Should Followers of Christ Use Recreational Marijuana?

"The Bible is silent on the subject of marijuana (but not intoxication). It is not the fruit from the tree of the garden in Eden, and it would be clever but mistaken to see a veiled reference in John 6:10: 'Now there was much grass in the place.'" - TGC

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WallyMorris's picture

Here we go again. Although Vanhoozer concludes Christians should not use marijuana, I'm waiting for those who insist on their right to Christian liberty so they can use marijuana. Interesting that some of the same reasons he gives for not using marijuana can also be used against modern alcohol, but, of course, I'm not supposed to say that.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

Bert Perry's picture

I'm fair with using the same analysis for both alcohol and marijuana.  Scripture tells us to avoid drunkenness and avoid it, and gives a picture--red eyes, feeling no pain, etc..--that corresponds to about 0.15-0.2% BAC.  That's about the same level as most DUI arrests.  The CDC's been saying for a few decades that the big risk factor for alcohol dependence is four or more drinks in a two hour period--more or less meaning the drinker is getting up to about 0.1% BAC.  On the flip side, six stone jars of wine for a wedding celebration with hundreds of people is a blessing, Biblically speaking.

Now there are a couple of things hanging out there--what is the risk of mental illness and the like from use of marijuana--but it strikes me that we can do the same thing for marijuana.  And, for that matter, another substance mentioned in Proverbs 23: food.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Steve Davis's picture

With no intention to rehash the hash or the mash, Vanhoozer does make an important distinction. 

"Note the difference between drinking alcohol and smoking pot: a glass of wine complements food but doesn’t result in intoxication, whereas the whole point of consuming cannabis for recreational purposes is to get high.'”

I've worked for over a decade bi-vocationally as a certified addiction therapist both in prisons and treatment facilities. I presently work part-time and have a caseload I meet with regularly depending on their level of care. There is no question that marijuana is a gateway drug for some people but there are other factors to consider. I've done scores of biopsychosocial assessments and would say there are some common denominators leading to addiction (abuse, mental health issues, peer pressure, ignorance, prescription drugs, etc.) but no single explanation for why some take Percocet or Oxycontin as prescribed and others spiral into addiction and move on to heroin and now Fentanyl. I do not encourage marijuana use by my patients but for some it is a tool in their recovery from opiates. I’ve had patients die from opiates, Benzos, etc. but none from marijuana although it presents other problems.

In any case the difference between something the Bible permits in moderation (wine) should be kept separate in discussions on cannabis use which no one would use without immediate effects. Conflating the issues confuses and detracts from the arguments. The only ones convinced are those convinced already. Also, I do not discount the fact that some may benefit from cannabis for medical reasons when other medications have failed, although it doesn't take much to obtain a medical marijuana card in PA. There is good biblical support for liberty in drinking wine in moderation. That does not mean that all should partake of alcoholic beverages. Any contradiction is only apparent at best but not real.

Joeb's picture

I concur with Steve's position on recreational use of marijuana.  I'm open to medical use but I have not tried it yet.  I take two Percocets  and a muscle relaxant before bedtime to sleep through my back pain.  However Im hitting a wall with the opiates lately and  I don't want to use more.   My GP recommended medical marijuana.  So for me it's a pain management decision.  
Now with all the above said I do agree with Steve that Marijuana is a gateway drug for some people so is it worth taking a risk.  Marijuana today is not the marijuana used at Woodstock.  Marijuana today just like the heroin of today  both are much much more potent.  So even one use would put you past the drunk thresh hold I would think Biblically.  So I don't even know if Christian Liberty would apply.