What’s the meaning of life? Why are we here? Is there a god? Is a bong better than a blunt? These are the eternal questions of mankind. We recently looked to the major religions of the world for spiritual guidance in questions of getting high. Here’s what we found from each of the world’s six most popular belief systems…
Israel is actually one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to medical marijuana. Regulations on MMJ research are progressive and loose, even some ultra-orthodox rabbis are in favor of its use, and companies in the country are even looking to export legal cannabis to the US, according to CNN.
Ancient Judaism might have also been 420-friendly in the BC era. Some scholars believe that an herb prescribed by the old testament called “keneh bosem” was actually marijuana.
The First Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (the Jesus or Vince McMahon of their religion), didn’t dig weed too much. He considered ganja a distraction from perceiving god and truth in the world, and when he was offered bhang (an ancient cannabis extract elixir) he was like nah brah. “Awe of thee, O Lord God, is my bhang, and consciousness (of Thee) is my leather hemp pouch,” he said. “I have become as an intoxicated recluse.”
So, Guru Nanak was high on life (and truth and god, which are all the same thing), but not all Sikhs are lucky enough to get a free buzz. The Sikh-following army of the Nihang are said to have taken forms of cannabis for medicinal purposes and sukha, another drink containing cannabis, has been used in Sikh ceremonies.
Though getting blitzed out of your mind isn’t encouraged by any major religion, some practitioners of Hinduism consider using cannabis as a form of worship to the god Shiva. Those who follow Shiva sometimes smoke and offer cannabis to him in a ceremony called Trinath, which occurs during a birth, marriage, illness recovery, and other auspicious occasions.
Like any other religion, views differ on how awesome or evil weed can be. In Buddhism, there are the hard, medium, and soft views. The hard viewpoint is seen in the five precepts, fundamental teachings of the religion, which include an order to abstain from intoxicants.
Then there’s the medium view, as can be interpreted in comments from the current Dalai Lama, who’s kind of OK with the medical use of marijuana, but not as much with the recreational. “These kinds of substances are generally considered poison, very bad,” he told TIME. “But for particular illnesses, this is sometimes deliberately used. So that’s up to the doctor, or up to scientists. The ability to judge reality is something very unique. Our brain is something very special. So if that is damaged, that’s awful. So alcohol and drugs are very bad.”
Then you got the soft. That can be seen in the Buddhist offshoot Tara Tantra, which is down with a little bit of herbage if it helps you get to a good peaceful headspace.
In general, marijuana is considered to be haraam in Islam (that is, a forbidden intoxicant just like alcohol). But in cases where a marijuana might bring medical relief, it could be allowed (just like opioids would be). Since cannabis isn’t explicitly mentioned by the Quaran, whether or not it actually falls into the list of forbidden substances has been disputed pretty much since there was such a thing as haraam.
It’s not in the Ten Commandments, but just to stay on the safe side, confess your cheeba use to your padre. Then everyone’s happy.