The Theory that Jesus Healed his Followers Using Cannabis Oil

It is known to us that Jesus used special anointment oils that had almost magical power, curing a range of illnesses from skin diseases to eye infections.

However, what he might have been using in these oils is still under scientific scrutiny.

While linguists and historians are dealing with the etymology of the words used to describe the mixture in the Bible, botanists on the other side try to figure out which plants he might have used that could have been so potent.

Christ healing a Mute by Gustav Dore, 1865.

One of the theories is that the crucial ingredient used was cannabis oil.

David Bienenstock, an advocate for usage of cannabis in medical purposes, is one of the strongest proponents of this theory.

He commented exclusively for the Daily Star: “There is nothing different in the efficacious cannabis oil used today that wouldn’t have been available to people in Jesus’ time – it’s simply a matter of concentrating the cannabis into the oil and absorbing it through the skin.”

A cannabis leaf and a bottle of hemp oil.

This theory has grounds in the fact that cannabis has been known for quite some time among humans.

The tomb of an Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II was discovered with a mummy containing particles of kief, tinny crystals that cover the cannabis plant. The usage of it in religious purposes precedes Jesus.

In Hindu texts from as far as 1400 BC, cannabis is celebrated and revered as a sacred plant. It all points to the fact that this plant has a long history of usage in spiritual purposes, making it easy to believe that Jesus could have used it also.

Ancient Sanskrit on hemp-based paper. Hemp fiber was commonly used in the production of paper from 200 BC to the late 1800s. Photo by Moefuzz CC BY SA 4.0

The Daily Star cites historian Carl Ruck, Professor of Classical Mythology at Boston University, regarding the relationship of cannabis and Judaic religion. He states: “There can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion. Obviously, the easy availability and long-established tradition of cannabis in early Judaism would inevitably have included it in the [Christian] mixtures.”

Jesus cleansing a leper, medieval mosaic from the Monreale Cathedral, Italy.

The whole theory is mostly based around a specific chapter in the Bible, more specifically Exodus 30: 20-25:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of q’aneh-bosm, 500 shekels of cassia– all according to the sanctuary shekel– and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil.”

The mysterious plant q’aneh-bosm that is also referred to as “keneh bosm,” lead some historians to believe that it could indeed be cannabis. Chris Bennet, a historian of cannabis and an author of several books on the topic, refers to work of Polish etymologist Sula Benet.


Benet claimed in 1936 that the root of the word “Kan,” actually means hemp, “bossom” meant aromatic. However, this word was also translated as “fragrant cane” and therefore equated with cinnamon bark.

Benet worked on disputing this theory because of a false translation from the earliest Old Testament version, which equated “keneh bosm” with “kalabos,” an Egyptian marsh cane.

This theory is not widely accepted, and the disputes are again directed to the meaning of the plant listed in the recipe.

Christ Healing the Mother of Simon Peter’s Wife by John Bridges.

Several historians believe that the plant in question is calamus, that was and still is used for medical purposes.

Musselman, a critic of the theory that Jesus may have indeed used cannabis oil to perform his miracles, likewise believes that the plant from the recipe must have been calamus.

It is important in Ayuvedic medicine and in some parts of the world even grown in private gardens.

However, proponents of this theory such as Benet have strong reasons to believe in it as archaeology and history have shown us that a lot of people and religions used cannabis for medicinal purposes.

If it would be true that Jesus actually used cannabis for healing his followers, it could significantly influence the current debate about cannabis use. This is the reason why people such as Benet and Bienenstock are so vocal about it.

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