As Christians, we know that the Bible says that drunkenness is a sin, but what about getting high on marijuana? You might think it’s a sin but many Christians are thinking otherwise. The bible does not mention many drugs as being a sin including heroine, nicotine and especially marijuana. However, a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that young Christians thought that marijuana use was morally acceptable.
What is marijuana?
Marijuana is a dangerous and habit-forming psychoactive substance that causes harm in communities across the world. People use marijuana for the effects of its main chemical ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC creates a high that results in relaxation, heightened senses, paranoia, and tiredness.
If you or a loved one needs treatment for a marijuana addiction, please reach out. To learn more about marijuana treatment please click here.
Do Christians view smoking weed as a sin?
The PRRI survey showed that half of young adult Christians (18-29) think that marijuana should be legal. How did these young Christian adults reach this conclusion? Perhaps these young people believe that because marijuana is not mentioned in the Bible, it is not morally wrong. If you take that into consideration, then that means that the use of other types of illegal drugs are not a sin. Russell Moore, the president-elect of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said that getting high on marijuana is similar to getting drunk, which a sin. He referred to Ephesians 5:18, which states “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
What does the bible say about sobriety?
Perhaps these young people are looking for a loophole to allow marijuana to be morally correct. However, if they choose not to consider marijuana a sin as alcohol and drunkenness is, then they should look into 1 Peter 5:8. – “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Anything that clouds your mind, like marijuana, clouds your path toward God.
Data from Pew Research and others suggests that views on marijuana in the US are changing. Over the last 10 years the percent of American adults opposed to legalizing marijuana in some capacity has fallen from 52% to 32%. (Pew Research, 1) There are a number of possible reasons for this including the prevalence of CBD products and increased marketing efforts around marijuana and CBD.
With its increasing commercialization though, more and more people find themselves considering using marijuana with it often times being touted as a panacea in the media. But, despite the warnings of teen drug seminars, is marijuana really addictive and is it morally acceptable for Christians to use marijuana?
2 Perspectives – The Same Conclusion
Marijuana’s Effects on The Body
The effects of marijuana are still a topic of research and discussion. However, there is strong evidence showing that this substance can have a dangerous effect on teen brains. There are now several studies indicating an association between the use of marijuana and increased risk of psychosis and schizophrenia. In fact, one study indicates that regular marijuana use can double a teen’s chances of developing psychosis. (Havard, 2)
An additional consideration is the increased potency of marijuana. An over 300% increase in THC levels has been recorded between 2008 and 2017 according to the findings from the University of Mississippi supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (NPR, 3). This increase can in potency can be dangerous, causing hospitalizations due to complications including psychosis, panic-attacks, or cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome which leads to bouts of intense vomiting. (NPR, 4)
Marijuana is also still considered to be a “gateway” drug. While the adage “correlation does not prove causation” comes to mind here, there are many studies indicating that teens who use marijuana have higher rates of other detrimental activities including the use of other drugs like heroin. There is also a growing body of research around cross-sensitization which suggests that brains introduced to drugs at an early age can be primed to be more responsive to drugs later in life. (DrugAbuse.gov, 5)
If you suspect your teen is using marijuana, see our fact sheet and seek the help of a treatment professional.
What Religious Leaders Say on this Topic
For some, legalizing weed has caused them pause. Without legal repercussions in their state, many are now struggling to understand if smoking weed is a sin. While the Bible does not address weed, cannabis, marijuana – whatever you want to call it – directly, there are passages that advocate against the use of any mind-altering substances:
So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. – 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
…I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God… – Romans 12
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
We can interpret these scriptures to mean that people of faith should not allow their judgement to be clouded by distractions like drugs and alcohol. As part of a religious community, Christians are urged to focus on the present rather than seeking to avoid or ignore the struggles that their community is facing.
Religious leaders have weighed in, offering the Christian perspective on marijuana, not citing biblical texts but drawing on their own experiences. Dan Trippie, a pastor at Restoration Church, wrote the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), stating that:
“Marijuana ‘makes the user feel as though he has entered a new reality…People who are numb tend not to notice the injustice around them. … When our heads are buried in the sand (or floating in the clouds), it is easy to close our eyes to the ills of our communities. …’
‘As Christians, we should be those who think through these issues seriously, with the good of our neighbors in mind — and then advocate for the flourishing of our communities.’”
Trippie and other religious leaders like Russell Moore share concerns that the legalization of marijuana, and the subsequent increased prevalence, will lead to isolation and a loss of community. This is particularly troublesome as isolation is known to feed addiction. At Lakeview Health, we see one of the benefits of residential treatment as drawing patients out of their shells and facilitating community building. Christians know the benefits of their church and the sense of community that it provides, it’s simply not worth losing this.
The Bottom Line
Despite becoming commercialized, marijuana still has the potential to cause both physical and spiritual harm. If you or someone close to you is struggling with marijuana use, reach out to Lakeview Health today. We offer the highest quality medical care to heal the body and Christian-based programming to restore patients’ faith. Addiction is not a sin, but a disease and we have over 20 years of experience in empowering profound recovery.