Author’s note: this isn’t a debate about legalizing or outlawing the use of marijuana. This is a theological look at whether or not it should be used.
I was recently exposed on Facebook to a video from the website Attn: claiming that doctors are “doing harm” to patients by not prescribing marijuana to them. It’s been viewed on Facebook over 290,000 times, so it clearly has some traction. There are no research-based, reliable facts cited in the video. It got me thinking about how theology views marijuana use, and I’ve shared my research here.
There’s a funny movie from the 1990s called Friday. One of the main characters, Smokey, argued with his friend that marijuana was perfectly fine to smoke because “weed is from the earth. God put this here for me and you. Take advantage man, take advantage.” A funny movie, based on a completely fictional story.
Let’s take a look at what the real story of marijuana is and what The Bible says about using mind-altering, body-altering substances.
University of Kansas Geography Professor Barney Warf noted that marijuana originated in Central Asia, specifically in the regions that are now Mongolia and southern Siberia, around 2,700 B.C. It is interesting that The Bible covers this time period and makes numerous references to the use, and abuse through drunkenness, of wine but makes no specific references to marijuana use. We have to look at the broader sense of Christian living in order to gain spiritual guidance about using marijuana. We also have to understand the science of marijuana in order to understand how it does or does not fit into a Christian lifestyle.
First, let’s tackle the science side. According to the DEA Museum web site, marijuana fibers were originally grown and used to make rope, the oils to make paint, and the seeds to feed farm animals. You need only ask yourself this: would you eat rope, drink paint, or eat animal fodder? I didn’t think so. Then why ingest them in the form of marijuana?
Next, take a look at the ill effects of marijuana use, as described by the National Council on Drug Abuse:
* increased heart rate
* problems with child development
* intense nausea and vomiting
* temporary hallucinations
* temporary paranoia
* worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia—a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking
* suicidal thoughts
* lower life satisfaction
* poorer mental health
* poorer physical health
* more relationship problems
* emergency room visits
* up to 30% of users become addicted
* teens that use it lose up to 8 IQ points in adulthood
The Bible finds all of these to be against the teachings of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, which says:
“Didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.”
Jesus gave his life on the cross for our salvation. Our bodies house the very soul that Jesus died to save. We owe it to Him to treat them well.
Proponents of marijuana use make arguments that it is not an addictive drug. Research indicates otherwise. The same National Council on Drug Abuse report states:
“Research suggests that up to 30 percent of those who use marijuana may develop some degree of marijuana use disorder. People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a marijuana use disorder. Many people who use marijuana long term and are trying to quit report mild withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult. These include:
- decreased appetite
Anything that causes withdrawal symptoms is addictive, plain and simple. Galatians 5:21 decries “uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions” and states the following lifestyle will stem from addiction in versus 19-20:
“Repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; ugly parodies of community.”
Now that you know children that use marijuana are up to seven times more likely to become addicted, would you let them use it? I can’t imagine anyone would, if they truly want what is best for them and they know the facts.
So, we’ve established you wouldn’t use it because you wouldn’t eat rope, drink paint, or eat animal fodder. Also, we’ve established you wouldn’t want your children to use it because the risk of addiction is startlingly high. We’ve also established that God wants us to respect our bodies and live a life free from addictions. There you have it; there’s absolutely no theological reason to use marijuana or to give it to your family. You see, people don’t accidentally smoke marijuana; it is a choice. We have absolute freedom of choice not to do it, and when we consider God’s will for us, we must choose not to use it.
One last thought: I was a police officer for 21 years and a state-certified marijuana analyst for three years. That means I examined it under microscopes and chemically analyzed it for criminal cases. Marijuana smells like dog poop, and so do the people that smoke it. Don’t believe me? Google the concept and find out for yourself.
May God bless you, now and always.