Supplemental to My Series on Marijuana

A while ago I completed a three part series on the issue of marijuana and the Christian worldview. With some recent stories surfacing in the news, I feel compelled to add a few more comments on this vital and complicated issue.

At the beginning of this month, a young woman named Brittany Maynard chose to end her own life, and employ a physician to help her do it. She had been diagnosed with a devastating and incurable brain cancer, and decided she wanted to, in her words “die with dignity”. So she moved to the state of Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. She became the poster child for an organization she volunteered for, called Compassion and Choices, which is trying to legalize assisted suicide across the USA.

Brittany’s suicide is being hailed as a dignified and brave choice, even after the recent tragic suicide of Robin Williams. Williams’ choice to end his own suffering is seen as a sad but powerful opportunity to raise awareness so that hopefully further suicides will be prevented. Maynard’s suicide is something people support, defend, and even encourage. And even more alarming, while suffering patients who fight until the end used to be considered brave and dignified, now many consider suicide to instead be the brave and dignified choice. What disrespect to those who really are bravely fighting for life! It used to be precious. Not anymore. And even worse, assisted suicide requires a medical professional who swore an oath to “do no harm” to break that oath and end lives.

At this point, you may be thinking that I want to lament the fact that she didn’t give cannabis a fair shot at saving her life. But I don’t. Her treatment options are her choice. She did try some things early on that didn’t help, and then she said enough. I do understand that. It’s one thing to share exciting story after exciting story of people who cured their cancer with cannabis. That’s great, don’t get me wrong. But the reality is that it doesn’t always cure cancer. And when you are faced with these kinds of decisions, you are acutely aware of that. Continue reading

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A Christian Primer on Marijuana (Part 3)

Medical Use
Welcome to Part Three of my series on marijuana and the Christian worldview. In Part One we looked at an overview of marijuana and the Christian Worldview. In Part Two, we got deeper into the issue of recreational use, as well as other uses for cannabis such as for nutrition and commercial products. And we also looked briefly at some of the legal and safety aspects.

Now in Part Three I would like to focus on cannabis for medicinal use. The research I have conducted over the past several years has convinced me this is by far the most beneficial, powerful, and much needed use of the plant.

Health & Science
As mentioned in Part Two, the leaf and bud of the cannabis plant can be consumed raw without causing any psychoactive effect, and with tremendous health benefits. It used to be a normal part of a healthy diet for many people in the past, before it was outlawed and regulated out of our culture completely. Although the stem cannot be eaten, even it can be used to make teas, butters, skin creams, etc. with their own health benefits. With so many chronic health problems and cancers specific to the industrialized western world, it’s time to start taking advantage of those natural benefits again. Continue reading

A Christian Primer on Marijuana (Part 2)

Recreational Use
In Part One of this discussion I touched on some basics about marijuana and the Christian worldview. I noted how this heated topic is fairly new on the modern church landscape because of our rapidly changing laws. In this blog post I’d like to dig further into the issue of recreational use and how it relates to us as Christians. From there, I will examine some broader issues, concerns, and uses.

Marijuana vs. Alcohol, Cigarettes, Cigars, etc.
MartiniSmoking marijuana has often been contrasted with using alcohol recreationally. Generally speaking, a person can have a drink or two of wine without becoming intoxicated or addicted. It is enjoyed for the taste and generally because it goes well with a meal. It is a social norm that extends back to Bible times and is not condemned (when in used in moderation). Of course, we must be sensitive to the potential for abuse, and abstain from it if drinking alcohol may cause a brother or sister in the faith to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:13). It should also be avoided if a Christian is prone to the temptation to abuse it. So the issue of alcohol consumption is not cut and dry. But because it has been legal for a long time, Christians have had the opportunity to thoughtfully consider every detail of the subject and make an informed decision as to how we might best glorify God.

Marijuana, on the other hand, has been a non-issue for decades and now poses many new considerations that we may not have really dealt with in the past. Generally when someone smokes marijuana recreationally, it’s specifically for the purpose of getting high. It’s not a pleasant aroma like a nice pipe or cigar (not that this is a major issue, of course). People don’t usually smoke it just for the taste. As mentioned in Part One, recreational use is not something for Christians to participate in, as we are called to be sober minded.

It has also been compared to smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc. The obvious difference there is that cigarettes, cigars, etc. are not psychoactive. However, they do have an impact on the body and mind and cigarettes in particular are highly addictive and incredibly bad for your health. So, we can see that smoking in general is not recommended because of not only its addictive properties, but also its negative impact on our health.

There is no denying that there is tremendous potential to abuse a natural substance that has such potentially strong psychoactive properties. And indeed, examples of that abuse are all around us. Terms like “pot head”, or “stoner” have been around for a long time, and it’s not by accident. People who regularly recreationally smoke marijuana tend to become lazy underachievers who sometimes even end up living off the system and just not caring about much of anything. That is one affect that marijuana use can have, depending on how it is used. I’ve personally seen it happen, and I’m sure many of you have, as well. Continue reading

A Christian Primer on Marijuana (Part 1)

For a long time, the issue of whether or not Christians should consume or support the use of marijuana was a simple one. It was illegal to grow, use, and possess, and therefore not an option. The Bible clearly commands us to obey our government in all cases, except when it requires us to disobey the Lord. (Romans 13:17-7, Acts 5:29).

But with the increasing legalization of marijuana in the world these days, it’s not that simple anymore. It is vital now that Christians educate themselves on this hot button topic. I’ve seen it handled well, and I’ve seen it handled poorly even by Christian leaders that I have tremendous respect for. This is because it is an incredibly complicated issue, and most people simply have not had the time to investigate it fully. Continue reading