we know it- hemp, weed, marijuana- is not specifically mentioned in the Bible. However, Biblical scholars have discovered multiple references throughout the Old Testament that reveal its use. There are even a few references in the New Testament as well.
The original origin of the word cannabis was believed to come from the Scythians. In fact, the Hebrews also had a separate word, originating in the Semitic languages, of kaneh-bosem or simply kaneh.
Over time and multiple translations, this word became kannabus which even later turned into our modern world of cannabis. Kaneh-bosm is referenced in many books of the Bible and often was interchangeable with the idea of burning incense. Kan meant ‘hemp’ or ‘reed’ while bosem meant ‘aromatic’.
The first appearance
The first appearance is in Exodus 30 with a list of ingredients used in an anointing oil. This oil was for religious purposes only and used when approaching the Tabernacle of God. Moses gathered half a dozen herbs at God’s request, among them being kaneh-bosem.
The second reference
The second reference is its connection to the Goddess and previously matriarchal societies of the world. When the idea of God being the only idol came about, Goddess worship took a steep downhill turn. For some time, though, Asherah was kept on as the wife of Yahweh in the Jewish world. She was represented by incense, snakes, and groves. The Goddess has always been a symbol of the earth so anything grown in the earth was sacred to her. This included the kaneh plant.
In the patriarchal societies, her name became synonymous with the groves of the Biblical world. This even referred to groves where the kaneh-bosem was grown.
Priests of both Yahweh and Asherah kept these groves closely guarded so that the plant of renown was used for religious purposes only. There is a theory among some Biblical scholars that the book of Song of Songs was originally intended as Solomon’s hymn to the Goddess Asherah, rather than to a woman.
She was called the Queen of Heaven in multiple books of the Bible, particularly Jeremiah.
Solomon and the cannabis plant
Here, in chapter four, Solomon compares the scent of his beloved to the scent of the sacred incense of kaneh. Later in his life, Solomon followed his wives- the women in his life- and allowed them to lead him to Goddess worship, to the worship of Asherah. 1 Kings speaks of this. It is believed by scholars that Solomon copied the original rites of the Semitic and Scythian peoples by reverting to Goddess worship. Thus he became reliant upon the cannabis plant.
Noah – A man loved by God
In fact it was the Scythians who introduced the plant to the Israelites. To the Semitic peoples, the Scythians were known as Ashkenaz. This was the grandson of Noah, by his son Gomer, and Noah was considered a man loved by God. Truly, the Bible has had its positive endorsements of the use of cannabis. Cannabis is a hallucinogenic plant. The book of Isaiah mentions the presence of Yahweh coming to both Moses and Isaiah
“in the midst of a cloud of smoke”.
This also resembles the appearance of God or gods in other religions. Zoroastrianism has an elderly sage receiving an audience with his God while in a trance that was the result of the cannabis plant. In order to induce this “cloud”, the plant was burned and the smoke would waft through the air to be inhaled by the priests.
The priests of Yahweh
The priests of Yahweh saw the hallucinogenic plants as “angels” because the smoke was used to bring messages from God. This is also similar to the Greek oracle at Delphi, and even to Aztec shamans. In the Aztec empire, shamans would follow the jaguar to find the hallucinogenic mushrooms and plants.
The large feline would purposely seek out the plants for the high. Once the shamans figured this out, it became easier to induce themselves into a trance to receive the messages from their gods. Shamans all around the world, in every culture, used this technique of using cannabis and other hallucinogens to receive “divine revelations”. In some parts of the world, they still do.
Unfortunately, the cannabis plant took a hit when a certain wise king turned his back on Yahweh. Because Solomon turned to the Goddess, and became reliant upon the plant, a negative front begins to take place.
The eight year old king of 2 Kings
It began with Josiah, the eight year old king of 2 Kings. All before and after his reign groves were set high and incense was burned. Despite this, Josiah stood strong in what he believed was right.
He cut down the groves and all trees and plants that were held sacred to Asherah. He kicked out the burning censors of the incense, of the cannabis. He discovered the Book of Law as written by Moses that spoke against Asherah and kaneh. Thus he began to deliver harsher punishments against the people.
And yet, after all this, he kept the image of a serpent known as Nehushtan in the Ark of the Covenant. Serpents were widely renowned as images of the Goddess. Perhaps the Goddess was greatly revered after all; it is suggested by Biblical scholars that Josiah began to see the error of his ways by the time of his death.
“Asherah” mean a tree or grove of trees
In Isaiah 43, God becomes upset with his prophet and the Israelites for not presenting him with his sacrifices, his sacred incense among them. In further evidence of God’s anger, the Goddess had to be removed completely.
Jeremiah 44 discusses a clear dislike of the plant when God is angered by the people wanting to burn the incense and serve other gods, such as Asherah. The patriarchal society becomes much more clear here.
This is when God becomes himself outside of Asherah, when the Jewish idea of Yahweh having a wife, a Queen of Heaven, is no longer allowed.
The people of course argue against Jeremiah being the voice of God’s anger by saying no harm has been done and no evil was made. The name Asherah came to simply mean a tree or grove of trees. There is little to no reference of the cannabis or kaneh-bosem in the rest of the Old Testament.
Cannabis in the New Testament
For a brief time, however, there is the hint of the kaneh use in the New Testament. Matthew 15 starts with the warning label of the use. It matters not what one consumes but rather how they use it and how it affects them.
If the cannabis is not going to produce positive effects, do not use it.
Mark 6 is a testimony to the healing powers of the hemp plant. Jesus used the same anointing oil as mentioned in Exodus 30, when Moses gathered the ingredients. In exorcisms- or expelling of demons from possessing a human body- in the New Testament, the anointing oil was used to help heal and purify the body. The description of a demon possession matches that of a modern person’s case of epilepsy.
True to it’s nature, epilepsy is one of the causes for the allowance of the use of cannabis today. The healing powers of kaneh-bosem are giving Christians a cause to speak out for its medicinal use. The Bible states, through Jesus’ own use of cannabis, that the hemp plant has always had a clear purpose of healing.