National Post: Cannabis involved in Christ’s anointment?

Cannabis involved in Christ’s anointment?
Posted: April 22, 2010, 6:01 AM by Daniel Kaszor
Christian, Holy Post, Christ, Cannabis

By Shannon Kari

The use of cannabis as a sacrament dates back thousands of years, in many different religions and possibly even during the anointing of Jesus Christ, according to expert testimony in an ongoing criminal court proceeding in Toronto.

Psychoactive substances and the use in religious rituals was outlined by Boston University classics professor Carl Ruck, in testimony this week that was more history class than traditional evidence in a criminal trial.

“It was at the beginning of religious experience,” that cannabis and mushroom-like substances were first consumed as part of “mystical communion,” said Prof. Ruck.

He was testifying at the trial of two members of the Church of the Universe, Peter Styrsky and Shahrooz Kharaghani, who run the G13 Mission branch of the church in the Beaches section of Toronto. They are both charges of street-level marijuana trafficking.

They are asking Ontario Superior Court Justice Thea Herman to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the country’s marijuana laws violate their freedom of religion under the Charter of Rights.

Marijuana is a sacrament and its use brings about a “connection to God,” testified Mr. Styrsky earlier this month.

Judge Herman must decide whether the church, which advocates marijuana use, personal autonomy and an edict not to harm others, qualifies for religious protection under the Charter.

Federal prosecutor Nick Devlin has suggested in court that the Church of the Universe is an “inside joke” among people who like to smoke marijuana and not a religion.

Prof. Ruck was not called to testify about the legitimacy of the Church of the Universe, but instead provide historical context on the use of psychoactive substances in religious ceremonies.

Providing answers that were often detailed and lengthy, he explained, “I am a teacher. I am used to talking. I see that some of the students are leaving,” he joked, in reference to high school students in the public gallery of the courtroom as part of a law class field trip.

Visionary sacraments have been observed in rock paintings from North Africa that date back to 6000 BC, noted Prof. Ruck. The witness also testified about the Eleusinian Mystery initiation, first celebrated in a village near Athens in about 1500 BC.

“They drank a potion and believed they were entering the otherworld.” It was not until the last century that scholars discovered that a substance in the potion was likely similar to LSD. Even philosophers such as Socrates may have used cannabis, which was known as “smoke” by the Greeks, said Prof. Ruck in a written report filed with the court.

The court hearing is scheduled to resume on Thursday.

National Post
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[Photo: Professor Carl Ruck, centre, talks to members of the Church of the Universe outside the court house. Brett Gundlock / National Post]

Historically documented uses of cannabis in religious rituals

• archaeological evidence documents use of cannabis in a ritual ceremony as early as 2000 BC, in a sanctuary in east Turkmenistan

• an initiation ceremony known as the Eleusinian Mysteries, which began about 1500BC in ancient Greece, involved the use of psychoactive sacrament. A communal visionary event that was supposed to be a journey to the otherworld, stemmed from consumption of a sacred potion with an agent extracted from a fungus that was likely LSD.

• the use of cannabis by the Scythians as a ritual sacrament for funerals was documented in fifth century BC.

• the cult of Mithras was assimilated in the Greco-Roman world in first century BC. Groups of men met in confined subterranean sanctuaries and celebrated their God with a seven-fold sequence of psychoactive sacraments.

• Philo of Alexandria, who was born in 20BC, detailed a ceremony in the temple of Jerusalem where a Jewish High Priest would burn cannabis-like incense, in an enclosed space, so he could speak to Yahweh (God).

• while there were some psychoactive communion rites in early Christianity, they were condemned as heretical in the Church established by Paul. There is evidence that as late as the Renaissance, some elite in the Church reserved psychoactive Eucharist for themselves.

Source: Ontario Superior Court exhibit. Report of Professor Carl Ruck, Boston University.

The Book Of Exodus and Cannabis:

Marijuana proponents suggest that the recipe for the anointing oil passed from God to Moses included cannabis, or kaneh-bosm in Hebrew. They point to versions calling for fragrant cane, which they say was mistakenly changed to the plant calamus in the King James version of the Bible.

From Exodus 30:22-25:

22, Then the LORD said to Moses, 23 “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 24 500 shekels of cassia–all according to the sanctuary shekel–and a hint of olive oil. 25 Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.

Chris Bennett
Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett has been researching the historical role of cannabis in the spiritual life of humanity for more than a quarter of a century. He is co-author of Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion (1995); Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible (2001); and author of Cannabis and the Soma Solution (2010); and Liber 420: Cannabis, Magickal herbs and the Occult (2018) . He has also contributed chapters on the the historical role of cannabis in spiritual practices in books such as The Pot Book (2010), Entheogens and the Development of Culture (2013), Seeking the Sacred with Psychoactive Substances (2014), One Toke Closer to God (2017), Cannabis and Spirituality (2016) and Psychedelics Reimagined (1999). Bennett’s research has received international attention from the BBC , Guardian, Sunday Times, Washington Post, Vice and other media sources. He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



  1. Anonymous on

    religion is man-made. who gives a shit mythology

  2. Chris Bennett on

    Hey glad to see Dr. Apocalypse fans here as well, now you know my “secret” identity, LOL.

    For a good read check out…

    Watch out posting at this next one, someone there may be violating their privacy policy….

  3. Chris Bennett on

    “In this great future of ours, don’t forget the past” Bob Marley.

    Those who fail to acknowledge the past are destined to repeat it.

    Opium poppies are legal, and opium products are a widely used legal medicinal base. you might feel different about opium being a “blight” if you were in pain…..

    In regards to cannabis being considered sacrilegious, the drug war’s origins can be found in the concepts of the Catholic Church’s war against the “devil’s weed”.

    The Pope who launched the most vicious of the Catholic Church’s many campaigns against herb users was Pope Innocent VIII (1432-1492). In 1484 he issued a papal bull called “Summis desiderantes” which demanded severe punishments for magic and witchcraft, which at the time usually meant the use of medicinal and hallucinogenic herbs. Indeed, the papal bull specifically condemned the use of cannabis in worship instead of wine.

    The principles Pope Innocent VIII outlined became the basis for the terrifying and torturous witch-hunters’ handbook, the Malleus Maleficarum (1487).

    Further, Pope Innocent VIII was a major supporter of the vicious Inquisition, and in 1487 he appointed the infamous and sadistic Spanish friar Torquemada as Grand Inquisitor. Under Torquemada’s authority, thousands of traditional female healers, users of forbidden plants, Jews, and other “heretics” were viciously tortured and killed during the “witch-hunts” of the Spanish Inquisition. This reign of terror gripped Europe well into the 17th Century.

    Catholic Inquisitors tortured and killed many more in Central and South America, where peyote, ololiuqui and other sacred plants of the Aztec culture were prohibited as “works of the devil.”

  4. Anonymous on

    Yes Paul/ works from this end with normal pulse

  5. Anonymous on

    This is almost embarrassing to read. Of course Cannabis advocates would tout this proudly as an effort to prove Cannabis has been used for thousands of years… but everyone knows that. Opium has been used for thousands of years too, yet it has been a blight to humankind despite being “just a plant” and “one of god’s gifts”. This is a highly-inconclusive appeal to predominantly Catholic population as well; proving that Cannabis was used in Christ’s anointment is arbitrary. Nobody is arguing whether smoking pot is sacrilegious because they know it’s not.

    Get out of the past, we’re trying to concentrate on the FUTURE of Cannabis.

  6. Prophet-of-Ganja on

    yunggriffy has the best comment

  7. Pulling back the veil on

    The COU providing sacrament for donations is in no way different than the Catholic Church distributing wine as a placebo sacrament for donation. It should also be noted that the RC Church provides a alcoholic sacrament to minors.

    Access to sacramental cannabis, may raise the same issues as access to medicinal cannabis, and the COU providing sacrament for a donation is on par with med clubs supplying patients. Case closed.

  8. Chris Bennett on

    During Prohibition, the wine on Catholic as well as other church altars was real wine. The Eighteenth Amendment, forbidding the manufacture, sale, import or export of intoxicating liquors, was ratified by three quarters of the states January 16, 1919. The Volstead Act also passed in 1919 (over the veto of President Wilson), giving federal agents the power to investigate and prosecute violations of the amendment. But alcoholic beverages for medicinal and sacramental use were exempt under the Volstead Act, which allowed many people to avoid the spirit of the law.
    There were, of course, legitimate, medicinal purposes for whiskey. But doctors reportedly earned an estimated $40 million in 1928 by writing prescriptions for whiskey during Prohibition.”

  9. Anonymous on

    And the sacrament coincidently was proportional to the size of the donation????? The problem really is if the courts allow a church to use marijuana for spiritual purposes the law would again only apply to special interest? If marijuana and its procurement by mature consenting adults was not illegal any Church whose congregation of mature consenting adults would not be be breaking the law?

  10. Anonymous on

    I later realized that Chris might say that church collection cups might be seen a form of payment for the sacrament, but they never gave out enough wine to feel it anyway. If they gave people a whole cup of wine each then it would be trafficking in liquor. The brothers actually wanted people to get high.

  11. Anonymous on

    The word sacrament is a Catholic term, which shows that the US constitution was worded to favor the church during alcohol prohibition. The COU’s problem is that churches didn’t have the legal right to SELL wine during prohibition, just to use it in their ceremonies. The “brothers” were actively selling weed to anybody with the cash, as long as they joined the cult, even cops. That shows that they did no background check on members. Literally anyone could join and buy weed from them. There is no religious exemption for trafficking prohibited substances for cash. If they really believed it was a sacrament, why were they charging money for it? Did their god tell them selling weed was pleasing unto him, in addition to the brothers’ bankers?

  12. yunggriffy on

    like a mushroom ooooo touched for the very first time

  13. Chris Bennett on

    Allegro’s ‘jesus was a fly agaric mushroom theory’ is a non-flyer. It fails to take into account other references to Jesus’ life, such as the Gnostic texts. I see a historical figure along the lines of bar kochba, who was later glossed over with elements of solar god mythology.

    Prof. Carl Ruck wrote books with people like R. Gordon Wasson and Albert Hoffman and is one of the leading experts in the emerging study of ancient world entheogens, even being part of the group of scholars that came up with the term “entheogen”.

  14. Brian Kerr on

    “…that cannabis and mushroom-like substances…”

    First off Jesus never existed. The character of Jesus is just an anthropomorphism of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom and is a representative figure for the Sun. Not a person.

    “Mushroom like substances”. There is nothing *LIKE* about it.

    Time to dump the old Horus/Jesus myth as all religion is a total lie from the very beginning. Religion is nothing but a mind control tool used by governments and the churches, which walk hand in hand to fuck you over.