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CHRIST & CANNABIS

Each December 25th, people around the world celebrate the beloved holiday of Christmas — commemorating the birth of the Christian savior Jesus (despite the fact that nearly all scholars agree that he was almost certainly not born in December …but that’s another story). So this month, I thought it might be fun to explore the possible historical relationship between marijuana and the messiah.




THE ANOINTED ONE

Though commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, it’s well established that his actual name was Yeshua (Jesus was the Greek translation) and that Christ was not his last name; Jews at that time didn’t really have surnames – they simply used their father’s name or land of birth as a last name (in his case, Jesus son of Joseph or Jesus of Nazareth). Christ was, in fact, not a name, but a title bestowed upon him – either by his disciples, or possibly even after his death. Derived from the Greek word christos meaning “anointed,” the title “Christ” literally translates as “the anointed one” or “the anointer.”


In its practical sense, the term “anoint” means simply “to smear or rub with oil or liquid.” But in its religious, Biblical context, it also means to consecrate or “make holy” someone or something through ritual. According to scripture, anointing was something that was done to Jesus, that Jesus did to others (particularly when healing the sick), and that Jesus encouraged his followers to do to themselves and others. Believe it or not, this practice – like many of Jesus’ activities – was considered radical and perhaps even heretical at that time, since God’s law expressly forbade the anointing of laypeople. Until then, only Hebraic priests and monarchs were allowed to be anointed.


In Bible Myths and their Parallels in Other Religions (1882), author TW Doane notes:


“[The practice of anointing] was common among the kings of Israel. It was the sign and symbol of royalty. The word ‘Messiah’ signifies the ‘Anointed One,’ and none of the kings of Israel were styled the Messiah unless anointed.”

The reason that the practice of anointing commoners was taboo, and that it was reserved only for high priests and kings, is because it was believed that the Holy Anointing Oil would actually imbue the person being anointed with the Holy Spirit — enabling them to receive divine revelations and “understand the truth of God.”


HOLY ANOINTING OIL

So what exactly was in this sacred anointing oil (also known in some sects as the chrism, which bears an obvious resemblance to “Christ”) that enabled one to communicate with God? Well, it so happens that God himself dictated the exact recipe for this Holy Anointing Oil (as well as who was and wasn’t allowed to use it) when he appeared to Moses during that whole “burning bush” episode:


“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of q’aneh-bosm, 500 shekels of cassia … and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend ... Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on anyone else’s body, and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred.’” (Exodus 30:22-33)

Now, we all know what myrrh and cinnamon are, and cassia is a tree bark very similar to cinnamon … but what the heck is qíaneh-bosm (or kaneh bosm), you may ask? Most historians have claimed that kaneh bosm refers to the root of the Acorus calamus plant (commonly known as calamus or ‘Sweet Flag’), which has been used as an herbal remedy for gastrointestinal ailments for millennia. But as I mentioned in my earlier column, “Kosher Kush: The History of Jews and Cannabis,” some scholars believe that kaneh bosm was, in fact, cannabis.


It was Polish etymologist Dr. Sula Benet who first argued that the Aramaic term kaneh bosm might refer to cannabis rather than calamus. In 1936, while lecturing in Warsaw, Benet claimed that, after deep comparative etymological studies, she was convinced that the term had been mistranslated during the third century AD when the Old Testament was first translated from Hebrew into Greek (The Septuagint). She explained that the root “kan” actually translated to “hemp,” and bos meant “aromatic.” And since the “m” represents a pluralization, the singular would be kanehbos…which obviously sounds remarkably similar to cannabis. Dr. Benet’s assertion was later backed up by anthropologist Weston La Barre in 1980 and again over the past few decades by renowned scholar of cannabis and religion Chris Bennett.


Beyond mere linguistics, though, it’s also been pointed out that the amount of calamus outlined in the formula – 250 shekels, or roughly six pounds – infused into around a gallon and a half of olive oil would be highly toxic to humans. Six pounds of cannabis, however, would not be – and in fact, could produce quite a potent psychotropic effect … perhaps even allowing one to “see God,” so to speak.


“The skin is the biggest organ of the body, so of course, considerably more cannabis is needed to be effective this way … much more than when ingested or smoked,” Bennet told Herb magazine in 2019. “The people who used the Holy Oil literally drenched themselves in it.”


BAPTISM OR CHRISM?

This “revelation” also shines a new light on the significance of Jesus’ baptism – arguably the most consequential and transformative event in his life besides his crucifixion. In fact, it is Jesus’ encounter with John the Baptist where the gospels of Mark and John essentially begin:


“It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him. And there came a voice from Heaven, saying, ‘Thou Art My Beloved Son, In Whom I Am Well Pleased.’ And immediately, the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto Him.” (Mark 1: 9-13)

So, it was during his baptism around the age of 30 that Jesus first heard the voice of God. And immediately thereafter, the Holy Spirit sent him out alone into the desert to fast for 40 days, where he was thrice visited by Satan. That sounds an awful lot like a shamanic vision quest – which, in Native/Pagan traditions, typically involved ingesting some form of entheogen.


Which begs the question: What if it wasn’t just water that Jesus was baptized with? What if John also anointed him in Holy Oil as part of the baptism ritual? The Gnostic Gospels – a collection of texts written by early Christian mystics believed to predate the New Testament gospels – suggest that may be precisely what happened. In the book Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism, author Kurt Rudolph writes, “Anointing with oil has a greater representation than baptism in Gnosis, and in some texts, it is even regarded as more significant. In general, however, it is taken closely with the baptismal ceremony – the anointing taking place either before or after the baptism.”


One of the Gnostic scriptures, the Gospel of Philip, even states explicitly that it is anointing, not baptism, that makes one a Christian.


“The anointing (chrism) is superior to baptism. For from the anointing, we were called ‘anointed ones’ (Christians), not because of the baptism. And Christ also was [so] named because of the anointing, for the Father anointed the son, and the son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us. [Therefore] he who has been anointed has the All. He has the resurrection, the light. . . the Holy Spirit. . . [If] one receives this unction, this person is no longer a Christian but a Christ.”

Indeed, it’s only after his baptism (a.k.a. anointing?) that Jesus begins his ministry, performs “miracles,” and is eventually referred to as “Christ.”



HEALING OF THE SICK

If the Holy Anointing Oil that Jesus used on himself and others was indeed a form of cannabis oil, it would certainly lend a level of scientific credibility to some of the visions he reportedly had, as well as the supposed miracles he performed. Among the many ailments Jesus is said to have healed – often simply by laying his hands upon the afflicted – include leprosy, lesions, swollen muscles, blindness, and demonic possession:


“News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)

“And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:13)

A potent cannabis oil applied to the skin would serve as a powerful topical medicine – allowing the body to absorb large amounts of CBD, as well as THC and other cannabinoids transdermally. Research has shown that cannabinoids have significant analgesic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and have been proven effective in treating many ailments similar to those Jesus supposedly healed – including muscle pain, anxiety, and glaucoma, as well as skin conditions including dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and pruritus (which bear many similarities to leprosy). What’s more, anyone who’s seen Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed” special with Charlotte Figi on CNN knows how instantaneously and “miraculously” CBD oil can halt the seizures and shaking associated with conditions like epilepsy, rheumatism and multiple sclerosis – which, in Biblical times, might easily be mistaken for demonic possession.

MARIJUANA MESSIAH?

Did cannabis-infused anointing oil play a role in Jesus’ supposed divinity? Could it be that what early Christians perceived as possession by the Holy Spirit was actually just being really, really high? Like most tales in the Bible, we may never be able to prove these theories definitively, one way or the other. If they are true, however, that would technically make Jesus one of the very first pro-pot activists. How’s that for a conversation starter at Christmas dinner!


“If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil, and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians,” Bennet postulates, “then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ.”


Or, in other words, a Christian should never be stoned for getting stoned.

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This is the of marijuana freedom fighter the one and only Rev Bud Green. I have been leading the way for the legalization of the holy herb known as marijuana since the dark days of the Ronnie Raygun, administration and his wife Nancy' s bogus war on drugs. I am now the star of a new Reality TV show being produced by the creators of the Jerry Springer show and the hit tv show Cheaters. The show is about my current campaign for president against dementia joe biden, the traitor and child rapist Donald Trump and my brain was eaten by a worm RFK jr.

Here is a clip of me from TV when I ran a very limited campaign…

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