Cannabis is ancient medicine — so ancient in fact that Jesus Christ was using medical marijuana before “medical marijuana” was even a thing.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, cannabis is referred to in Hebrew as “kaneh-bosm.” It’s a key ingredient in the holy anointing oil, which, according to Exodus 30:22-23, calls for nine pounds of kaneh-bosm, six quarts of olive oil, in addition to myrrh, cinnamon, and cassia. In fact, the word “Christ” means “the anointed one.”
According to Christian theology, Jesus Christ is considered the Messiah. In his lifetime, he went around healing people with the holy anointing oil. In his time period, especially, epilepsy was thought of as a demon possession; meanwhile, the New Testament describes stories in which Jesus “casts out devils,” a.k.a. treats epilepsy. Today we know that cannabis is an effective treatment in for alleviating seizures.
“If Jesus laid his hands on lepers, we know that leprosy could be cured by cannabis. When he cured the blind man, I personally think of people with glaucoma who put CBD on their eyes and say, ‘Oh my God, it works,” explains Adam Umansky, co-founder of cannabis church Tree Based Ministry. “That puts the scientific understanding of the plant in a different light. I think Jesus’ mission was to use this holy sacrament and universalize access to it.”
Of course, Jesus wasn’t the first Biblical character to use cannabis. As Bible scholar Chris Bennett recounts, “kaneh-bosm” was used by the “shamanic Levite priesthood” from the time of Moses in order to receive “revelations of the Lord.” Anointing was a common pastime among Israeli kings and signified royalty.
That is, until Jesus began using it. Rather than reserve the holy anointing oil for kings and priests, Christ used it to heal the sick.
“In the case of cannabis, unlike the phony ‘snake oils’ of yesteryear, the plant not only contained trance-inducing qualities, but also is actually rich with medicinal properties that have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments,” writes Bennett. Christ even gave his disciples a “pouch full of medicine” in order to go to the City of Habitation in order to treat people suffering from medical ailments. He told his disciples they must heal bodies before healing the heart, Bennett describes.
Luckily, cannabis heals both body and heart, if used properly. Some joke that all of Christ’s’ talk about peace and love was inspired by his own cannabis use. Religious or not, the ideas and morals Christ espoused might today classify him as a peacenik — couple that with the cannabis and his long hair, he might even have been a Biblical hippie.