Religious Perspective on the Use of Cannabis

Religious Perspective on the Use of Cannabis

From ancient history to the present times, human beings have maintained different religious beliefs about cannabis. Some religions in ancient history were using cannabis for spiritual and sacred purposes. According to the, the Indians used it as an entheogen, and the tradition is practiced up to date, though on a limited basis.

Today, Rastafarians believe that cannabis is a sacred herb while Islam, Baha’i, Mormons, and Buddhism religions prohibit cannabis use. Other religious groups such as Jewish and Protestant factions allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Cannabis is said to contain CBD oil which has medicinal benefits.

Without further ado, here are the different religions’ beliefs about cannabis use.


The Baha’i religion prohibits the use of intoxicants such as alcohol and other drugs that are not prescribed for medical purposes. Baha’i authorities warn against the use of intoxicants as described in the Baha’i laws since the days when the religion started.


Buddhists interpret the Fifth Precept to mean that they should abstain from intoxicating substances which cause heedlessness. However, Precept specifically refers to alcohol. Psychoactive plants such as cannabis are prescribed for medicinal purposes in Mahakala Tantra.


Christianity consists of several sects such as Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox.


The Catholic Church is led by a pope – currently Pope Francis – who condemned the use of recreational cannabis.  The use of cannabis is considered an offense unless used for therapeutic purposes.


The sect is mainly concentrated in Georgia and has opposed cannabis legalization in Georgia.


Several Protestant groups have opposed the use of cannabis. The Baptist Convention in Florida appealed to its congregants to vote against marijuana legalization in Florida. Evangelical churches opposed the decriminalization of marijuana in Belize in 2017.

However, some Protestant groups such as Presbyterian and Methodist churches have welcomed the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes.


Hindus consume bhang made from cannabis flowers during the Holi festival. Samudra Manthan’s teachings claim that cannabis was created by Shiva from his body to purify amrita. Other teachings claim that cannabis sprang up from the elixir that dropped on the ground. Sages use cannabis because it is associated with elixir and Shiva.

Hindus believe that wise use of bhang cleanses sins, shields them from miseries, and unites them with Shiva. However, the foolish use of bhang is regarded as a sin.


Some Muslim scholars believe that cannabis is a form of khamr (alcohol) which is forbidden (haraam) in the Quran while others believe cannabis is halal which is permissible.

Cannabis is consumed in many Islamic worlds today although the use is sometimes restricted to religious purposes within the Sufi movement.

Medicinal cannabis is allowed by modern Muslim leaders while recreational cannabis is prohibited.


Some scholars claimed that cannabis was used during religious rituals in early Judaism although these claims have been refuted. In modern Judaism, orthodox rabbis allow the use of medicinal cannabis and prohibit recreational cannabis.


Rastafarians use cannabis to show their faith, and they often dedicate pipes of cannabis before smoking to Haile Selassie. They believe that cannabis brings them closer to Jah (God).

Final Thoughts

Each religion has its beliefs about cannabis use. Whether for medicinal or recreational purposes, the use solely depends on the doctrines and teachings of that particular religion.