Cannabis: The New Miracle Worker

Friday, July 13, 2018 |  Tsvi Sadan

Ever since Raphael Mechoulam isolated the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis (THC) in 1964, Israel has been at the forefront of cannabis research. 

Companies like iCAN and Tikun Olam (which means, no less, "amending the world"), are on the cutting edge of developing medical and cosmetic applications based on the cannabis plant. According to iCAN, cannabis has the "potential to heal human suffering and to bring economic vitality where it is allowed to develop."

But Israel is still wavering as to whether or not to legalize cannabis. Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, an Orthodox Jew, supports cannabis research and has eased up on medical prescriptions, particularly for cancer patients. In March 2017, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan introduced a new policy that decriminalizes the personal use of marijuana, though a $250 fine waits those caught smoking it in public places.

In their pro-cannabis crusade, however, Israeli enthusiasts tend to go overboard. Trying to make us all believers in the healing powers of this wonder plant, already three years ago Canna Magazine recruited Jesus to their side, but not in the way you would think. "Though many have interpreted these stories [of Jesus performing miraculous healings] as testimony of God's intervention," read a 2016 Canna article, "researches now offer a different interpretation … that Jesus used cannabis to heal the sick."

One of those pushing this narrative is Carl Ruck, a Boston University teacher of classic mythology. Ruck's particular area of research is how religious experiences in ancient Western cultures were induced by psychoactive plants. As an expert on the topic, he said confidently back in 2003 that "there can be little doubt about a role for cannabis in Judaic religion," and it is almost certain that the anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem, which Chris Bennet has claimed is cannabis extract.

Kaneh-bosem (Exodus 30:23) is one of the 11 ingredients from which the biblical incense was made. Being sacred as well as mysterious, Judaism speaks extensively about the incense – what it was made of and how it was produced. Kaneh-bosem was identified, without certainty, as cinnamon, the bark of the aquilaria agallocha or, agarwood tree.

Cannabis enthusiasts, however, are not impressed with things like incense and its uses. For them, it is almost a matter of fact that Jesus used cannabis oil to heal the blind, who were really suffering from glaucoma, which can be treated with CBD. Truth is, said cannabis historian David Bienenstock to the Daily Star, that the simpletons who wrote the gospels couldn't tell the difference between demon possession and epilepsy, which can also be treated with cannabis oil, thus confusing its application with a miracle.  A case in point is Mark 6:13, which records the intervention not of a wondrous God, but rather of a wondrous plant.

Beinestock's nonsense was recycled by the Israeli news portal Walla (July 9), in a column suggesting that the Messiah was called so not because he was God's anointed, but because he anointed the sick with the natural cannabis agent. Jesus made it Kosher. Thank God.

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