Since Colorado legalized Marijuana, I have had the question raised a number of times, how we as Christians ought to think about using or abstaining from it. As with most things we need to be wary of the dangers on each side of the argument. All too often Christians want to easily categorize something of this nature as intrinsically bad and then proceed to catalog it in the book of bad things we never think about. On the other hand, many people argue that since God made pot He intends for us to, like, use it, right man?!
We must think biblically when faced with a substance like this that is only growing in its popularity. I think it is erroneous to categorize the plant itself as icky, bad, wrong. On the other hand, the argument that God made it is true enough; however, we also need to recognize that God made a lot of things and we are responsible to use them wisely, for His glory and our good. Just because God made rocks doesn’t mean he intends us to chew and swallow them. Just because there is a plant, doesn’t mean we’re supposed to get a high from it. Just because we have sexual organs, doesn’t mean that we are to use them indiscriminately.
In essence, as Christians, we must view this earth and all that is in it as means to the end of glorifying God. Many Christians want to be very gnostic/mystic in their treatment of material things, and they think that spiritual things are more important than material things. If we do this, we begin to drift into a dangerous thought process that leaves us treating God’s good gifts as if they are bad. The issue is not the gifts, it is our wicked hearts in using those gifts.
So, should a Christian feel at liberty to use marijuana if their state has legalized it? Follow me here…it is not a sin to use marijuana, but it is sinful to use marijuana for a purpose contrary to God’s commands. It then follows that we need to search God’s word for how we should rightly use something like this.
We are told numerous times by Scripture (1 Thes. 5:6,8, Tit. 2:2,4,6, 1 Pt. 1:13, 5:8) to “be sober and vigilant.” We are also told to abstain from drunkenness (Luk 21:34, Rom,13:13, Gal. 5:21), which is any form of intoxication to the point of inhibited mental and physical function. In light of that command, we need to look at affects of pot on the body. Marijuana almost immediately affects the body with a slowed reaction time, dizziness, increased appetite, short-term forgetfulness, a distorted sense of time, random thinking, etc. The reason people use marijuana recreationally is for the purpose of getting a synthetic happiness, a manufactured relaxation, and a sense of detachment from reality. All these affects should cue us in to the fact that using marijuana in this manner (i.e. to get high) is absolutely out of the question for a Christian. It is rather difficult to be sober and vigilant spiritually or physically when your body is inhibited by THC in your bloodstream and you’re detached from reality, with slow reaction times, with random thoughts, and all this lasting 3-4 hours (with a higher potential for a heart attack).
This is irresponsible and shows a lack a love to God and to our neighbor. To God because I am willingly inhibiting myself from thinking clearly and sanely; and to my neighbor because if someone had need around me I am not going to be much of a help until 3-4 hours later when the high has faded. And even after that, I still will have to deal with the let-down of coming off the drug and the withdrawal affects which include cravings, irritability, sleeplessness, and memory impairment. All this should make it clear to us that the way the majority of people are using marijuana is in stark contrast to God’s clear command to remain “sober and vigilant.”
However, taking all this in consideration, we should also notice that studies are showing that Cannabis may actually help treat, slow, or alleviate certain symptoms of some diseases (Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s). Now, this does not give us a green light to mindlessly and carelessly begin writing prescriptions for anyone and everyone. Notice that the most vocal advocates of legalizing pot are a bunch of college students and washed-up hippies. It would be far more prudent for us as a culture to commission doctors, medical specialists, and scientists to research and then develop this plant into safe medicines for their patients.
In summary, God made this world good, but mankind has sinfully used this good world in bad ways. As in all things God and His Word need to be the authority and wisdom for us in regards to how we use the resources He has supplied us with. Sunshine is a blessing from God, but too much can be harmful; and the same goes for water, grain, fruits, vegetables, etc. Thus, we need to be unafraid of using the resources God has given us, but we need to use them in accordance and in obedience to His Word. I think it very likely that we have yet to discover 1/1000th of all the ways in which not only cannabis, but blueberries, palm trees, granite, shale, phosphorus dinoflagellates, and everything else in all creation is intended to be used by man for God’s glory and man’s good.