What religions smoke marijuana as a sacrament?
Using marijuana for religious purposes is an old tradition in many cultures and places around the world. The herb has qualities that induce spiritual and theological insight and was (and to some degree) still is used around the world.
What religions smoke weed? Ancient history records the use of entheogen in peoples’ religious beliefs. This is the practice of using the psychoactive substance in spiritual manners that were aimed at the development of a persons’ spiritual world. This practice is still practiced in the Indian subcontinent and groups there use cannabis as a sacred herb.
Religious views on cannabis vary greatly. There are religious groups today that oppose the use of intoxicants. They do however use cannabis for medical reasons and religious ceremonies. Here are some religions that smoke weed and use it in other manners as part of their daily devotion.
Buddhism and marijuana are partners when the herb is used for medicinal purposes. The Fifth Precept, the five rules of training are an important system of morality for the Buddhist layperson. The purpose of these rules is to develop the mind and character to progress on the road to enlightenment. In the scripture of the Buddhist, cannabis is mentioned by name. There is a reference to cannabis being prescribed as a medicinal herb along with other psychoactive drugs.
Taoism and marijuana began their relationship around the fourth century as mentioned in the texts of Taoism. Cannabis was used in their censers. The use of marijuana for religious purposes was done by the Santa Muerte cult in Mexico as a cleansing rite. The smoke from the censers was used for purification. This practice is much like the use of incense that is used in the mainstream Catholic faith.
Marijuana and Hinduism warrant the mention of the Hindu festival. The consumption of bhang, an Indian drink that contains the buds of the cannabis plant. Is consumed for cleansing. It is believed that bhang cleanses the body and mind of sins. The drink will unite one with the Supreme Being. The miseries of hell in the next life will be avoided. Bhang is believed to possess medicinal qualities if bhang is taken as a drink without the spiritual rites, the action is considered to be in sin.
Marijuana is used in several spiritual Pagan rituals. The use of cannabis for spiritual purposes as well as to increase fertility was common practice in ancient Europe. Pagans believed that the marijuana plant contains female energy. The consumption of the marijuana plant allowed the energy, love, beauty, and fertility to enter ones’ own body
The Rastafarian view on marijuana is as a sacred and beneficial plant. The religion looks upon the herb as the tree of life. Rastafari believe that the marijuana plant can bring the healing of all nations. Part of the religious ceremony and life is the incorporation of the water pipe known as the chalice. The chalice is used for religious discussions on their perspective of life. The pipes are filled with marijuana and passed to the members of the church. That smoking the herb will burn all corruption out of the heart is a belief of the Rastafarian Religion. The ashes from the burnt herb are rubbed on the skin and looked upon as a healthy practice.
Using marijuana for religious purposes is an old tradition in many cultures and places around the world.
Cannabis & Religion: A History of Weed & Spirituality
Cannabis use is old as civilization itself, stretching back to thousands of years ago. Many civilizations and cultures around the world have used it for both medicinal and spiritual purposes. There first recorded use of cannabis use dates all the way back to 4000 years ago in Central Asia. At that point in time, people used the cannabis plant for practical reasons such as oil, paper, clothing, and ropes. Eventually, people realized they could get high on cannabis. The first recorded use of marijuana being consumed for its psychoactive effects was discovered in western China all the way back to 2500 years ago. It’s clear that cannabis has been used for many years, so we wanted to know if some of these old cultures used our favorite plant for religious purposes. In this article, we’ll explore the many ways that marijuana and spirituality go together and religions that use cannabis in their practice.
Why Marijuana and Religion Go Together
Due to the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis creating the mind-altering “high”, marijuana has been historically used in ceremonies and rituals as a way to connect to the “divine”, search for purpose and meaning, or to simply relax and “cleanse.” The religious use of marijuana varies across religions, and we thought we’d explore all different forms of it.
Religions that Use Marijuana
Buddhism and marijuana go in hand-in-hand in certain sects such as Tantric Buddhism. This sect was originally practiced in the Tibet-Himalayan region. Practitioners would use large doses of cannabis, a sacred plant, to induce further awareness during ceremonies, prayers, or to assist in mediation and relaxation. Some sects would show Buddha holding a “begging bowl” of cannabis leaves, known as “soma.” It is also believed Buddha would consume one hemp seed per day as part of his daily rituals. However, note that not all Buddhism followers, as the Dalai Lama, would use weed because it is considered an intoxicant and forbidden in certain sects. Exceptions may be made for the medical use of marijuana.
In Hinduism, cannabis is said to have come from the god Shiva who created cannabis from his own body. The plant itself is considered sacred and a spiritual source of happiness, purification, and liberation. In fact, references to cannabis and the god are found in the ancient Vedic scriptures of Hindusim dating back to at least 3000 years. The Vedas believed weed is one of the five sacred plants and holds a guardian angel in its leaves. Hindus consume cannabis in at least 3 different ways: Charas – a type of hash; Ganja – smoking the flower; and Bhang, a holy drink made of cannabis and milk to cleanse and purify the body. Shiva is also called “Lord of Bhang,” because he drinks bhang to harness his power!
Rastafarianism was developed in Jamacia in the 1930s. It is an excellent example of cannabis and spirituality heavily intertwined together as cannabis plays a significant role in the religion. Rastafarians consume cannabis on a regular basis as a way to help them to release their negative energies from within. They see cannabis as a way to get rid of ideas of hatred, anger, and other negative feelings. Smoking weed and releasing these energies brings Rastafarians closer to their god, Jah. They hold rituals called “reasoning sessions,” where they share a pipe to smoke the cannabis in a group mediation sessions. Interestingly, since cannabis is still considered illegal under current U.S. federal laws, the Rastafarians are allowed to consume weed legally as part of their religion under the protection of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993.
Marijuana and Taoism together date back to around 4th century B.C. in China. The religion was founded by Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher, and it was the official religion of China under the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE). The shamans in Taoism used cannabis and other herbs, such as ginseng, to cleanse and promote a sense of harmony in themselves. They also used it as a form of divination to take their spirits out and “see” into the future and speak to spirits. Only religious officials, not the common people, can use cannabis. Usually, they would burn the cannabis similar to incense and inhale the fumes to induce psychoactive experiences during rituals.
The time when marijuana and Christianity were practiced together harkens back to an era of early Christianity. The likely evidence of the use of marijuana in Christianity was discovered in ancient texts from the Old Testament. In 1936, Sula Benet, an etymologist, had put forth an argument that the Hebrew word for cannabis “kaneh bosm” was mistaken for another plant when it was translated from the Greek version of the text. If it was true, then cannabis use was widespread during the early years of Christianity. In the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, cannabis was used as incense during religious celebrations and in temples of Assyria and Babylon, as an intoxicant, and to produce oils.
The Rise of New Cannabis Religion
Just as weed and religion were deeply intertwined for thousands of years, weed and spirituality still play a central role in the emerging new cannabis spirituality groups in modern society. Cantheism is a prominent example of a religious sect that believes “Cannabis is a Sacrament in the lives of its adherents. This single practice unites the global Cantheist community.” In other words, consuming cannabis is a way to access parts of consciousness beyond the rational mind.
Chris Conrad founded Cantheism in 1996 after he had a life-changing moment when he consumed cannabis for the first time and claimed to feel a greater religious and spiritual connection. Practitioners would get together for a ceremony, form a circle, and do a sacramental practice by sharing cannabis mixed in a spliff and pass it around.
More modern cannabis sects and groups have continued to pop up, such as the International Church of Cannabis in Denver, Colorado, THC Ministry, and the Church of Universe. The current challenge for these religious groups in the United States is the conflict between the current federal ban on marijuana and the right to practice religion and their beliefs.
Are you religious and a cannabis user, or part of a religious sect that uses cannabis? If so, what were your reasons for using cannabis? Tell us more in the comments below!
Cannabis use is old as civilization itself, stretching back to thousands of years ago. Many civilizations and cultures around the world have used it for both medicinal and spiritual purposes. There first recorded use of cannabis use dates all the way back to 4000 years ago in Central Asia. At that point in time, people used the cannabis plant for