What does the Bible say
about Marijuana?

Questions?    -    Our Newsletter
QUESTION: What does the Bible say about using Marijuana (also referred to as pot or weed)?

ANSWER: The Bible does not mention marijuana by name. In the United States (and no doubt other places), the legal use of this drug, either for recreational or for medicinal purposes, is a hotly debated subject. This is partly because, for Americans, the U.S. federal government considers the plant a Level 1 controlled substance. Under this classification, its possession is considered a federal offense punishable (for the first offense) by up to one year in jail and a fine, with increasing penalties for subsequent offenses. Penalties are more severe for those convicted of cultivating or selling marijuana.

In 2014, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, there were a little more than 22 million citizens using the drug. It is estimated that 6.5 million of these individuals use marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis. According to the agency, it is considered the most widely abused illicit drug.

In spite of federal law, as of 2017, twenty-nine U.S. states plus the District of Columbia have made it legal to use marijuana for certain medical reasons. The drug is used in these places to treat or improve the symptoms brought on by approved conditions such as HIV / AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain and several others.

Is it wrong to drink alcohol?
Which animals are NOT good for us to eat?
What religion considers marijuana use a sacrament?

The use of marijuana is not directly addressed in Scripture. That said, the fact that God brought it into existence cannot be used, of itself, as a justification for using it today. He did indeed create all plant life, but not all plants are meant to be consumed by humans in one form or another. Some of them, like nightshades and water hemlocks, are so toxic if ingested that they can cause severe symptoms and even death. This principle of not everything created is good for man also carries over to animals, as the Eternal brought into existence some creatures that can be eaten and others where using them for food should be avoided (see our article on unclean foods).

Dried pot (marijuana) flowers
Dried marijuana (pot) flowers

Believers are called to honor God with their bodies because it is where his Spirit, which makes a person a true Christian, resides (1Corinthians 6:19 - 20). This means we should shy away from things that could defile or pollute it. We are also commanded to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to him (Romans 12:1). Paul's second letter to the Corinthians states, "For you are a temple of the living God . . . Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate," says the Lord, "and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you (2Corinthians 6:16 - 17). Christians are admonished to reject those things that are not good for them (both physically and spiritually) so that the Father can receive them. These, and other verses, point to the rejection of using marijuana for recreational purposes.

While the recreational use of this drug would not be acceptable, its medicinal use is another issue entirely. A biblical argument could be made for using it in special cases such as with those experiencing chronic pain or someone who is suffering before they die. For example, Proverbs admonishes those who govern to stay away from intoxicating beverages so that their work will not be hindered (Probers 31:4 - 5). One verse later, however, it says, "Give strong drink (alcohol) to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are of heavy hearts" (Proverbs 31:6, HBFV).

The above principle of using a substance to alleviate true suffering lends itself to a possible biblical (but not legal) justification of medicinal marijuana use. Believers, however, should always pray for God to reveal his will in their particular situations and be aware of the possible consequences that might come in whatever decision they make.

Additional Study Materials
Can we eat ANYTHING we want?
What exactly is a living sacrifice?
Did Jesus drink wine?

What does Bible say about marijuana?

Holy Bible, a Faithful Version
MedlinePlus Web site
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

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