Cannabis and Judaism: The Leaves of Cannabis Make One Happy
Although Christmas may be over, Hanukkah is still being celebrated. We thought we’d look back and see how cannabis was used in the Jewish religion and traditions. It turns out these ancient people had the right idea about weed from the beginning!
Jewish tradition is thousands of years old and there are mentions of cannabis use in legal and civil documents like the Tanach, Talmud, and Shulchan Aruch, among others. In the Torah, a plant called kaneh bosem is referenced as part of the ritual offerings Moses is instructed to give God. It’s widely believed that kaneh bosem is none other than the cannabis plant. Other texts mention the growth of cannabis crops, as well as its uses such as Shabbat candle wicks and clothing, as its fibers were thought to resist spiritual impurities. Rambam, a Jewish philosopher and Torah scholar, believed cannabis was a potent medicine and it was used in ancient Israel as a pain reliever, even during childbirth.
Meanwhile in today’s modern age, Israel is a leader in cannabis research and medical breakthroughs. They’ve turned cannabis into a mega-industry for the country and diligently work to stay on the cutting edge of advanced technology. Jewish scientists have been working in cannabis research for more than 50 years and were the first ones to isolate, extract and synthesize the cannabinoids THC and CBD. And yes, there are kosher cannabis products!
There are fewer taboos against cannabis in Jewish tradition. Although Judaism never condones recreational intoxication from any source, the religion acknowledges there are no “bad” plants. All plants are kosher and therefore neutral. It’s how they’re used that matters. If one were to smoke cannabis as part of meditation or to increase connection to God, then it’s good. If it’s used to get wasted and you miss work and your morning prayer, then it’s bad.
We’re highly grateful to the Jewish people for their dedication to cannabis research which has led to many of the medicinal and recreational products we have today!
Leaves of cannabis make one happy.
— Rabbi ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra, chief rabbi of Cairo, 16th century.
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