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Jesus and Cannabis — What Next?

The Guardian, one of Great Britain’s major newspapers (admittedly, one of the most liberal as well) decided that this article was worth publishing.

In “Jesus ‘Healed Using Cannabis,’” reporter Duncan Campbell used an article in the pro-drugs magazine, High Times, to suggest that Jesus used cannabis in his healing ministry.

From the article: Jesus was almost certainly a cannabis user and an early proponent of the medicinal properties of the drug, according to a study of scriptural texts published this month. The study suggests that Jesus and his disciples used the drug to carry out miraculous healings.

The anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract, according to an article by Chris Bennett in the drugs magazine, High Times, entitled “Was Jesus a Stoner?” The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims.

“There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” Carl Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University said.

Ruck has his own axe to grind, and his claims about cannabis in the Bible are based on nothing more than speculation about the meaning of “aromatic cane” in the Exodus 30:23 description of the ingredients for oil used in anointings.

Even if true, it is a long jump from the inclusion of hemp in anointing oil to the smoking of marijuana. Nevertheless, those arguing for cannabis in the Bible, much less in the healing ministry of Jesus, are working with nothing more than wishful speculation based in playing with linguistics. The “scholars” who are behind this have published their articles almost exclusively in newspapers, magazines, and Web sites of the marijuana legalization movement — not in the journals of recognized scholarship.