There’s no shortage of famous people who love smoking weed. For starters, there are tons of pop culture celebs who love the green. Actors like Seth Rogen and Brad Pitt, comics like Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, musicians like Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and Willie Nelson, and many more are loud and proud about their use of ganja. And then there are also all the pro athletes who puff. For example, Michael Phelps took the world’s most famous bong rip. And tons of NBA and NFL players are becoming more open about the role cannabis plays in their lives and careers.
We could go on and on making lists of all the world’s famous tokers. But you get the idea. There are tons of them. Even if you listed out all the world’s most famous weed smokers, there’s one name that you’d probably miss. And it’s one of the most well-known names of all time. Jesus.
That’s right, Jesus himself may have been a big time fan of cannabis. But you probably haven’t heard about that side of his life. While it’s impossible to prove beyond all doubt that cannabis played a part in Jesus’s life, there are some pretty interesting clues. Here are nine pieces of evidence that suggest Jesus may have used weed.
A version of this article originally appeared on Green Rush Daily.
One of the first clues that Jesus could have used cannabis is the simple fact that humans have pretty much always used weed. When researchers found the tomb of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, they discovered his mummy buried with particles of kief. At a different site, scientists found another mummy buried with almost two pounds of herb. In Romania, there’s evidence of pot smoking that goes back as far as 5,000 years ago.
The point is, weed and humans go way back. People have always used cannabis. All of this means that the world into which Jesus was born would have definitely known about weed. There’s no reason to think that Jesus lived before people started using cannabis. If Ramses II used weed, and if Pakistani shamans puffed thousands of years ago, then it’s not too hard to imagine Israelites smoking marijuana during Jesus’s lifetime.
Along with the historical precedent for Jesus’s use of cannabis, there’s also religious precedent. For example, there are sacred Hindu texts that go back as far as 1400 B.C.E. that talk about cannabis as a sacred plant. And certain rituals and religious celebrations include the use of cannabis in various forms.
There are also some arguments that ancient Judaism may have involved the use of marijuana. In particular, some scholars claim that cannabis was used to make holy anointing oil. And tons of other spiritual traditions use cannabis and other mind-altering substances. For many of them, this helps people tap into new mindsets and spiritual planes.
In fact, there’s a term for this. “Entheogen.” That word describes any substance that induces spiritual experiences. The point is that cannabis has long been used in spiritual practices. And that could very well have included some of the traditions Jesus was a part of.
According to a handful of scholars, cannabis may have played a key role in ancient Judaism. In particular, the plant may have been used to make holy anointing oil. In Exodus 30:22-36, God gives the ancient Israelites directions for making this holy oil.
Biblical scholars have easily identified most of the ingredients. But there’s one that has been a little controversial. These verses mention the use of something called “kaneh-bosm.” And while a lot of scholars have concluded that this term describes a plant called calamus, others think it could actually be cannabis.
Scholar Sula Benet was the first to come up with this translation. Here’s what she said about it: "In the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament, there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant.”
Since Benet, there have been a handful of other scholars who have agreed. If these researchers are correct, then ancient Jews regularly used cannabis to make sacred anointing oil. And that’s precisely the context in which Jesus grew up.
This next clue builds directly off the last one.
Later on in his life, Jesus was known as Jesus Christ. And although it’s easy to assume that Christ was his last name, it’s actually a religious title. Christ means “the anointed one.” As in, anointed or blessed with sacred anointing oil.
So let’s connect the dots.
If ancient Jews were using cannabis oil in their religious rites, and if Jesus was given the title of “anointed one,” then it’s likely that Jesus was anointed with cannabis oil. That could have been his first serious interaction with weed. And that would also mean that Jesus was immersed in a culture where spirituality and cannabis were closely linked.
It all comes down to that pesky word “kaneh-bosm.” If Benet is right, and it means cannabis, then it seems very probable that Jesus was familiar with sacred weed oil.