Is Smoking Weed Degenerate? (Opinion)

I’ve seen a lot of people express their distaste for those that consume cannabis, and drugs in general. While personally I do think that hard drugs such as heroin and crystal meth are indeed degenerate (I mean, they’ll kill you!), I can’t exactly say the same for cannabis.

I noticed that many of the people that advocate against cannabis use are religious fanatics, aka pietists. For example, the typical pietist response to assertions such as “God created marijuana so why shouldn’t we enjoy it” is something along the lines of “God also created poison ivy, but you don’t smoke that do you”, completely ignoring the fact that poison ivy has absolutely zero medicinal use cases whatsoever. The author of that linked article said about themself “Before I became a Christian I was a pothead. It was my idol”. As any type of Christian knows, idolizing anything other than God is in itself a sin. But how realistic is it that people “idolize” marijuana?

They do mention artists such as Wiz Khalifa including lyrics in their songs referencing the plant, but that’s just because it’s believed to make the songs sound more “badass” in their own way (and literally anything on Earth can be used in both “good” and “evil” contexts, ex. with water you can grow a beautiful flower garden but you can also use it to kill someone via Chinese water torture).

And that’s not even the case with all songs that reference it; Bob Marley called it “the healing of the nations” which, if it were universally legalized, would most likely be true. But in almost all cases, these people have much more in their life than just marijuana. It’s like saying coffee drinkers worship coffee. The only reason marijuana gets such extensive coverage in media is because of its illegality, because humans are devious by nature i.e. the more something is withheld from us, the more we want access to it, in something akin to the Streisand Effect.

As someone from a Lutheran family myself, I am encouraged by blogposts such as this one by Steadfast Lutherans titled No Pietists Allowed:

A pietist is someone who takes all of the fun out of life in the name of religion. They believe that they are pleasing to God because they do not smoke, drink, gamble, play cards, dance, (and if they really thought about it they would probably outlaw golf – did I tell you about the time I spent $300 on a round of golf?).

Jesus was often accused of licentiousness by the pietists of his day. In Matthew 9:11 we read And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” In John 2:1 we see that Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine so that the wedding celebration at Cana could go on. (Of course the pietests say that he only did that because they drank wine in that day instead of water because it was safer to drink the wine which had been purified by the alcohol. If that’s the case then why didn’t he turn wine into safe water for them to drink?)

Lutherans know how to enjoy the gifts God has given to us without guilt. Of course, this does not mean that we have license to abuse the gifts. We encourage you to enjoy the gifts of creation judiciously.”

And there’s the key word, judiciously i.e. in moderation. Obviously you shouldn’t smoke like a chimney all day every day or else yes, of course you will run into problems down the line. Also, edibles are a thing, and in fact I highly recommend them over smoking because aside from preserving your lungs the high from them feels better and lasts longer. Growing up in a mostly Catholic town with a strong church presence, convincing others of this was a bit hard for me. Everyone else thought I was gross for enjoying weed in any amount or form. So be it. It’s not my job to “convert” anyone to bud-ism.

The author of the Bible Reasons article also said “Contrary to popular belief, cannabis can indeed trigger heart complications. I personally know someone who died while smoking a joint”. While this is indeed an unfortunate circumstance if true, you CANNOT pin something like that on cannabis alone. The person that died had to already have had cardiovascular issues prior to their consumption of said joint, otherwise they would’ve been fine. More importantly, I get the feeling that they did not consult their doctor before trying it, and likewise the author didn’t even link to any medical journals to back up their claim or give literally any details about this person. Their claim presumably arises from the fact that cannabis raises your heart rate when ingested, but it only raises it to about the point that exercise does, so does that mean this person couldn’t even exercise without dying? You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the average maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise. I don’t think my heart has gone anywhere near that while I was high, and I’m much younger than 45.

There is also much evidence suggesting that cannabis was widely used in ancient times (including by Biblical scholars, since it was a common crop in the region and its psychoactive properties weren’t unknown). These ancient civilizations existed at a time when the average life expectancy would’ve been much shorter than it is now and therefore the people employed with building the great temples and monuments would’ve been young, fit, and healthy enough to use it without incident.

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