Did Jesus use cannabis oil to perform miracles?

As marijuana grows more acceptable in the US, fringe groups and experts are beginning to consider its role in the Christian faith. Could cannabis oil have helped Jesus perform miracles?

In the US over the last couple of decades or so, the outlook on marijuana has undergone a complete paradigm shift. According to the most recent Pew Research Center poll, 61% of Americans back legalizing cannabis on the federal level. This goes across generational and to some extent, party lines. Lots more Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, for serious, legitimate illnesses. This new outlook is even filtering down into some unexpected places, such as among a couple of fringe Christian groups. Consider Deb Button. She’s the founder of Stoner Jesus Bible Study.


Button swears she had a deeply fulfilling spiritual experience while high on pot. "I'm sitting in my living room and the cannabis was kicking in at a higher dose, and I could literally feel God,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “I was filled with love, an indwelling of love." The 40-something Coloradan now holds Bible study in her home, which she’s converted into a “Bud & Breakfast.” Weekly sessions combine cannabis use with discussions on scripture.

Another example is California’s Sisters of the Valley, who are to be the subject of the upcoming documentary, Breaking Habits. The order, founded by “Sister Kate,” grows cannabis and produces medical marijuana products, mostly cannabidiol salves and tinctures, to heal the sick. While not affiliated with any official order, the women wear habits and refer to each other as “sister.” Now, two experts are questioning whether or not there’s an actual, Biblical connection between Christianity and cannabis.

See a preview for Breaking Habits here:

Carl Ruck, a professor of classical mythology at Boston University, is one proponent of this radical theory. "There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion," he told The Guardian. Ruck believes that Jesus may have anointed those he healed with cannabis oil, which is referred to in Aramaic as kaneh-bosem (Exodus 30:22-36). Traditionally, this was thought to be the herb calamus. Nine pounds of one of these herbs is used in the recipe.

The ancient Hebrews only anointed the priestly class (and later kings). This practice came from the story of the burning bush, where God instructed Moses on how to make the anointing oil and when to use it. Jesus is said to have broken with tradition by anointing the common people and sometimes when doing so, he performed miracles. Take the passage, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them (Mark 6:13).” Epilepsy could have looked like demonic possession, and CBD—a phytochemical in cannabis, has been shown, anecdotally, to treat it.

Although research into the healing powers of cannabis has been severely restricted by marijuana’s federal classification, cases such as Charlotte Fiji’s, covered by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, lend this theory a modicum of credence. The then six-year-old was having up to 300 grand mal seizures per week. After a consistent regimen of CBD oil, Fiji now only has one or two mild ones per month. Ruck says that Jesus and followers doused themselves in the oil, which would’ve been absorbed through the skin. Nine pounds of marijuana would’ve meant a lot of CBD.

CBD oil is hailed by some for what, anecdotally, is considered its many healing properties. Some experts contend that among the ancient Hebrews, it was only used by the priestly class, until Jesus democratized it. Image credit: Getty Images.

In addition to this, CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, to lessen pain and calm anxiety. It may even help with eczema and glaucoma, which might be why Jesus is often explained as healing skin and eye conditions. Chris Bennett, the author of the book, Sex, Drugs, Violence, and the Bible, is a supporter of the cannabis oil view. “The medical use of cannabis during that time is supported by archaeological records,” he told the BBC.

"If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient Christian anointing oil, as history indicates,” Bennett said, “receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians." Skeptics and there are many, say the evidence is just too weak. What’s more, while cannabis was widely used throughout the ancient world, so was calamus, which was also revered for its healing properties.

Supporters of this theory would have a long road ahead. First, the medicinal properties of cannabis would have to be proven through vigorous research, which could take years. Then, they’d have to prove that the ancient Hebrew anointing oil did, in fact, contain cannabis and not calamus.

To hear more about this theory, click here:

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

Why Elon Musk doesn't like Jeff Bezos's space colonies

Elon Musk took issue with recent ideas for space exploration from Jeff Bezos.

Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have sparred over space exploration previously.
  • Musk wants to focus on Mars while Bezos has the moon and space colonies as goals.
  • In a recent tweet, Musk called out Bezos's plans for space colonies as unrealistic.
Keep reading Show less

10 new things we’ve learned about death

If you don't want to know anything about your death, consider this your spoiler warning.

Culture & Religion
  • For centuries cultures have personified death to give this terrifying mystery a familiar face.
  • Modern science has demystified death by divulging its biological processes, yet many questions remain.
  • Studying death is not meant to be a morbid reminder of a cruel fate, but a way to improve the lives of the living.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think Edge
  • Push Past Negative Self-Talk: Give Yourself the Proper Fuel to Attack the World, with David Goggins, Former NAVY SealIf you've ever spent 5 minutes trying to meditate, you know something most people don't realize: that our minds are filled, much of the time, with negative nonsense. Messaging from TV, from the news, from advertising, and from difficult daily interactions pulls us mentally in every direction, insisting that we focus on or worry about this or that. To start from a place of strength and stability, you need to quiet your mind and gain control. For former NAVY Seal David Goggins, this begins with recognizing all the negative self-messaging and committing to quieting the mind. It continues with replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones.