Wellness advocates point out that spiritual wellbeing is crucial in the context of overall health. Anti-cannabis groups conveniently forget about the long and rich history of marijuana use. As well as being used as a medicine, a variety of ancient cultures also had spiritual reasons for consuming marijuana.
The Atharvaveda, a sacred Indian text likely written between 1200 BC and 1000 BC, lists weed as one of the ‘five holy plants.’ The Scythians, who lived in modern-day Eastern Europe, used marijuana at funerals to pay their respects to leaders who recently died. Indeed, Herodotus wrote about how they would throw seeds onto hot rocks and inhale the fumes!
Many ancient Chinese texts write about how marijuana ‘lightens’ an individual’s body, and enables them to communicate with spirits. Zoroaster, a Persian prophet, relied on bhanga’s intoxicating effects to communicate with spirits. Some researchers even believe that kaneh bosm was an ancient name for weed. You will find mentions of the plant in the Old Testament.
Even today, the use of marijuana is common in religious ceremonies. In Rastafarianism, using cannabis is one of the central tenets of the religion. Followers condemn the use of weed to get high and instead consume it at ceremonies to enhance feelings of unity. The herb can also help generate spiritual and soothing visions.
The list of cultures that use cannabis for these reasons, past and present, goes on and on. You can read more about it in the spiritual history of cannabis.