Is Smoking Weed A Sin?

Marijuana, also called weed, has become mainstream. Efforts to legalize the sale of it for recreational purposes have been successful in many places. Legalizing the regulated medicinal use of the drug has been occurring since the 1990s in America. What many Christians want to know is if smoking marijuana is wrong.

Smoking marijuana for the sole purpose of altering one’s state of consciousness and losing self-control is sinful. Using the drug under the supervision of a doctor for medicinal purposes isn’t considered sinful according to many theologians and pastors. The Christian view of marijuana use is an ongoing debate.

Why has marijuana become such a popular topic in Christian churches and denominations? Why have some Christians changed their minds about marijuana use? Is smoking marijuana like drinking alcohol? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

Also see Is Getting Drunk A Sin? to learn more about the Bible’s teachings.

marijuana weed plant
Is smoking marijuana like drinking alcohol theologically? See below

Christians are divided when it comes to marijuana use

Christians don’t agree on whether it’s right or wrong for people to use marijuana. Some argue that it’s sinful in any context and that none, including believers, shouldn’t use it for medicinal or recreational purposes. Others argue that while losing self-control is wrong, there’s a way to use marijuana legally, responsibly, and righteously.

Why has marijuana become such a popular topic in Christian churches and denominations? Believers are increasingly discussing and debating marijuana use because of the successful momentum in society to legalize the drug for medicinal and recreational purposes.

When marijuana was illegal, many Christians used to argue that people shouldn’t use it for any purpose because the Bible teaches believers to obey civil authority. Yet, with the legalization of marijuana in many places, that argument is becoming less effective.

Why do some Christians believe smoking marijuana is always sinful? Some believers argue that every use of marijuana, whether medicinal or recreational, is wrong because it’s a bad witness. Marijuana is stereotypically associated with certain social groups, some of which have negative and ungodly reputations. Therefore, it’s wrong for Christians to be associated with it, according to this view.

Why have some Christians changed their minds about marijuana use? More Christians than ever are open to regulated marijuana use under the supervision of a doctor for medicinal purposes. They have been persuaded that there are health benefits to the drug for some people, such as those suffering from chronic pain and others who live with persistent and extreme experiences with nausea and vomiting.

Others respond that the pharmaceuticals that are conventionally used to treat many ailments that marijuana is purported to help are much more effective than marijuana. The form in which people should ingest marijuana is the subject of much debate among Christians because of the issue of self-control. The Bible commands Christians to be self-controlled.

“To prevent nausea and vomiting, smoking marijuana is about as effective as taking tablets made from a purified drug isolated from the plant. However, both were much less effective than conventional drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting.” ~ Donal O’MathĂșna [1]

Bible verses about self-control

  • Proverbs 25:28, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
  • Titus 1:8, “But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.”
  • Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
  • 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
  • 1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”

Also see Is It A Sin To Cuss? to learn more about the Bible’s teachings.

marijuana leaf
What Bible verses are commonly cited to oppose marijuana use? See below

Is smoking marijuana like drinking alcohol?

Some Christians are opposed to drinking alcohol under any circumstances. Yet most believe that the Bible teaches that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol with wisdom and not to be drunk is permissible. Some Christians who support the legalization of marijuana liken the using drug to drinking alcohol.

Well-known televangelist Pat Robertson shocked many conservative Christians when he advocated for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2010:

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol. I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

Robertson’s argument is that Christians should support marijuana use the same way they do drinking alcohol. In his view, like people can drink alcohol and not lose self-control (i.e. get drunk), they can also use marijuana without altering their state of consciousness. Is this a good argument?

How did Christians who disagree with Robertson respond to his argument? Some Christians responded to Robertson’s argument by noting that marijuana alters a person’s consciousness much faster than alcohol leads to drunkenness (depending on the drink). Unlike drinking alcohol, there isn’t a period of time before lose of self-control is lost, but it’s almost immediate.

Also see Is the Law of Attraction A Sin? to learn more about the Bible’s teachings.

Bible verses used to condemn marijuana use

Does the Bible mention marijuana? No. The Bible doesn’t specifically mention the drug. Those who believe using marijuana is biblically permissible as well as those who don’t, attempt to apply the principles found in Scripture to their argument. Those opposed to marijuana use commonly cite the verses below.

  • 1 Peter 4:7, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
  • Romans 13:13-14, “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
  • 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
  • Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”

Also see Is Oral Sex A Sin? to learn more about the Bible’s teachings.

[1] Source

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel's seminary degree is in Exegetical Theology. He was a pastor for 10 years. As a professor, he has taught Bible and theology courses at two Christian universities. Please see his About page for details.

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