According to evidence found in Ancient Mesopotamian documents, Assyrian Medical Tablets, and in the Bible itself, Jesus used cannabis-infused oil.

Comedians love to speculate that Jesus didn’t have magic powers, but rather he was a savvy magician in a period when a simple card trick must have looked like sorcery. Instead of magic tricks, though, studies show that Jesus likely used cannabis to perform some of his healing “miracles” according to research collected by Chris Bennett, who has been researching the influence of cannabis in religion and the occult for over 25 years. According to Bennett Jesus and his apostles used cannabis-infused “holy oil” to treat lesions, the pain of crippled limbs and swollen muscles, leprosy and the “Hand of Ghost,” which is likely to be what is known today as epilepsy. 

These theories stem from the inclusion of “kaneh-bosem” as an ingredient in Jesus and his disciples’ anointing oil. For a while, no one really paid attention to what this mystery ingredient was. But researchers have since found that kaneh-bosem is likely a reference to cannabis. 

It seems obvious in retrospect. Say “kaneh-bosem” quickly out loud (without the silent “m”), and it even sounds like cannabis. Even if you type “kanehbosem” (without the hyphen) into Google Translator as a Yiddish word, the English translation is “cannabis.”

“There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion,” Carl Ruck, a professor of classical mythology at Boston University, said to The Guardian. “Obviously the easy availability and long-established tradition of cannabis in early Judaism would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.” In other words, of course, Jesus (who was raised as Jewish) would have used Judaic practices in his healing ceremonies. “The names Christ and Messiah, mean The anointed and make reference to the Holy oil of Exodus 30:23,” Bennett tells HERB.

Evidence of the use of infused-oils can be found in the Bible itself: “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:13). Furthermore, According to Dr. Ethan Russo, Assyrian medical tablets in the Louvre collection translate to “So that god of man and man should be in good rapport, with hellebore, cannabis, and lupine you will rub him.”

Cannabis, if infused with oils, can be applied externally and absorbed into the skin. However, some cannabinoids like CBD—a non-psychoactive chemical that is increasingly used to treat ailments like chronic pain—are more easily absorbed through the skin than others, like THC. That being said, according to a study by Health Canada, THC can be transdermally absorbed, finding that 25mg/g oil resulted in a THC penetration of 33 percent. 

“The skin is the biggest organ of the body, so of course considerably more cannabis is needed to be effective this way, much more than when ingested or smoked. The people who used the Holy oil literally drenched themselves in it.” ~ Chris Bennett .

Chris Bennet, the author of Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible, who has perhaps done more than any other to advance this theory, believes that those anointed with Jesus’ oils were also experiencing cannabis’ psychoactive properties. “The surviving Gnostic descriptions of the effects of the anointing rite make it very clear that the holy oil had intense psychoactive properties that prepared the recipient for entrance into ‘unfading bliss.’” Bennet writes in his book.

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