A Gift From the Gods: Cannabis in Religion

Cannabis is present in many religions, both Eastern and Western. From ancient Greek to Rastafari movement, people saw cannabis as an important ritual plant. Some religions use cannabis for its healing purposes, some use it as a hallucinogenic that leads them to into spiritual world. All in all, herb is an important part of world culture. It’s always been and it always will be. 



In Hindu religion, cannabis is known to be the plant that Shiva made from his own blood in order to purify Amrita-the elixir of life.  This is why, during the festival of Holi, people in India and Nepal smoke marihuana. Even though it’s illegal in both countries, authorities, allow smoking during the Holi festival.


Ancient Germans

German tribes believed that their love goddess, Freya, lived in cannabis flowers. Ancient Germans believed that if they eat feminine cannabis flowers they would come under the protection of a divine force. They even went so far as to organize erotic high festival during the harvesting period of cannabis.


Africa had a lot of hemp cults and whole villages that worship hemp. In the late 19th century explorers found a village with large hemp plots. People of this village called themselves “Sons of hemp” and they had the same word for “life” and “hemp” – moio.

Ancient China

In ancient China medicine was connected to magic. Because of it’s properties, cannabis was thought to be a magical plant, and therefor it was used in medicine. The most notable use of cannabis in religious and magic rituals was by necromancers. 


When it comes to modern religions, the most commonly known religion with cannabis association is Rastafari movement.  They see cannabis as a sacred plant and believe that the Tree of Life is none other than cannabis. This is why, Rastas use cannabis in their sacred rituals and they recommend it’s regular use. 

As we can see, cannabis has its roots deep into world religion and culture. It’s been an important part of everyday life in the ancient times. We can note that there almost isn’t a  single culture that doesn’t attribute some healing purposes to this plant. Why do we struggle so much to make it legal again? Beats me.