The incense used by Jesus in ceremonies also contained a cannabis extract, suggests Mr Bennett, who quotes scholars to back his claims. “There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” Carl Ruck, professor of classical mythology at Boston University said. Referring to the existence of cannabis in anointing oils used in ceremonies, he added: “Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of cannabis in early Judaism would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.”
Mr Bennett suggests those anointed with the oils used by Jesus were “literally drenched in this potent Cannabis mixture …. Although most modern people choose to smoke or eat pot, when its active ingredients are transferred into an oil-based carrier, it can also be absorbed through the skin”.
Quoting the New Testament, Mr Bennett argues that Jesus anointed his disciples with the oil and encouraged them to do the same with other followers. This could have been responsible for healing eye and skin diseases referred to in the Gospels. “If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient anointing oil and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christian,” Mr Bennett concludes.
“According to some scholars, cannabis was an ingredient of holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts. The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (קְנֵה-בֹשֶׂם) (the singular form of which would be kaneh-bos) which is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple.
The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’, with the root kan meaning “reed” or hemp and bosm meaning “fragrant”.
Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds. Rabbinical scholars appear to be divided on the subject; some reject the cannabis hypothesis and others affirm it.” (Source: Wikipedia – Religious and spiritual use of cannabis)
Cannabis vs. calamus:
Debate over the translation of kaneh-bosem
Sara Benetowa discovered that the Kaneh-Bosm or Cannabis is mentioned 5 times in the Old Testament. The first occurrence appears in the Holy Anointing Oil as Calamus, (Exodus 30:23). Sara argued that the translation of Calamus was a mistranslation which occurred in the oldest Bible the “Septuagint” and the mistranslation was copied in later versions.”
“If you actually buy the Calamus translation for the Holy Oil, then you assume that God specified in Exodus 30:23 a drug commonly known as herbal Ecstasy. Calamus contains an ingredient called asarone. This is a hallucinogen which is metabolized in the liver as trimethoxyamphetamine which is known as herbal ecstasy. The Middle Eastern version of this plant is far more toxic than its North American Cousin. This is deadly to flies and other insects.
The Exodus 30:23 reference refers to sweet Calamus. If you look at this in the Strong’s concordance where they spell this as qaneh rather than kaneh, they pronounce this as Kaw-Naw, a reed, calamus, and cane are listed as possible translations. The term sweet used in Exodus 30:23 in Hebrew is Bosem. According to the Webster’s New World Hebrew Dictionary, Bosem is perfume; scent. The Concordance: the Hebrew is Bosem #1314, fragrance, by impl. spicery; also the balsam plant:—-smell, spice, sweet (odour).
In some Bibles sweet calamus is translated as aromatic or fragrant Cane. It is where the bosem is fused to the word kaneh or qaneh that the cannabis translation becomes apparent. So then to pronounce this we have kaw-naw-bosem, and is spelled in English qaneh-bosem or kaneh-bosem.
In 1936, Sara Benetowa, later Known as Sula Benet, an etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences, in Warsaw wrote a treatise, “Tracing One Word Through Different Languages”. This was a study on the word Cannabis, based on a study of the oldest Hebrew texts. Although the word cannabis was thought to be of Scythian origin, Benet’s research showed it had an earlier root in the Semitic Languages such as Hebrew. Benet demonstrated that the ancient Hebrew word for Cannabis is Kaneh-Bosem.
She also did another study called Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp. On page 44, she states, “The sacred character of hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:23, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all of its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp.”
On page 41 Sula Benet writes, “In the course of time, the two words kaneh and bosem were fused into one, kanabos or kannabus know to us from the Mishna”. According to the Webster’s New World Hebrew Dictionary, page 607 the Hebrew word for hemp is kanabos.
From “Thinking Baptists”
In 1980, a wave of interest in Benet’s work prompted numerous etymologists to agree with Benet’s reinterpretation of the word qaneh-bosm in Exodus. That year, scholars at Jerusalem Hebrew University confirmed her work, noting that the qaneh-bosm was mistranslated in the King James version of Exodus 30:23 as calamus (Latimer, 1988). That same year, Weston La Barre also confirmed Benet’s work, noting further that “the term kaneh-bosm occurs as early as both the Aramaic and the Hebrew versions of the Old Testament, hemp being used for rope in Solomon’s temple and in priestly robes, as well as carried in Biblical caravans”.
A recent archeological expedition to Israel uncovered scrolls that appear to depict the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. On one of the scrolls is a sketch that shows a man, thought to be Jesus, smoking from a pipe. Below the drawing is the Hebrew word “kineboisin”, which translates to cannabis.
Dr. Isaac Cohen, president of the South Israel Archaeological Society, believes that this is an extremely significant discovery for the theological community. He described the discovery as “a finding that could change the way many perceive the world.” Cannabis is known to have been smoked thousands of years before Jesus’ time, but this is the first evidence to show that Jesus himself may have used the plant.
Not only could this mean that Christian fundamentalist may ease up on their firm stance against the use of marijuana, but they may actually begin to promote its use for an enhanced religious experience. It is the Christian belief that Christ’s followers should emulate him. If Jesus smoked weed, then why shouldn’t everyone else? [Editor's note: Normally we like to reference the original study, we are still looking for it.]
Exodus 30, verses 22 – 30
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 hin 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. . . .
Converted into today’s measurements:
liquid myrrh 500 shekels 5.75 kg (12.68 lbs)
cassia 500 shekels 5.75 kg (12.68 lbs)
cinnamon leaf 250 shekels 2.875 kg (6.34 lbs)
cannabis flowers 250 shekels 2.875 kg (6.34 lbs)
olive oil 1 hin 6.5 liters (1.72 gallons)
In the traditional method, all of these ingredients would have been mixed with water and then boiled until all the water evaporated. The oil was then strained and ready for use.
How to make the Holy Anointing Oil - by Reverend Tom Brown:
This is the recipe I have used. It is not exactly the same recipe that is listed in Exodus, it has only one ounce of marijuana instead of fifteen ounces. However, this recipe has been used on human beings and used with prayer, worked to relieve pain. I have used this on a man suffering from Aids, another man with severe upper back pain from a pinched nerve, on a woman with severe lower back pain associated with her monthlys, on a man suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and on myself for various pains and abrasions.
1 pint Organic Sesame Seed oil
1 pint Organic Olive Oil
.06 oz Cinnamon bark oil (Cassia) (1 eighth of a .5 oz bottle)
.06 oz Cinnamon leaf oil (1 eighth of a .5 oz bottle)
1 oz of Myrrh Gum
1 oz of Marijuana
This produces an oil that is much less powerful then the original recipe as 2 pints of oil, or one quart of oil, in the original recipe would have 15 ounces of marijuana flowers, not the 1 ounce I have used. All these ingredients except for the marijuana are available at the most local health food stores.
You need a cooking pot and a Pyrex 4 cup measuring cup. Use a cooking pot with a liner/separator so that the container you cook the oil in is lifted off the bottom of the cooking pot. You need a candy thermometer that will clip onto the side of the pot. You need enough Canola oil to use as the heat transfer medium in the cooking pot.
- Place the pint of Sesame Seed oil in the container with the shredded Marijuana and the Myrrh Gum.
- Place the jar into the cooking pot, on top of the liner/separator.
- Place the Canola oil into the cooking pot up to within 3 inches of the top of the pot – or to the same level of the Sesame Seed oil in the jar – whichever is less.
- Wrap Aluminum foil around the cooking pot lip and crumple it so that the space between the cooking pot and the jar is covered with the foil. This helps cut down on oil fumes and reduces fire hazard from the hot oil. Use an electric stove or hotplate – never use any kind of open flame for this cooking.
- Place the candy thermometer thru the foil and clip it onto the side of the cooking pot so that the sensing tip is immersed in the Canola oil. The Canola oil transfers heat from the stove to the jar at higher temperatures then boiling water at 212 degrees. You want to cook the oil for one hour at 300 degrees. This extracts the active ingredients from the Marijuana and dissolves the Myrrh gum into the oil.
- Remove from the heat and allow it to cool. The glass container is very fragile; do not mess with it until it cools to skin temperature or it will break and you will lose that lot of oil.
- Strain the oil / herb mixture thru a cloth and discard the solids.
- Add the Olive oil, Cinnamon Bark (Cassia) oil and the Cinnamon leaf oil to the cooked Anointing Oil and bottle. Store the Anointing Oil in the refrigerator in a dark colored bottle. Decant into smaller jars for use.