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Cannabis – Your Hell, My Heaven

Cannabis – Your Hell, My Heaven

Not that any of our readers are cannabis users (at least not local ones anyway, wink), but just in case . . . don’t you associate the drug with an elevated state of mind? It’s almost religious in nature, fostering creativity and connecting you with something larger than yourself, even if it’s just that 90% of the brain you don’t use every day. So while ganja may be thought of as spiritual, we don’t typically think of it as religious, and it clearly hasn’t been embraced by most of the world’s religions.

In fact, many religions – like Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism – consider it to be “off limits” just like alcohol (unless you’re Presbyterian, in which case, bring on the booze but not the illegal substances). One religion in general, though, has close ties with cannabis, incorporating it into their worship and traditions.

The earliest reports of cannabis as a sacred substance come from the Atharva Veda in India and Nepal. In it, cannabis is mentioned as one of the five sacred plants. The three types mentioned are bhang, which would be the leaves and plant tops made into a tea; ganja, the leaves and plant tops smoked; and hashish, the buds or extracted resin. Bhang is the most commonly used in Hindu tradition.

According to Hindu tradition, when the elixir of life (amrita) was produced from the churning of the ocean, the deity Shiva created cannabis from his own body to purify the elixir. Another legend suggests that the cannabis plant sprang up when a drop of the elixir touched the ground. Either way, cannabis is now believed to cleanse sins, unite a person with Shiva, and avoid misery in the afterlife.

So, there’s your history lesson for the day. One man’s vice is another man’s key to heaven. Do you have other knowledge of cannabis and its place in religious tradition? Share it with us!


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