Was Jesus a Pothead? A look at the Holy Ointment
Jesus might not fit the modern definition of a „stoner“ - but there is evidence that he harnessed the medicinal power of cannabis. The holy anointing oil that Jesus was described to have made and used contains a suspicious ingredient originally called „kahneh-bosem“. The original Hebrew recipe found in Exodus (30:22-23) describes the holy oil containing 6 pounds of this herb - anthropologists, botanists, linguists and etymologists agree kaneh-bosem is cannabis. It certainly seems like the holy oil was a mixture of cannabis with other fragrant herbs.
The term „Christ“ itself is a translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah”, which mean the “anointed one”. This would suggest that Jesus was himself anointed in cannabis. It is well known that cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin, although not as quick and efficient as ingestion or smoking.
A part of everyday life
We‘re now looking at the last twitches of prohibition, but it is important to remember that cannabis was only demonised and made illegal within the last one-hundred years. Before that hemp and cannabis were a common crop and its products part of everyday life. They were essential to many trades, and the plethora of uses the plant has, not just for medicinal purposes, made it highly prized.
Carl Ruck, a professor of mythology at Boston University has been studying psychoactive substances for over three decades. He describes that there is little doubt that cannabis was a large part of everyday life back in Jesus‘ time, and played a role in Judaic religion.
Nowadays we have a better understanding of the chemical properties that cannabis exhibits and triggers, but it doesn‘t take much scientific understanding to understand the power of the plant. It is no wonder that for centuries the entheogenic effects of cannabis were highly respected and revered.
True religion has always had an intimate relationship with psychoactive and psychedelic substances at its core, cannabis being no exception. Wether the soma of the vedas, ayahuasca in South American spirituality or cannabis for Israelites - entheogens continue to play a valuable role in the quest to explore the true nature of the mind and world.
This oil was administered to treat all kinds of illnesses. A good example is that of epilepsy, which at the time was thought to be a result of demonic possession. Jesus and his followers would use the oil to cleanse the demon, when really they were helping treat the illness – an illness that studies have found to be greatly affected and controlled by the cannabinoids within cannabis.
Many other ailments were also treated using the oil. Even after Jesus’s death, James suggests that any Christian who falls ill should be anointed with the holy oil in the name of Jesus (James 5:14).
It is difficult to say how high people got from the oil without reproducing the experience. But, as mentioned, cannabinoids are absorbed through the skin, which means that although the oil was primarily used for its healing purposes, the anointed most likely got pretty high. Wether achieving altered states of mind were a primary purpose of the oil is left unanswered.
As knowledge of healing using cannabis, and Jesus’s message spread throughout the world, those who follow him have adopted the name “Christians”. Christian itself is a plural of Christ, meaning those who have been anointed with the holy oil. By being anointed with this cannabis laced oil, followers receive “knowledge of all things” by the anointment of the Holy One (1 John 2:20). Does this mean that Christianity itself is built on the psychoactive and healing powers of cannabis?
Cannabis as a medicine is undergoing a revival today. Leading the way is Rick Simpson, whose oil has been treating forms of terminal cancers and other life-threatening illnesses. The difference now is that it is science at the helm, leading the way back to cannabis use for medicinal purposes. But was Jesus a pothead? Well, only you can be the judge of that.