Similar to other modern-day controversies, such as abortion or tobacco use, the Bible does not specifically say anything about marijuana. There is a recent upward trend of marijuana use across the world and many states in America have already legalized cannabis.
With the recent popularity and legalization of this drug, many people have wondered what the Bible says about marijuana usage. Is it permissible to smoke or vape marijuana or is it a sin?
What Should Christians Know about Marijuana?
Marijuana is known by many other names, such as cannabis, hemp, weed, pot, or “Mary Jane.” Many people smoke marijuana in order to obtain “calmness,” melancholy, or to alleviate their anxiety. Marijuana comes from the dried leaves of the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plant “contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds.” When a person smokes marijuana, they are inhaling the vapors, not the actual smoke from the plant (Ibid.).
There are many different types of marijuana and extractions of it; however, all types will cause a person to become intoxicated. In fact, it is reported that just a mere four puffs of smoking marijuana will cause a person to become intoxicated, which is inhaling as little as seven milligrams of THC.
It is hard for a person to constitute smoking marijuana for any other reason except to get high. Some people add marijuana to various desserts such as brownies while others add it to their coffee or tea.
Adding cannabis into brownies, coffee, tea, or anything else is never to increase the flavor of what is being consumed, but rather to add the mind-altering effects into the food or beverage.
As perfectly stated by Joe Carter, “Presumably, no one adds marijuana to brownies because it improves their flavor. The reason to add this particular plant to foodstuffs is because of its effect on senses other than taste.”
What Are the Side Effects of Marijuana?
There are many side effects of smoking marijuana, both physical and mental. The physical side effects of using cannabis are breathing problems, an increased heart rate, as well as intense nausea and vomiting, which often turns into Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.
For women wanting to build a family, marijuana causes multiple problems with pregnancy and issues regarding the development of the infant while still in the womb as well as after the baby is born (Ibid.).
When nursing mothers use marijuana, the marijuana passes from the mother to the child in the breast milk and can cause problems with the development of the baby’s brain (Ibid.).
There are also multiple investigations underway to determine whether or not marijuana played a major role in the death of many of its users (Ibid.). In addition to the physical side effects of cannabis, there are also mental side effects of this drug.
The mental side effects of cannabis include changes in mood, hallucinations, paranoia, depression, difficulty sleeping, difficulty in concentration, low motivation, and psychotic illnesses such as psychosis, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Each of these psychotic illnesses can leave a person being disabled for the remainder of his or her life. Living with psychosis, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder are all difficult illnesses to live through during a person’s life.
Marijuana has also been found to be addictive (Ibid.), which can significantly impair a person’s quality of life. The physical and mental side effects are all negative and a person needs to understand the risks associated with using this drug.
What Does the Bible Say about Marijuana?
As mentioned previously, the Bible does not explicitly address the concept of marijuana; however, the Bible does tell us that our bodies are temples.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
God has each given us our own body and we must take care of it. The Lord tells us that we are each fearfully and wonderfully created.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).
He does not want us to hurt our bodies by smoking or vaping drugs that can cause us to experience physical or mental side effects.
Similar to drunkenness, marijuana will lead a person to become intoxicated with impaired psychomotor skills such as impaired thought processes, difficulty with thinking, and difficulty with remembering events.
The Bible tells us to avoid “envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). Utilizing cannabis can fall under the category of “the like.”
Christians have no place in participating in smoking or vaping marijuana as it is destroying the temple God has given us. Cannabis will impair your thinking process and your ability to make proper decisions.
If a person is constantly in a foggy haze from using marijuana, how will they be able to be a light for Christ? Moreover, how can a person experience true freedom in Christ if they are addicted to marijuana? God’s Word tells us not to become mastered by anything.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”— but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).
It also tells us to be clear-minded, not in a foggy haze (1 Peter 4:7). Cannabis usage is not compatible with the Christian life as it will destroy a person’s physical and mental health as well as it will be a bad testimony to the unbelievers around them.
Why Does This Matter?
Despite popular culture making marijuana usage out to be “cool” or “radical,” true marijuana use is far from it. Cannabis will only destroy your physical health/mental health, reputation, and testimony.
Christians need to flee the temptations of the world and shine brightly for Christ. There are enough temptations, difficulties, and struggles in the world without being disoriented by cannabis usage.
Simply because the world says it is “okay” to smoke or vape marijuana does not mean God says it is okay. You are a beautiful, important, amazing masterpiece of God’s hands and He does not want you to destroy it with the usage of marijuana.
For further reading:
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Olga Novikova
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.