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cannabis in the old testament

Cannabis in the old testament

THE HIDDEN STORY OF CANNABIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

By Chris Bennet

Part 3 in a series on the
History of Cannabis and
Human Consciousness

T HEN GOD SAID, I GIVE YOU EVERY SEED-BEARING
PLANT ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE
E ARTH, AND EVERY TREE THAT
HAS FRUIT IN IT.”
GENESIS 1:29-30

Those words seem straightforward enough, and yet cannabis and most other psychoactive medicine plants are outlawed in our society. Those who use these plant gat eways to other states of consciousness are jailed for doing so.

Ironically, the major force for continuing this plant prohibition is a group referred to as the Christian Right. They claim to believe in both the Bible and old Yahweh, yet Yahweh’s opinion on the matter is stated quite clearly in the above quotation.

This article shows how the Old Testament Prophets were none other than ancient shamans, and that cannabis and other entheogens played a very prominent role in ancient Hebrew culture.

THE ROOTS OF KANEH-BOSM

The first solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis was established in 1936 by Sula Benet, a little known Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw (1).

The word cannabis was generally thought to be of Scythian origin, but Benet showed that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, and that it appears several times throughout the Old Testament. Benet explained that “in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant (2).”

Benet demonstrated that the word for cannabis is kaneh-bosm , also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kaneh or kannabus . The root kan in this construction means “reed” or “hemp”, while bosm means “aromatic”. This word appears five times in the Old Testament; in the books of Exodus, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

The word kaneh-bosm has been mistranslated as calamus , a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to kaneh-bosm. The error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and was repeated in the many translations that followed (3).

THE HIDDEN STORY

When we take a chronological look at biblical references to kaneh-bosm, we reveal more than just the story of cannabis in the Old Testament. Another exciting and concealed story emerges as well, that of the suppression of the worship of Astarte, also called Ashera, known t o the ancient Semites as the Queen of Heaven .

The First Reference
to Kaneh-Bosm

MOSES & MARIJUANA

The first mention of kaneh-bosm in the Old Testament appears with the prophet-shaman Moses. At the beginning of his shamanic career, Moses discovered the angel of the Lord in flames of fire from within a bush .

It is later in his life however, that a definite reference to cannabis is made. Sula Benet explains this reference as follows:

The sacred character of hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:22-33, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp.

Anointing set sacred things apart from secular. The anointment of sacred objects was an ancient tradition in Israel: holy oil was not to be used for secular purposes.

Above all, the anointing oil was used for the installation rites of all Hebrew kings and priests.

This first reference to kaneh-bosm is the only that describes it as an ointment to be applied externally. However, anointing oils made with cannabis are indeed psychoactive and have been used by such seemingly diverse groups as 19th century occultists and medieval witches (4).

Closer to Moses’ own time, cannabis was used as a topical hallucinogen by the ancient worshippers of Asherah , the Queen of Heaven. Asherah has also been referred to as the Hebrew Goddess (5).

The shamanistic Ashera priestesses of pre-reformation Jerusalem mixed cannabis resins with those from myrrh, balsam, frankincense, and perfumes, and then anointed their skins with the mixture as well as burned it (6).

T HEN THE LORD SAID TO MOSES, “TAKE THE FOLLOWING FINE SPICES: 500 SHEKELS OF LIQUID MYRRH, HALF AS MUCH OF FRAGRANT CINNAMON, 250 SHEKELS OF KANNABOSM, 500 SHEKELS OF CASSIA – ALL ACCORDING TO THE SANCTUARY SHEKEL – AND A HIND OF OLIVE OIL. MAKE THESE INTO MAKE THESE INTO A SACRED ANNOITING OIL, A FRAGRANT BLEND, THE WORK OF A PERFUMER. IT WILL BE THE SACRED ANNOITING OIL.

T HEN USE IT TO ANOINT THE TENT OF THE MEETING, THE ARK OF THE TESTIMONY, THE TABLE AND ALL ITS ARTICLES, THE LAMPSTAND AND ITS ACCESSORIES, THE ALTAR OF INCENSE, THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING AND ALL ITS UTENSILS, AND THE BASIN WITH ITS STAND. YOU SHALL CONSECRATE THEM SO THEY WILL BE MOST HOLY, AND WHATEVER TOUCHES THEM WILL BE HOLY.

A NOINT AARON AND HIS SONS AND CONSECRATE THEM SO THEY MAY SERVE ME AS PREISTS. SAY TO THE ISRAELITES, “THIS IS TO BE MY SACRED ANOINTING OIL FOR THE GENERATIONS TO COME. DO NOT POUR IT ON MEN’S BODIES AND DO NOT MAKE ANY OIL WITH THE SAME FORMULA. IT IS SACRED, AND YOU ARE TO CONSIDER IT SACRED. WHOEVER MAKES PERFUME LIKE IT AND WHOEVER PUTS IT ON ANYONE OTHER THAN A PREIST MUST BE CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE.”

THE PRIESTS OF POT

The above Old testament passage makes the sacredness of this ointment quite clear. Moses and the Levite priesthood jealously guarded its use, and enforced this discriminatory prohibition with God’s commandment that any transgressors be ‘ cut off from his people ‘. This law amounted to a death sentence in the ancient world.

SMOKE IN THE TENT

Lacking the invention of pipes, it was the practice of some ancient peoples to burn cannabis and other herbs in tents, so that more smoke could be captured and inhaled. In the last installment of this column we discussed such a group, the ancient Scythians. The Scythians were a nomadic people who travelled and settled extensively throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, Central Asia, and Russia. They burned cannabis inside small tents and inhaled the fumes for ritualistic and recreational purposes.

Moses and his priests burned incense and used the holy ointment in a portable ‘tent of meeting’, the famous Tent of the Tabernacle . As cannabis is listed directly as an incense later in the Bible, it seems likely that Moses and the Levite priesthood would have burned cannabis flowers and pollen along with the ointment and incense which God commanded them to make.

A ND AARON SHALL BURN INCENSE EVERY MORNING: WHEN HE DRESSETH THE LAMPS, HE SHALL BURN INCENSE UPON IT. AND WHEN AARON LIGHTETH THE LAMPS AT EVEN, HE SHALL BURN INCENSE UPON IT, A PERPETUAL INCENSE BEFORE THE LORD THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS.

THE SCYTHIAN CONNECTION

Given that the Scythians and Israelites were involved in a trade of goods and knowledge, it is not surprising to find the similar technique of using tents to retain smoke. Benet commented on the often overlooked connections between these two groups.

The Scythians participated in both trade and wars alongside the ancient Semites for at least one millennium before Herodotus encountered them in the fifth century BC. The reason for the confusion and relative obscurity of the role played by the Scythians in world history is the fact that they were known to the Greeks as Scythians but to the Semites as Ashkenaz.

The earliest reference to the Ashkenaz people appears in the Bible in Genesis 10:3, where Ashkenaz, their progenitor, is named the son of Gomer, the great-grandson of Noah.

GOD WITHIN A CLOUD

A reading of the Old Testament reveals that Yahweh “came to Moses out of the midst of the cloud” and that this cloud came from smoke produced by the burning of incense. As scholar Ralph Patai commented in his book The Hebrew Goddess , “Yahweh merely put in temporary appearances in the tent of meeting. He was a visiting deity whose appearance in or departure from the tent was used for oracular purposes.”

One is reminded of the ancient Persian sage Zoroaster, another monotheist like Moses, who heard the voice of his god, Ahura Mazda, while in a state of shamanistic ecstasy produced by cannabis. The Greek oracle of Delphi also revealed her prophecies from behind a veil of intoxicating smoke.

The insights achieved from the use of cannabis, whether inhaled in the Tent of the Tabernacle or applied topically, could have been interpreted by Moses as messages from God. This is similar to modern shamans who interpret their experiences with plant hallucinogens as containing divine revelations.

CANNABIS CONCIOUSNESS

In issue #1 of CANNABIS CANADA , we discussed a book by Julian Jaynes called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind . Jaynes offers an interesting explanation of how the development of consciousness may have taken place. Although he failed to fully recognize the strong role that plant-drugs may have played in the development of consciousness (7), Jaynes did come up with a most revolutionary theory.

In his book, Jaynes claims that ancient people were not as fully conscious and self-aware as modern humans. Being unable to introspect, they experienced their own higher cognitive functioning as auditory hallucinations – the voices of gods, actually heard as in the Old Testament or the Iliad – which told a person what to do in circumstances of novelty or stress.

G OD SAID TO MOSES, I AM THAT I AM. THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE TO SAY TO THE ISREALITES: ‘I AM HAS SENT ME TO YOU.’

I AM THAT I AM

Could the commandments given by God to Moses and other Biblical prophets have been the early beginnings of full human self-awareness? Cannabis has its own unique receptor sites in the human brain, located in the areas governing higher thinking and memory. Could it be that deep interior thought grew out of language and the use of psychoactive plants like cannabis? And that the first prototypes of this ability for deep interior thinking, an ability we now take for granted, would have been considered Prophets? Would this make God’s commandments any less sacred?

In light of this information, is not the above statement more believable as the birth words of Judaic consciousness, rather than as the commandment of an omnipotent God?

The Second Appearance
of Cannabis

The next Biblical account of cannabis comes under the name kaneh and appears in relation to King Solomon. In Solomon’s Song of Songs , one of the most beautifully written pieces in the Old Testament, Solomon mentions kaneh in describing his bride.

C OME WITH ME FROM LEBANON, MY BRIDE, COME WITH ME FROM LEBANON. DESCEND FROM THE CREST OF AMANA, FROM THE TOP OF SENIR, THE SUMMIT OF HERMON. . .

H OW DELIGHTFUL IS YOUR LOVE, MY SISTER, MY BRIDE! HOW MUCH MORE PLEASING IS YOUR LOVE THAN WINE, AND THE FRAGRANCE OF YOUR OINTMENT THAN ANY SPICE!. . .

T HE FRAGRANCE OF YOUR GARMENTS IS LIKE THAT OF LEBANON. . .

Y OUR PLANTS ARE AN ORCHARD OF POMEGRANATES WITH CHOICE FRUITS, WITH HENNA AND NARD, NARD AND SAFFRON, KANEH AND CINNAMON, WITH EVERY KIND OF INCENSE TREE.

SONG OF SONGS 4:8-14

THE GARDEN OF THE GODDESS

The ancients worshiped the Goddess as a nude female image, the earth they lived on and the nature around them. The fertile rays of the sun on the earth was thought of as God’s fertilization of the Great Mother. In light of this symbolism, it is not surprising to find Solomon’s Song to be full of both erotic and vegetative imagery (8).

In The Woman’s Book of Myths and Secrets , Feminist Scholar Barbara Walker explains

the Old Testament ‘Ashera’ is translated ‘grove’, without any explanation that the sacred grove represented the Goddess, genital center, birthplace of all things. In the matriarchal period, Hebrews worshiped the Goddess in groves (1 Kings 14:23), later cut down by patriarchal reformers who burned the bones of Ashera’s priests on their own altars (2 Chronicles 24:4-5).

SOLOMON AND THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN

In The Temple and the Lodge by Baigent and Leigh, the authors state that Solomon’s ‘Song of Songs’ is a hymn and invocation to the Phoenician mother goddess Astarte. Astarte was known as “Queen of Heaven”, “Star of the Sea” and “Stella Marris”.

The authors show us that Astarte was conventionally worshiped on mountains and hilltops, and then point to a quote from I Kings 3:3.

S OLOMON LOVED YAHWEH; HE FOLLOWED THE PRECEPTS OF DAVID HIS FATHER, EXCEPT THAT HE OFFERED SACRIFICE AND INCENSE ON THE HIGH PLACES.

I Kings 11:4-5 offers an even more explicit example of Solomon’s ties to Astarte.

W HEN SOLOMON GREW OLD HIS WIVES SWAYED HIS HEART TO OTHER GODS; AND HIS HEART WAS NOT WHOLLY WITH YAHWEH HIS GOD AS HIS FATHER DAVID’S HAD BEEN. SOLOMON BECAME A FOLLOWER OF ASTARTE, THE GODDESS OF THE SIDONIANS.

THE SPIRIT OF THE SCYTHIANS

Solomon’s practice of burning incense on high to the Queen of Heaven may have been a custom done in the same spirit as that of the Scythians, who burned cannabis in mountain caves and consecrated the act to their version of the Great Goddess, Tabiti-Hestia (9).

Archeological finds show that the worship of the old Canaanite gods was an integral part of the religion of the Hebrews, through to the very end of Hebrew monarchy. The worship of the Goddess played a much more important role in this popular religion than that of the gods.

The Third Reference
to Cannabis

GOD WANTS HERB

The next direct reference to kaneh-bosm appears in Isaiah, where God is reprim anding the Israelites for, among other things, not supplying him with his due of the Holy Herb.

Y OU HAVE NOT BROUGHT ANY KANEH FOR ME, OR LAVISHED ON ME THE FAT OF YOUR SACRIFICES. BUT YOU HAVE BURDENED ME WITH YOUR SINS AND WEARIED ME WITH YOUR OFFENCES.

A HOUSEFUL OF SMOKE

An excerpt from earlier in Isaiah indicates that God’s appetite had previously been appeased, and “the house was filled with smoke. “

A ND THE POSTS OF THE DOOR MOVED AT THE VOICE OF HIM THAT CRIED, AND THE HOUSE WAS FILLED WITH SMOKE

T HEN SAID I, WOE IS ME, FOR I AM UNDONEL BECAUSE I AM A MAN OF UNCLEAN LIPS, AND I DWELL IN THE MIDST OF A PEOPLE OF UNCLEAN LIPS; FOR MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE KING, THE LORD OF HOSTS.

T HEN FLEW ONE OF THE SERAPHIMS UNTO ME, HAVING A LIVE COAL IN HIS HAND, WHICH HE HAD TAKEN WITH THE TONGS FROM OFF THE ALTAR,

A ND HE LAID IT UPON MY MOUTH AND SAID, LO, THIS HATH TOUCHED THY LIPS; AND THYNE INIQUITY IS TAKEN AWAY, AND THY SIN PURGED.

EATING ANGELS

In The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross , Scholar John M. Allegro points out that ancient peoples believed psychoactive plants to be living gateways to other realms, and thought of them as angels . The Greek and Hebrew equivalent of the word angel literally means messenger or worker of miracles .

SHAMANS IN DISGUISE

It seems much more believable that the winged beings which appeared to Isaiah and other Biblical prophets were not actual angels (10), but rather ancient shamans, wearing elaborate costumes and enacting trance inducing rituals, all enhanced by the use of cannabis smoke and psychotropic compounds like anamita muscaria, mandrake, and others.

This type of ritual initiation was common in the ancient middle east, and often involved the use of winged costumes and masks like those the early European explorers would find the aboriginal peoples of the world still using thousands of years later.

DRINKING IN THE HOLY SMOKE

Seraphim translates as “smoke drinker,” and those of us familiar with hashish know that it burns in a similar way to both incense and coal. It isn’t hard to imagine an ancient shaman lifting a burning coal of hashish or pressed bud to the lips of the ancient prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah, upon having the coal lifted to his lips, had his iniquity taken away and his sins purged. This is comparable to the way in which the Hindu sadhus lift their chillums to their third eye and exclaim “Boom Shiva,” an act indicating their loss of ego and oneness with Shiva.

The Fourth
Reference to
Cannabis

KANEH FROM A DISTANT LAND

The fourth appearance of cannabis in the Old Testament is in Jeremiah, by which time it seems that Yahweh’s taste for the herb had declined. In the same way that God rejected Cain’s offering of grain in favour of Abel’s blood sacrifice, the cannabis also is rejected.

W HAT DO I CARE ABOUT INCENSE FROM SHEBA OR KANEH FROM A DISTANT LAND? YOUR BURNT OFFERINGS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE; YOUR SACRIFICES DO NOT PLEASE ME.

The Final
Reference
to Cannabis

TRADING WITH TYRE

The final Biblical reference to kaneh appears in Ezekiel 27, in a passage called A Lament for Tyre . The kingdom of Tyre had fallen into disfavor with Yahweh, and cannabis appears as just one of many of the wares received by Tyre, the merchant of peoples on many coasts .

Both of these passages refer obliquely back to the story of King Solomon. The mention of Sheba brings to mind Solomon’s love affair with the Queen of Sheba, and the King of Tyre played a pivotal role in Solomon’s building of the temple.

D ANITES AND GREEKS FROM UZAL BOUGHT YOUR MERCHANDISE; THEY EXCHANGED WROUGHT IRON, CASSIA AND KANEH FOR YOUR WARES.

FROM FAVOUR TO DISFAVOUR

Of these five references to kaneh and kaneh-bosm, the first three have cannabis appear in Yahweh’s favour, the fourth definitely in his disfavour, and the fifth on a list from a kingdom that had fallen from grace in the eyes of the Israelite God. One might wonder at the reason for these apparent contradictions, and the answer can be found within the story of the suppression of the cult of Ashera, or Astarte, the ancient Queen of Heaven .

In The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler explains this as follows:

There are of course some allusions to this in the Bible itself. The prophets Ezra, Hosea, Nehemiah, and Jeremiah constantly rail against the “abomination” of worshipping other gods. They are particularly outraged at those who still worship the “Queen of Heaven”. And their greatest wrath is against the “unfaithfulness of the daughters of Jerusalem,” who were understandably “backsliding” to beliefs in which all temporal and spiritual authority was not monopolized by men. But other than such occasional, and always pejorati ve, passages, there is no hint that there ever was – or could be – a deity that is not male.

The ties between cannabis and the Queen of Heaven are probably most apparent in Jeremiah 44, where the ancient patriarch seems to be concerned by the people’s continuing worship of the Queen of Heaven, especially by the burning of incense in her honour.

Keep in mind the documented use of cannabis by the shamanistic Ashera priestesses of pre-reformation Jerusalem, who anointed their skins with cannabis mixtures as well as burning it as incense.

T HUS SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS, THE GOD OF ISRAEL; YE HAVE SEEN ALL THE EVIL THAT I HAVE BROUGHT UPON JERUSALEM, AND UPON ALL THE CITIES OF JUDAH; AND BEHOLD, THIS DAY THEY ARE A DESOLATION. . .

B ECAUSE OF THEIR WICKEDNESS WHICH THEY HAVE COMMITTED TO PROVOKE ME TO ANGER, IN THAT THEY WANTED TO BURN INCENSE, AND TO SERVE OTHER GODS. . .

T HEREFORE NOW. . . WHEREFORE COMMIT YE THIS GREAT EVIL AGAINST YOUR SOULS. . . IN THAT YE PROVOKE ME TO WRATH WITH THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS, BURNING INCENSE UNTO OTHER GODS IN THE LAND OF EGYPT?

T HEN ALL THE MEN WHICH KNEW THAT THEIR WIVES HAD BURNED INCENSE UNTO OTHER GODS, AND ALL THE WOMEN THAT STOOD BY, A GREAT MULTITUDE, EVEN ALL THE PEOPLE THAT DWELT IN THE LAND OF EGYPT, ANSWERED JEREMIAH, SAYING,

A S FOR THE WORD THAT THOU HAST SPOKEN UNTO US IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, WE WILL NOT HEARKEN UNTO THEE.

B UT WE WILL CERTAINLY DO WHATSOEVER THING GOETH FORTH OUT OF OUR OWN MOUTH, TO BURN INCENSE UNTO THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN, AND TO POUR DRINK OFFERINGS UNTO HER, AS WE HAVE DONE. WE, AND OUR FATHERS, OUR KINGS, AND OUR PRINCES, IN THE CITY OF JUDAH, AND IN THE STREETS OF JERUSALEM: FOR THEN WE HAD PLENTY OF VICTUALS, AND WERE WELL, AND SAW NO EVIL.

BIBLICAL PROHIBITION

Jeremiah’s reference to the previous kings and princes that burned incense t o the Queen of Heaven can be seen as referring to King Solomon, his son Rehoboam, and other Biblical kings and prophets.

Other key Biblical figures in the prohibition of cannabis use and the worship of the Queen of Heaven include King Hezekiah and his great-grandson Josiah.

II Kings 18:4 reports of Hezekiah that:

H E REMOVED THE HIGH PLACES, AND BRAKE THE IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THE ASHERAS, AND BRAKE INTO PIECES THE BRAZEN SERPENT THAT MOSES HAD MADE; FOR UNTO THOSE DAYS THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID BURN INCENSE TO IT:

A ND HE CALLED IT N EHUSHTAN.

BREAKING THE SERPENT

The interesting thing about this passage is that the Ark of the covenant does not contain the ten commandments of the law of Moses, rather it holds Nehushtan, a brass serpent. The serpent is a frequent component in early representations of the goddess.

The Bible reports that the kings before Hezekiah “set up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree; And there they burnt incense in all the high places. “(1Kings 17) So did the kings who reigned after Josiah, who was killed in battle in 609 BC. According to The Columbia History of the World , Josiah’s defeat seems to have been taken as proof of the error of his ways. the later prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel show polytheism back in practice.”

A FORGED BOOK OF LAW

The Book of the Law , which makes up most of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, was used to prohibit the worship of the Goddess and instill the death penalty for the burning of incense. Although it was supposedly written by Moses, it was not discovered until some 600 years after Moses’ death.

In Green Gold, Judy Osburn follows the suggestion that the Book of the Law may have been a forgery committed by the Hebrew priesthood with the hope of eradicating the competing temples and their deities, which were getting more sacrifices from the people than was the temple of Yahweh.

Osburn quotes Occidental Mythology by theologian Joseph Campbell, as stating that, before the discovery of the Book of the Law,

neither kings nor people had paid attention whatsoever to the law of Moses which, indeed, they had not even known. They had been devoted to the normal deities of the nuclear Near east, with all the usual cults.

Up until that time the Hebrew people worshiped in the old ways, practicing their cult in open places on peaks and hills and mountains, and even caves below.

The mysterious discovery of the Book of the Law took place during the reign of King Josiah. Once informed of the new regulations, Josiah’s wrath against the incense burners was far harsher than that of his great-grandfather Hezekiah. The Bible describes his actions as follows.

A ND THE KING COMMANDED HILKIAH THE HIGH PREIST. . . TO BRING FORTH OUT OF THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD ALL THE VESSELS THAT WERE MADE FOR BAAL AND FOR ASHERAH, AND FOR ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN: AND HE BIRNED THEM OUTSIDE JERUSALEM IN THE FIELDS OF KIDRON. . .

A ND HE PUT DOWN THE IDOLATROUS PRIESTS, WHOM THE KINGS OF JUDAH HAD ORDAINED TO BURN INCENSE IN THE HIGH PLACES IN THE CITIES OF JUDAH, AND IN THE PLACES ROUND ABOUT JERUSALEM; THEM ALSO THAT BURNED INCENSE UNTO BAAL, TO THE SUN, AND TO THE MOON, AND TO THE PLANETS, AND TO ALL THE HOST OF HEAVEN.

A ND HE BROUGHT OUT THE ASHERAH FROM THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, OUTSIDE JERUSALEM. . . AND BURNED IT AT THE BROOK KIDRON, AND STAMPED IT SMALL TO POWDER. . . AND HE BROUGHT ALL THE PRIESTS OUT OF THE CITIES OF JERUSALEM, AND DEFILED THE HIGH PLACES WHERE THE PRIESTS HAD BURNED INCENSE. . .

A ND THE HIGH PLACES THAT WERE BEFORE JERUSALEM. . . WHICH SOLOMON THE KING OF ISRAEL HAD BUILDED FOR ASHTORETH THE ABOMINATION OF THE ZIDONIANS. . . DID THE KING DEFILE. AND HE BRAKE IN PIECES THE IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THE GROVES, AND FILLED THEIR PLACES WITH THE BONES OF MEN.

A ND HE SLEW ALL THE PRIESTS OF THE HIGH PLACES THAT WERE UPON THE ALTARS, AND BURNED MEN’S BONES UPON THEM, AND RETURNED TO JERUSALEM. . .

A ND LIKE UNTO HIM WAS THERE NO KING BEFORE HIM, THAT TURNED TO THE LORD WITH ALL HIS HEART, AND WITH ALL HIS SOUL, AND WITH ALL HIS MIGHT, ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF MOSESL NEITHER AFTER HIM AROSE THERE ANY LIKE HIM.

SEPERATION FROM THE SHEKINAH

The Goddess returned to the Hebrew faith somewhat later in a form of Jewish mysticism called the Cabala. This teaches that the Shekinah is the female soul of God, who couldn’t be perfect until he was reunited with her. Cabalists believed that it was God’s loss of his Shekinah that brought about all evils. In some traditions the Shekinah is seen as the pillar of smoke that guided the wandering nation of Israel during its Exodus from Egypt.

THE RETURN OF THE GODDESS

Our separation from the ancient Goddess and the denial of her ecstasies could well be seen as the root cause of humanity’s separation from nature, both our own and that of the world around us. Perhaps the Goddess’ ancient spirit won’t fully be restored until her children begin to respect and heal her abused body the Earth, return to her sacred groves in dance and worship, and are free to once again burn the holy incense of kaneh-bosm in her honor and praise.

It would seem that the spirit of Ashera’s ancient incense burners has returned, in the form of the modern-day smoke-in. Once again people of all ages, races, and creeds are gathering together illegally, to celebrate the many benefits and uses of the sacred tree, and to burn holy incense in protest, as did the defiant crowd before Jeremiah so long ago.

CANNABIS AND THE CHRIST?

But what of the Bible’s new Testament? Was Jesus a secret imbiber of the herb, or did he continue on with the harsh prohibition of cannabis, instituted with the zeal of Hezekiah, Josiah and Jeremiah? For the answer to those questions, you’ll have to order a copy of Green Gold, or wait for a distant installment of When Smoke gets in my I.

BOOM SHIVA! BOOM SHAKTI!
HARI HARI GUNJA!

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler; Harper Row; 1987.

Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp by Sula Benet; Reprinted in Cannabis and Culture edited by Vera Rubin; Mouton; 1975.

Flesh of the Gods edited by P T Furst; Praeger; 1972.

Green Gold the Tree of Life; Marijuana in Magic and Religion by Chris Bennet, Judy Osburne, & Lynn Osburne; Access Unlimited; 1995.

The Hebrew Goddess by Raphael Patai; Avon Books; 1967.

Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years by Ernest Abel; Plenum Press; 1980.

Marijuana and the Bible edited by Jeff Brown; The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church; 1981.

Occidental Mythology by Joseph Campbell; Penguin Books; 1982.

The Origins of Consciousness in the Break down of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes; Houghton Mifflin Company; 1976.

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross by John M. Allegro; Double day; 1969.

Techniques of High Magic, by King and Skinner; Destiny Books; 1976.

The Temple and the Lodge by Baignet and Leigh; Corgy Books; 1989.

The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker; Harper Collins; 1983.

ENDNOTES

1 In 1903, British physician Dr. C. Creighton wrote Indications of the Hashish Vice in the Old Testament, in which he concluded that several references to cannabis can be found in the Old Testament. Examples are the “honeycomb” referred to in the Song of Solomon, 5:1, and the “honeywood” in I Samuel 14: 25-45. Creighton also suggested that Saul’s madness, Jonathan’s and Samson’s strength, and the first chapter of Ezekiel are all to be explained by the use of cannabis. (back)

2 All quotations from Sula Benet in this article are taken from Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp, reprinted in Cannabis and Culture, Vera Rubin, Ed. (back)

3 At this same point in history, 300 BC, a group which would become known as the Gnostics was formed. The Gnostics (meaning knowledge) were a symbiosis of Judaic, Zoroastrian and Neo-Platonic thought, and claimed direct knowledge of the divine.

The Sufis, a group that is said to be an offshoot of Gnostic knowledge, use a similar term for cannabis: khaneh. (back)

4 In Techniques of High Magic, authors King and Skinner list the following astral projection ointment from the 1890’s: lanolin – 5 ounces; hashish – 1 ounce; hemp flowers – 1 handful; poppy flowers – 1 handful; hellebore – 1/2 handful. In 1615, Italian physician and demonologist Giovanni De Ninault listed hemp as the main ingredient in the ointments and unguents used by the “Devil’s followers”. (back)

5 As in Raphael Patai’s The Hebrew Goddess, published by Avon Books in 1967. (Quoted in The Once and Future Goddess, by Elinor W Gadon, Harper & Row, 1989.) (back)

6 William A.Emboden Jr., Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa L.: A Historic-Ethnographic Survey, printed in Flesh of the Gods, edited by P.T.Furst, published by Praeger in 1972. (back)

7 An idea which is fully explored in Terence McKenna’s Food of the Gods, published by Bantam in 1992. (back)

8 For more information on Bible erotica see The X-Rated Bible; An Irrevent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures, by Ben Edward Akerley. (back)

9 For more information on the Scythian use of cannabis see the second installment of this series in Cannabis Canada number 2. (back)

10 Wings on gods or angels can be seen as symbolizing the ability to travel between the ‘two worlds’. For example, the Greek god Hermes, who’s winged feet enabled him to act as messenger between men and gods. (back)

Cannabis in the old testament THE HIDDEN STORY OF CANNABIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT By Chris Bennet Part 3 in a series on the History of Cannabis and Human Consciousness T HEN GOD SAID, I

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Cannabis Use in the Old Testament and throughout the Ancient World

It should be note that Sula Benet herself, missed a very important point regarding the Indo-European roots of the term cannabis, and instead tried to identify the word as a Semitic word, that made its way into a a variety of Indo-European dialects. As the anthropologist Weston La Barre notes of this:

“All the Indo-European languages have dialectically equivalent terms for hemp: Anglo-Saxon henep. Middle English hemp, Danish and Middle Low German hennep, Icalandic hampr, Swedish hampa, German hanf, Polish konop, Bohemeian konope, Old Bulgarian and Russian konoplya, Lithuanian canapés, Lettish kenepa, Irish canaib, Persian qinnab, Greek kannabis, Latin cannabis, French chanvre, and Sanskrit cana. An earlier anthropologist, Berthold Laufer, believed that the Indo-Eoropean term for hemp was a loan word from ancient Finno-Ugrian and Turkic stocks of north central Eurasia; but “Scythian,” by some etymologists (doubtless influenced by a earlier mention in Herodotus), has also been the proposed donor of the term in several Indo-European languages independently. However, since the appropriate linguistic rules for sound-change appear to have been followed, the word would seem very old in Indo-European, rather than multiply borrowed. Again if as the anthropologist Sula Benet proposes, the cannabis terms are borrowed from a Semetic language, then there is the problem of a seemingly pan-Indo-European term diffused from ancient northern Eurasia. And cannabis, of course grows wild in north central Eurasia, whence the Indo-Europeans came. That the terms are manifest dialectic equivalents would constitute the solidest possible evidence for the antiquity of the word, since the undivided Neolithic Indo-Europeans began to migrate (spreading prehistorically all the way from Ireland to Ceylon) and to break up dialectically in the early Bronze Age.” (La Barre, 1980)

This is an important point, as much of the Indo-European mythology of cannabis, followed it with these linguistics, as it travelled around the world, deeply influencing the cosmologies of a number of existing religions, including those recorded in the Bible.

Fifth, cannabis or hemp has long been a source of rope and yet the words for rope or cord in the Hebrew have no correlation to the term “qaneh.”

Nor do the terms in the English language. Quite likely the cannabis that came as an item of Trade, came at a point the Hebrews had already come up with some sort of rope of their own. Other researchers have however, seen the use of cannabis fibres in both the more ancient and Midrashic periods of Judaism. As Benet noted “Another piece of evidence regarding the use of word kaneh in the sense of hemp rather than reed is the religious requirement that the dead be buried in kaneh shirts. Centuries later linen was substituted for hemp (Klien 1908)” referring to Sigfried Kleins Tod und Begrabnis in Palistina. We can also point to the references to shesh noted by the 19th century Biblical scholar John Kitto, as referred to above. Religious scholar, Dr. Marinus de Waal, has commented that parts of the holy sanctuary made by Moses, under the Lords command, utilized the fibres of the hemp plant;

“Fabric from hemp fibre was used by the ancient Israelites for clothing, but was later replaced for this purpose by cotton and linen. It was more often cultivated for its strong fibers and hemp seed, used in carpets and rope. The latter was used in the days of Moses for making the sanctuary:”‘And let every wise-hearted man among you come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded. the hangings of the court, the pillars thereof, and their sockets, and the screen for the gate of the court; the pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords. ‘-(Exodus 35:10,17,18)” (De Waal 1994)

Sixth, Dr. Benet’s speculation is perhaps the best an etymologist can do, but it is hardly “proof” of the conclusion that “q’neh-bosem” is the source for “qanabos.” Several web sources state that Dr. Benet’s conclusions were confirmed by the Hebrew University in 1960; but no one seems to be able to say who at the Hebrew University provided the confirmation. Hebrew University is a big place. Unverifiable facts do not build credence to claims. As stated above, Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University suggests a different etymology, though he is far more cautious in asserting that his conclusion is the definitive statement on the issue

This is a fair point, the source of the Hebrew University reference was one Dean Latimer, in an article that appeared in High Times,

“Around 1980, etymologists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem confirmed that cannabis is mentioned in the Bible by name, Kineboisin (also spelled Kannabosm), in a list of measured ingredients for “an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of apothecary’ to be smeared on the head. The word was mistranslated in king James version as ‘calamus’2.- Exodus 30:23”(Latimer 1988)3

When I was a less experienced researcher, I quoted Latimer, then later tried to track it down to no avail, even attempting to contact Latimer, but I never received a response, so it goes unverified at this point. However, as noted above, in my response (C) there is considerable and widespread academic support for Benet’s work, as well as my own contributions to this line of research.

As I have shown, there is considerable support for Benet’s etymology. That the cognate pronunciation q’eneh bosem has made it into the present day as cannabis, is not so surprising, when we consider cinnamon, is also mentioned in Exodus 30:23 with the similarly sounding Hebrew name kinnamon. Further, when the word q’eneh bosem is compared with references to the recognized Assyrian word for cannabis, and the similar way it was utilized in the religious lives of both cultures further evidence of a connection above and beyond that of mere etymology is strongly suggested.

In ancient Mesopotamia cannabis was used both medicinally and oils and incenses were prepared from the plant because its “aroma was pleasing to the Gods” (Meissner 1925). In the second quarter of the first millennium b.c., the “word qunnabu (qunapy, qunubu, qunbu) begins to turn up as for a source of oil, fiber and medicine”(Barber 1989). In our own time, numerous scholars have come to acknowledge qunubu as an early reference to cannabis4.

Recipes for cannabis incense, regarded as copies of much older versions, were found in the cuneiform library of the legendary Assyrian king Assurbanipal, and records from the time of his father Esarhaddon, cannabis, ‘qunubu’ as one of the main ingredients of the “sacred rites”. In a letter written in 680 bc to the mother of the Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, reference is made to qu-nu-bu. In response to Esarhaddon’s mother’s question as to “What is used in the sacred rites”, a high priest named Neralsharrani responded that “the main items. for the rites are fine oil, water, honey, odorous plants (and) hemp [qunubu].”5

Apparently cannabis was used not only as an incense but in topical lotions as well. An Assyrian medical tablet from the Louvre collection has been transliterated: “So that god of man and man should be in good rapport:—with hellebore, cannabis and lupine you will rub him.” (Russo 2005)

Mesopotamian use went far beyond the spiritual. The medicinal properties of the plant were well known as noted in the groundbreaking paper by cannibinoid expert Dr. Ethan Russo, ‘Clinical Cannabis in Ancient Mesopotamia: A Historical Survey with Supporting Scientific Evidence’

Dr. Russo records that numerous topical applications of cannabis for medical purposes can be found throughout ancient Mesopotamian documents. “cannabis was used with the plant El in petroleum to anoint swelling…. [and] was also employed as a simple poultice” (Russo 2005) More interestingly, records of topical ointments used in the treatment of “Hand of Ghost” an ancient malady now thought to be epilepsy, included cannabis as a key ingredient. Ancient Mesopotamian preparations that included cannabis were also used in the treatment of certain diseases of the chest and lungs, stomach problems, skin lesions, lice, swollen joints and a variety of other maladies. (Russo, 2005)

So here, in these contemporary Assyrian references, under the similar sounding name qunbu, we see identical uses tot hat being proposed for the Hebrews of the same period. We see references to a temple incense, an offering t God in the sacred rites and a topical ointment which put “god of man and man should be in good rapport” .

This brings us to a good point for discussing the first Biblical reference to cannabis under the name q’eneh bosem. The first of the references to keneh bosem occurs in the story of Moses, who initially met the angel of the Lord from “flames of fire within a bush”. Exodus 30:23 describes cannabis in a list of ingredients in the “Holy Anointing Oil”.

“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 fragrant cane [keneh-bosem], 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.6 It will be the sacred anointing oil. Then use it to anoint the Tent of the Meeting, the ark of the Testimony, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense,7 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.”

“Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, “This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on men’s bodies and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people.” (Exodus 30:22-33)

As one shekel equals approximately 16.378 grams, this means that the THC of over 9 pounds of flowering cannabis tops were extracted into a hind, about 6.5 litres of oil. The entheogenic effects of such a solution, even when applied topically, would undoubtedly have been intense. Health Canada has done scientific tests that show transdermal absorption of THC can take place. 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. Based upon a 25mg/g oil Health Canada found skin penetration of THC (33%). “The high concentration of THC outside the skin encourages penetration, which is a function of the difference between outside and inside (where the concentration is essentially zero)” (James Geiwitz, Ph.D, 2001).

Cross cultural references to such topical preparations of cannabis have been identified (Bennett & McQueen, 2001; Bennett, 2006). Closer to Moses’ own time, as noted earlier, ancient Assyrian inscriptions indicate that a similar preparation was in use for identical purposes.

Only those who had been “dedicated by the anointing oil of. God” (Leviticus 21:12) were permitted to act as priests. In the “holy” state produced by the anointing oil the priests were forbidden to leave the sanctuary precincts (Leviticus 21:12), and the above passage from Exodus, makes quite clear the sacredness of this ointment, the use of which the priests jealously guarded. These rules were made so that other tribal members would not find out the secret behind Moses and the priesthood’s new found shamanistic revelations. Or even worse, take it upon themselves to make a similar preparation. An event that would likely lead to Moses and his fellow Levites losing their authority over their ancient tribal counterparts. Those who broke this strong tribal taboo risked the penalty of being “cut off from their people”, a virtual death-sentence in the savage ancient world. Secrets revealed equals power lost, is a rule of thumb that is common to shamans and magicians world wide, and as shall be seen, the ancient Hebrew shamans guarded their secrets as fiercely as any.

The sacred character of hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:22-23, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp. Anointing set sacred things apart from secular. The anointment of sacred objects was an ancient tradition in Israel: holy oil was not to be used for secular purposes. Above all, the anointing oil was used for the installation rites of all Hebrew kings and priests. (Benet 1975)

Moreover, this Holy Oil was to be used specifically in the Tent of the Meeting, where the Lord would “speak” to Moses. From what can be understood by the descriptions in Exodus, Moses and later High Priests, would cover themselves with this ointment and also place some on the altar of incense before burning it. “Besides its role in anointing, the holy oil of the Hebrews was burned as incense, and its use was reserved to the priestly class” (Russo, 2007). The Exodus account describes Moses as seeking the Lord’s advice, from a pillar of smoke emanating from the altar of incense, in the enclosed chamber of the tent of the meeting. This is reminiscent of the cannabis burning tents of the Scythians and also Assyrians.

“The burning of specific psychoactive plants in tents may have spread from the Indo-European nomadic cults the prime example of which are the Scythians. [participating] in the enclosed inhalations of Cannabis vapors. the enclosure in tents or closed rooms is similar to the common practice in modern Cannabis culture referred to as “hot-boxing.”” (Dannaway, 2009)

In the Torah, the pillar of smoke that arose before Moses in the ‘Tent of the Meeting’, is referred to as the ‘Shekinah’ and is identified as the physical evidence of the Lord’s presence. None of the other Hebrews in the Exodus account either see or hear the Lord, they only know that Moses is talking to the Lord when the smoke is pouring forth from the Tent of the Meeting. It is hard not to see all the classical elements of shamanism at play in this description of Moses’ encounter with God, and like Zoroaster, Moses can be seen as a ecstatic shamanic figure who used cannabis as a a means of seeking celestial advice.

It should also be noted that Moses anointed the altar of incense, and probably this oil based preparation when poured on the raw herbs used to make incense, helped the whole preparation to burn, as the olive oil base of the Holy oil, was a common lighting fluid that was used in lamps. “Besides its role in anointing, the holy oil of the Hebrews was burned as incense, and its use was reserved to the priestly class” (Russo, 2007). When the Midianite trained craftsmen Bezaleel makes the incense altar of shittam wood overlaid with pure gold, according to the instructions Moses received from the Lord to “make an altar to burn incense upon,” Bezaleel also “made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of apothecary.” (Exodus 37:29).

“[T]he Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices–gum resins, onycha and galbanum–and pure frankincense [generic incense], all in equal amounts, and make a fragrant blend of incense. grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. Do not make an incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord. Whoever makes any like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from his people.”

The Lord’s altar is to be saved for this specific incense, as can be seen by the holy commandment that: “Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offerings thereon.”(Exodus 30:9). That the incense was believed to be imbued with similar magical properties to that of the anointing oil can be seen in the identical prohibitions placed over both. The Biblical scholar John Allegro noted, according to later traditions; “That these ingredients formed only part of the sacred incense formula is well known. Josephus9 says there were thirteen elements and the Talmud names eleven, plus salt, and a secret ‘herb’ which was added to make the smoke rise in a vertical column before spreading outwards at the top.”(Allegro 1970)10; exactly the way the smoke from a burning piece of hashish reacts and rises. Maimonides, (1134-1204) a medieval Jewish philosopher commented that “The object of incense was to animate the spirits of the priests”, which would again indicate an entheogenic preparation. As the authors and editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica have noted; “The ceremonial use of wine and incense [in contemporary ritual] is probably a relic of the time when the psychological effects of these substances were designed to bring the worshipper into closer contact with super natural forces”11.

In the Judaic world, the vapors from burnt spices and aromatic gums were considered part of the pleasurable act of worship. In Proverbs (27:9) it is said that “Ointment and perfumes rejoice the heart.”. Stone altars have been unearthed in Babylon and Palestine, which have been used for burning incense made of aromatic woods and spices. While the casual reader today may interpret such practices as mere satisfaction of the desire for pleasant odors, this is almost certainly an error; in many cases, a psychoactive drug was inhaled. In the islands of the Mediterranean 2,500 years ago and in Africa hundreds of years ago, for example, leaves and flowers of a particular plant were often thrown upon bonfires and the smoke inhaled; the plant was marijuana.(Preble & Laurey 1967)12

Commenting on the word frankincense, which means pure-incense and which appears in the Exodus recipe for the Holy incense, aromatherapy expert Susanne Fischer-Rizzi noted that; “We once called all herbs burnt as incense ‘frankincense'”(Fischer-Rizzi 1990). “The article now known as frankincense is the resin called thus, a common, inodorous article, little better than common white rosin. The article once so highly valued. must have been some other drug more precious than pine or spruce resin”13. Today the word frankincense has come to specify the gum resin from the North African tree Boswellia and Fischer-Rizzi, points out that this modern source also contains psychoactive properties, and is still used in churches to instill a chemically induced feeling of religious awe:

In the last few years, scientists have grown interested in frankincense. They were intrigued by reports that inhaling certain fragrances became addictive for some people, such as altar boys. Some members of the Academy of science in Leipzig, Germany, found in 1981 that when frankincense is burned, another chemical is produced, trahydrocannabinole. This psychoactive substance expands the subconscious14.

The Australian scientist Dr. Michael Stoddard found something else in frankincense. It seems that frankincense, according to Stoddard, awakens sexual, ecstatic energy sources within people. Traditional religious ritual tap and rechannel these energies15.(Fischer-Rizzi 1990)

Despite the fact that modern frankincense is psycho-active, what the original preparation was is left to speculation. With the abundance of natural, burnable and easily collectible fragrant resin found in cannabis and as cannabis is listed directly as an incense elsewhere in the Bible, (along with the Talmudic references to the secret ‘herb’ used in the Temple incense), it is a likely candidate for the ancient generic ‘frankincense’ of Exodus.

Elsewhere in the Old Testament, when q’aneh16 appears, it is clearly associated with incense. According to Immanuel Low in his German work, Die Flora Der Juden, the Hebrews of later times when celebrating their successful invasion and takeover of the land of Canaan with the Holy Day Passover, utilized a preparation including cannabis. Low referred to a recipe for the Passover altar incense that included a hasisat surur, and claimed that the surur was a secret name for the resin of cannabis sativa. The recipe for the special Passover incense had cannabis resin (hasisat surur) ground into powder, mixed with wine, and then made into a burnable and fragrant concoction by being combined with Safran and Arabic Gum. (Low 1926\1967). As George Andrews, editor of the classic texts, THE BOOK OF GRASS,(1967 and DRUGS AND MAGIC, (1975\1997), wrote after some thirty years of research into the subject;

“In recent years many eminent scholars have expressed the opinion that, far from being a minor or occasional ingredient, hashish was the main ingredient of the incense burned in temples during the religious ceremonies of antiquity, and was also routinely used in Hebrew ceremonies until the reign of King Josiah in 621 B.C., when its use was suddenly suppressed in the Hebrew tradition.” (Andrews 1997).

Regardless of what the constitute ingredients of the holy incense were, the whole preparation would have been made psycho-active by its combination with the Holy Anointing Oil: “Then use. [the anointing oil] to anoint. the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the alter of incense, the alter of burnt offering and all its utensils.”(EXODUS 30:22-28)17.

Whether as a result of burning in conjunction with the hempen holy oil, as suggested by Exodus 30:27, or independently, the importance of these preparations can be seen in the Lord’s commandment that the altar of incense, after being first consecrated for use with the Holy Oil, be placed “before the veil that is by the ark of testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.” It was from behind this veil of smoke, which Moses interpreted the words of the Lord, and according to the Lord’s decrees, the incense which produced it was to burn perpetually;

“And Aaron shall burn incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.”

Moses, and his priests used the volatile holy ointment and burned cannabis in a portable, ‘Tent of Meeting’. Lacking the invention of pipes, it was the practice of some ancient cults to burn cannabis in tents, so that more smoke could be retained and inhaled. Such a group was the ancient Scythians and Assyrians.

Like the Assyrian and Scythian shaman who burned cannabis from within enclosed tents; “Moses placed the gold altar in the Tent of Meeting in front of the curtain and burned fragrant incense on it, as the Lord commanded him. Then he put up the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle.18″(Exodus 40:26).

Outside of these seven reasons to question Dr. Benet’s conclusion, the ace in the stack of evidence continues to be the Septuagint. In the third century before the time of Christ, the Hebrew Torah was translated into the Greek in Alexandria, Egypt. The Jews who did the translation used the word “calamou” to translate the words “q’nah-bosem.” If the Jews who did the translation thought that the anointing oil was made of “cannabinos,” the word at that time that meant “hemp,” (Liddell and Scott), they would not have used “calamou.” “Calamos” (the nominative form of the word “calamou”) is a reed plant. Later scholars in the second and first centuries before Christ, as they translated out the remainder of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek, also continued to use “calamos” to translate the word.

Moreover, a second factor against the Benet hypothesis is that Josephus, who lived in the first century A.D., also refers to the spice as “calamus,” which he calls a sweet spice. Again, Josephus clearly does not see the spice as “cannabinos,”” the Greek word for hemp.

Dr. Benet addresses this argument by stating that the translators of the LXX mistranslated the word. This conclusion has no support, except that their translation does not fit with the argument of her paper. The Jewish scholars who translated the LXX certainly had reason to know whether the word referenced “cannabinos” or “calamos.” For the translation of the the Torah, which included the Exodus passage in question, Ptolemy (Philadelphus II) wrote to the Jewish chief priest, Eleazar, in Jerusalem, and asked for six translators from each of the twelve tribes to do the translation. The collective outcome of this massive work was the Torah written in Greek. That these seventy-two people chose to use the word “calamus” rather than “cannabinos” was not something lightly done by one person in a corner. Their choice of words provides compelling direct evidence of what the term meant in the third century B.C. and what the term continued to mean in the first century A.D., when Josephus wrote. If the plant used in the holy oil was “cannabinos,” the seventy-two scholars could have easily used this word. Cannabis was readily available in the world of the Middle East, as Dr. Benet notes. Calamos would most likely have had to be imported (see Jeremiah 6:20; Ezekiel 27:19). The fact that the Jews before and after the time of Christ did not think that the Hebrew word “q’nah-bosem” constituted “cannabinos” is the only direct evidence we have of what the word actually meant in ancient Hebrew. Dr. Benet’s later reconstructions of possible etymological sources is a weak reed compared to the compelling direct testimony of the contemporary meaning supplied by Jewish scholars at a time when the oil was still being made and by people drawn from the tribes of Israel , appointed by the high priest of Israel, who had every reason to know what the Hebrew word meant. I accept the collective opinion of 72 Jewish scholars who lived when the actual meaning of the term would have been known over the speculation of scholars 2,000 years after the fact.

It is a great assumption on Tim’s part, that the translators of the Hebrew text into Greek, would have been competent botanists. By the Biblical accounts, it was a rare and precious foreign item. That a mistake could be made is clearly plausible, and that is why there is so much controversy around this particular term, with experts like Kaplan listing calamus, cinnamon bark, and cannabis as candidates. The above information regarding the identical use of qunubu amongst the Assyrians, strengthens the case for cannabis considerably, as does a wealth of other information, yet to be dealt with.

Further, there is other evidence of the mistranslation of botanical names in the Greek in the Septuagint

JONAH AND THE “GOURD” AT NINEVEH:
CONSEQUENCES OF A CLASSIC
MISTRANSLATION
Jules Janick
Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue
University,
625 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010
Harry S. Paris
Agricultural Research Organization, Newe Ya’ar Research Center,
P. O. Box 1021, Ramat Yishay 30-095, Israel

ABSTRACT. The fast-growing plant referred to in the biblical Book of Jonah is
most often translated into English as “gourd.” However, this is a mistranslation that dates to the appended Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, in which the Hebrew word qiqayon (castor, Ricinus communis, Euphorbiaceae) was transformed into the somewhat similar-sounding Greek word kolokynthi (colocynth, Citrullus colocynthis). In translation of the Greek into Latin, kolokynthi became the similar-sounding cucurbita (gourd). This is reflected in early iconography, the plant most often depicted being a long-fruited Lagenaria siceraria (bottle or calabash gourd), a fast-growing climber.

The number of 72 translators is likely a mythical number relating to the 72 names of God

The “72 Names of God”

There are three verses in the Old Testament which, in Hebrew, are made up of exactly the same number of letters. These are Exodus 14: 19-21.

14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.

Like much of the Bible, this cannot be regarded as a historical event, but more likely a mythical one. How many Hebrews rely upon the Vulgate? The Vulgate is a Christian document. As well, the later references to cannabis, under the term q’aneh, indicate their was clear motivation for leading Hebrews to suppress the use of cannabis.

Besides this direct evidence of the meaning of the words, there are supporting evidences arguing for a meaning of reed for “qaneh.” The same word, “qaneh,” is also used to describe a measuring reed (Ezekiel 40:5-8; 42:16-19, etc.). If there is any linkage between the use of this word in these passages and the use in the passages Dr. Benet cites, such would further undercut her claims. The reed used for measurement would not have been a hemp plant, but a reed plant. Hemp plants are not known for making measuring rods. (I acknowledge that there may be no connection between the two words, just as there appears to be no connection between the words “bank” in the phrase “bank vault” and “bank” in the phrase “stream bank.”) However, I think more likely that there is some connection and that the same sort of plant was in view. The fact that “qaneh” has a strong correlation to marshland is another supporting reason to translate the word as “calamos,” as the LXX translators did (Job 40:21; Isaiah 19:6 where the word “qaneh” is linked to marshes). Even today, in Hebrew, the words meaning “reed” begins with the word “qaneh.”

See D above, the term q’aneh meaning cane, as in q’aneh bosem, often translated as fragrant cane in modern Bibles, never fragrant reed. As the stiff stalks of plants were used as measuring sticks, which hemp stalks would have been ideal for, and which other cultures likely used it for (such as Assyria and Egypt, as discussed in my forthcoming book) the term q’aneh came to denote many things, such as a “measure” and also plants with cane like stalks, such as reeds.

Dr. Benet states that Solomon purchased hemp cords for construction. However, this claim also is not supported by Scripture. She cites Professor Saltzberger as the source for this conclusion. There is no Scriptural support for Professor Saltzberger’s conclusion. Even if there was, it does nothing to show that “qaneh” means “cannabis.” There is at least one apocryphal story of Solomon forcing a demon to spin hemp (Testament of Solomon, 4:12). But this work also mentions the hill of Golgotha and the cross of Christ. Most scholars agree that it is not of Hebrew origin. And it certainly was not written during the days of Solomon. Finally, it is a fantastical piece, not grounded in truth or reality.

Likewise, some make the argument that there was a requirement to bury the dead in garments of hemp. Again, this is not supported by Scripture.

I thank tim for bringing this to my attention, I was unaware of this and will look further at it. It reminds one of the tale of Rumplestiltskin and his weaving of alchemical gold from worthless straw, (I am currently working on a book about medieval references). There are other ancient Hebrew writings beyond what appear in the Vulgate, and this is likely the source of Kleins comments noted above.

You can take the Strong’s concordance and look at every instance of the word “qaneh” in Scripture, or you can go to e-Sword and do the same thing. You will see that the word fits best as a reed plant. The one place where it may not be a reed plant is in Genesis 41:22 where it is translated “stalk.” It cannot be seen here as a reference to marijuana as marijuana does not have heads of grain and having seven heads on a marijuana plant would not be a sign of super-abundance required by the passage. There is NO evidence that I have been able to uncover that “qaneh” ever was used for marijuana in Scriptures or in ancient or modern Hebrew.

Thanks for noting this reference as well, I must have missed it. Actually the Heads of cannabis have been referred to as heads of grain, and 7 heads on a marijuana plant would be a sign of super-abundance, indeed this imagery brings to mind the menorah, which itself looks very much like a blossoming and glistening hemp plant. In fact, Tim’s reference here disqualifies calamus, as it in no way is considered a grain.

The hemp seed’s use as a food and oil source can be traced back to the very beginnings of civilization. The German researcher Immanuel Low referred to a sixth century Persian name for a preparation of cannabis seed, Sahdanag — Royal Grain; or King’s Grain, which demonstrates the high regard the ancient Persians held for the nutritious oil rich seeds that came from the same plant which provided them with their only means of religious revelation in the form of the drinks banga and haoma.

Sahdanag was generally prepared in the form of a heart shaped cookie, possibly indicating that the ancient Persians recognized the seed’s close relationship with health and vitality(Low, 1925; reprinted 1967).

Sometime after the Persian Empire took control of the ancient world, the Jews adopted this Persian preparation of hemp seed and retained its name of Sahadanag, which is really not so surprising as like their Persian benefactors, the Hebrews already had a long and beneficial relationship with the useful plant, known to them as q’neh. Immanuel Low also suggests that the formerly unidentified Hebrew word, Tzli’q, (Tzaddi, Lamed, Yod, Quoph), makes reference to a Jewish meal of roasted Hemp seeds that was popular into medieval times and was sold by Jews in European markets. (The first part of the name simply means roasted, the final Quoph, an abbreviation of q’aneh).

In regards to Tim’s closing comment, how about now?

Further, even if it was used in anointing oil, that is a far cry from present day inhalation. The oil was used for anointing, not burning. The incense that was burned did not contain “qaneh.” You can check this out for yourself at Exodus 30:34-35, where “qaneh” (sometimes translated “calamus,” or “cane”) is not included in the ingredients of the incense like it is in the ingredients of the anointing oil.blockquote>

Again, untrue. Health Canada has done scientific tests that show transdermal absorption of THC can take place. 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. Based upon a 25mg/g oil Health Canada found skin penetration of THC (33%). “The high concentration of THC outside the skin encourages penetration, which is a function of the difference between outside and inside (where the concentration is essentially zero)” (James Geiwitz, Ph.D, 2001). Moreover, topical preparations of cannabis were used in ancient Egypt, in Afghanistan, by medieval witches, 19th century occultists, and in Ancient Assyria, where its use was not only for medical purposes, put to enable good rapport between man and god.

Further, as noted above, the altar of incense itself was anointed prior to being burnt, so its psychoactive properties would have been added to the incense. As well, later Biblical references, indicate cannabis was used by the Hebrews as an incense as well.

Some will argue that calamus itself is a powerful narcotic. However, as those who study Scripture know, the anointing oil of the priests was not ingested or burned. So unless someone is willing to believe that merely inhaling the scent of the raw calamus is a narcotic, the point that it can be used as a narcotic in other ways is lost to me. The Bible never supports its use as a narcotic.

According to ancient world perfumes expert Nigel Groom, calamus was known as “nard” to the Hebrews.

Ancient calamus “was probably the plant now known as Lemon Grass”
http://books.google.ca/books?id=UYrDPqLVD-kC&pg=PA46&dq=calamus+lemon+gr.
In reference to Lemon Grass (Cymbogon citratus) “It is believed to be the Calamus* of the Greeks and Romans and was the Nard or Spikenard of the Old Testament (Song of Solomon), known as Nerd in Hebrew and Nardos Pistike to the ancient Greeks”
http://books.google.ca/books?id=UYrDPqLVD-kC&pg=PA189&dq=plants+mideast+.

Many have tried other arguments. They argue that marijuana is an herb and and God says in Genesis 1:29 that He has given man every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth. Both of these statements are true. But we cannot run too far in our conclusion from these truths. Crownvetch yields seeds and is poisonous. Nightshade yields seeds and is poisonous. The poinsettia yields seed and is poisonous. Hemlock yields seeds and is poisonous. Every day, we have to choose between plants that are good for us and those that are not. God is not commanding us to eat of every poisonous plant.

But after the fall of man, the ground was cursed and no longer was everything good (Genesis 3:17-18). Scripture makes this abundantly clear in 2 Kings 4:38-41 where a certain person found a wild vine with wild gourds and sliced them into a pot, not knowing that they were poisonous. God did a miracle to cure the pot of the poison. Not every herb was good for eating, as even ancient Israel understood. Any interpretation of Genesis 3:17-18 supporting the use of marijuana equally can be used to support the use of hemlock. It is a bad argument.

Cannabis is not poisonous, I challenge Tim to identify a single documented death from cannabis. In fact cannabis is an accepted healing medicine, now recognized by the AMAhttp://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/ama-ends-72-year-policy-says-m. . The Modern medical marijuana pioneer, Dr. Todd Mikuriya recorded over 250 indications for the use of cannabis (2005). A review of modern medical literatures identifies an established effect from cannabis in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, lack of appetite, glaucoma, movement disorders, neorogenic pain, Crohn’s disease and other bowel disorders, asthma, epilepsy, skin diseases, autism, multiple sclerosis, skin tumours, and a variety of other ailments (Mikuriya, M.D. 1973, Grinspoon, M.D. & Bakalar 1993). Further, the role of cannabis as a medicine dating back to most ancient times, including in India, has been well documented (Russo, 2005, 2007; Mikuriya, 1973, Abel 1983) and the plant has a long held and widespread history as a folk medicine as well.19 There are numerous books by various physicians on the medicinal use of cannabis, and in recent years, a number of national and international groups have been successfully lobbying for unfettered access to cannabis for patients who wish to use it in treatment of their illness or chronic pain.

In a recent news story Expert Testifies Cannabis Helps Slow Aging’, Dr. Robert Melamede, a University of Colorado at Colorado Springs biology professor, and former head of the UCCS biology department stated that:

“You can look at the harm caused by free radicals as biological friction or biological rust and the endocannabinoid20 system minimizes the impact of that and directly acts as an antioxidant21 as well as modifying the biochemistry in a way that minimizes the impacts,” said Melamede outside court Thursday, likening endocannabinoids to humans like oil is to cars. He said if you don’t have lubrication in your car, your car breaks. In the human body, the damage comes in the form of age-related diseases.

“I’m saying what science has now shown is that marijuana and cannabinoids are effective anti-aging agents which means that they are effective in minimizing the onset and the severity of age-related illnesses which include cognitive dysfunction things like Alzheimers,22 cardiovascular disease, be it heart attacks, strokes, or clogged arteries,” he said. (Newham, 2008)

As another recent news story recorded of cannabis’ potential rejuvenating qualities:

Marijuana may live up to be “the elixir of life” for brain cells

“A study by University of Saskatchewan researchers suggests beneficial aspects of smoking marijuana at least among rats, who appear to have sprouted new brain cells and besides benefiting from reduced depression and anxiety. The study’s results appearing in the ‘Journal of Clinical Investigation’23 have actually given a fillip to the traditional and mythological view that associates the addictive weed in some ways with immortality.”

“The Canadian researchers led by Xia Zhang, suggested that the illicit substance marijuana actually may promote new brain cells in region of the brain called the hippocampus that is associated with memory. They concluded that marijuana was possibly “the only illicit drug whose capacity to produce increased neurons is positively correlated with its (anti-anxiety) and anti-depressant-like effects”.

“For the study, the researchers injected laboratory rats two times everyday for 10 days with HU210, a synthetic cannabinoid chemical (obtained from marijuana) and evaluated them against a normal group. The rats that underwent the HU210 injections developed new nerve cells in the brain’s hippocampus dentate gyrus region of the brain that facilitates memory development. The injections also appeared to counter depression and anxiety, but could not be held as 100 percent akin to smoking marijuana, which the researchers felt would require additional studies.

“Zhang suggested that the study did indicate that marijuana could have its medical uses particularly “for the treatment of anxiety and depression”. But these results are unlikely to buy the favor with the US administration or the possibility of legalization on medical grounds. In fact only recently the US Supreme Court ruled against marijuana growth or possession for medical reasons.

“Unlike most addictive drugs that are known to inhibit the development of new neurons, causing loss of memory and impairing learning on chronic use, it appears that marijuana or ganja may actually be the mythological “elixir of eternal life” that Indian gods churned from the oceans. A sharp contrast from ordinary addictive substances, the researchers suggested that marijuana’s neurogenetic properties may actually be unique given that the rats showed some correlation between their cannabinoid treatments, the increased nerve genesis and their altered stress or anxiety levels.

“Marijuana that has traditionally been used by many cultures over centuries “for medical and recreational purpose”, as the researchers suggest appears to be able to modulate pain, nausea, vomiting, epilepsy, stroke, cerebral trauma and variety of other disorders both for humans and animals alike. But it maybe several more studies before the mysterious benefits of marijuana that currently stand shrouded in tradition and mythology, become accepted by the modern scientific world. (Ravi, Chopra, Earthtimes, Oct. 15, 2005)24

In reference to this, it is worth noting that the Fulla Nayak, who may have been the world’s oldest woman, was a copious cannabis smoker, and attributed her great age to her use of the herb:

1. ARABIAN NIGHTS

2.Calamus is a common marsh plant that can be found throughout the middle east, and hardly fits in with the exotic character of the other ingredients in the holy ointment, (Bennett, etc. all 1995). Although calamus itself, is said to contain some psycho-active alkaloids, and its use for these purposes has been reported(Ott 1993, Schultes & Hoffman 1979). Alternatively, Michael V. Fox, saw the Hebrew references to qaneh as “‘cane’: Cymbopogon martini or Andropogon nardus”(Fox 1985). The one other argument against Kannabosm being hemp, that I am aware of, appears in Ernest Abel’s MARIHUANA: THE FIRST 12,000 YEARS. Abel stated that the Kanna-bosm in Exodus 30:23 ‘suggest sugar rather than cannabis’ and stated that the references referred to a ‘sweet tasting’ plant, rather than a ‘sweet smelling’ plant (Abel 1980). But, the Hebrew word bosm, definitely refers to fragrance rather than taste, (Strong 1979). Also, as pointed out in an earlier work (Bennett etc. all 1995), and as Dale Pendell has expressed in his very entertaining PHARMAKO/POEIA, sugarcane would have no place in an ointment. Sugar cane would cause the whole mixture to become a gummy mass that would also be susceptible to contamination from micro-organisms. Such a sticky mixture would hardly have been suitable for a Holy anointing oil. As the later writer of Ecclesiastes commented “Dead flies make the ointment of the perfumer fetid and putrid. “(Ecc. 10:1), such a fate would surely befall any ointment containing sugar cane.

3. Latimer, D., ‘Crimes of the Ancient Mariners’., In High Times. May 1988

4. (Meissner 1932-33,Benetowa 1936, Frisk 1960-72, Benet 1975, Schultes & Hoffman 1979, Abel 1982, Bennett et. al. 1995, etc.). L.Lewin suggests that qunubu was derived from the East Iranian word for cannabis konaba, and through the Scythians spreading the use of the plant throughout much of the ancient world, the word eventually became our modern cannabis.

5. From a translation in (Waterman 1930).

6. The ointment was mixed in the large cauldrons required for the extensive ingredients, and the sacred craft of making the holy ointment was passed down through a guild of Perfumers (de Waal 1994). Possibly, the Hebrews placed all the ingredients of the Holy Oil into such cauldrons, along with a quantity of water, and then boiled all the ingredients together, later separating the Holy oil which would be imbued with the oil soluble properties of the other ingredients, such as the psycho-active resin of the cannabis that was used. As well double-rimmed earthenware pots used for distillation have been found in the Ancient Near East, dating as far back as 3,000 B.C.. “The raw material would be placed between two rims, and a lid put over the vessel. A solvent (water or oil) would be boiled in the bottom pot: the vapor would condense on the lid, run down over the raw material, extract the ingredient sought, and drip back into the bottom of the pot. The principle was in fact that of the coffee perculator” (Saggs 1969).

7. Where the holy oil would be burned alongside other fragrant incenses.

8. This amount varies according to the version of the Bible. For instance the New International translation lists a temple shekel as equaling 11.5 grams. In any event, the amount weighs in between 7.5 and 9 pounds.

9. “. the altar of incense, by its thirteen kinds of sweet-smelling spices. signified that God is possessor of all things that are both in the uninhabitable and habitable parts of the earth, and that they are all dedicated to his use.”(Josephus 37-95 A.D. ).

10. Allegro goes on to suggests that the image of the smoke pillar spreading out at its top, resembles a mushroom and because of this resemblance, the amanita muscaria is a likely candidate for the secret “herb”, but a mushroom is an unlikely candidate for incense, as they stink when burned, and wouldn’t produce a psycho-active smoke. In a footnote to the above Allegro states that the secret of the incense “was in the hands of one family, Abtinos, who had a room in the precincts of the Temple for their compounding.”(Allegro 1970).

11. Pharmacological Cults, Alcohol and Drug Consumption.[emphasis added].

12. Quoted in MARIJUANA AND THE BIBLE, (1981).

13. THE INTERNATIONAL LIBRARY OF REFERENCE, A COMPENDIUM OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE, from a quote in (Bennett, etc. al. 1995)..

14. Under the title “Olibanum’, religious scholar Dr.Marinus de Waal also comments on the intoxicating resin from Boswelia; ” The grains are brittle, pale yellow and dull. When heated they partially melt and exude an intoxicating but very pleasant smell.”(de Waal 1994)[emphasis added, our footnote].

15. As well be discussed later, similar aphrodisiac qualities are attributed to cannabis as well.

16. The singular word meaning cannabis, and translated as “cane”, as opposed to the more specific q’aneh-bosm, “fragrant-cane”

17. Prior to this, God’s list of preparation for building and appointing the ark of the covenant included ‘spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense.’ (EXODUS 25:6). A statement that indicates a similarity in contents.

18. The description of this technique is obviously quite similar to the ancient inscription of Essarhadon’s incense tent that we connected with the sacred qunubu- Tree of Life in the opening chapters.

19. “In Argentina cannabis is considered a real panacea for tetanus, melancholia, colic, gastralgia, swelling of the liver, gonorrhoea, sterility, impotency, abortion, tuberculosis of the lungs and asthma. In Argentina even the root-bark has been collected in spring, and employed as a febrifuge, tonic, for treatment of dysentery and gastralgia, either pulverized or in form of decoctions. The root when ground and applied to burns is said to relieve pain. Oil from the seeds has been frequently used even in treatment of cancer; we have also come across this application in European folk medicine. Also in Argentina, in folk medicine, hemp shoots extracted with butter (Extr. Cannabis ind. pingue) are supposed to have a powerful hashish effect, it is believed already, in an amount of 0.1 g; it is employed as a remedy in the Basedow disease. The ethereal extract is less active, and in Argentina it is administered for headache, neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, chorea, melancholia, hysteria, delirium, gastralgia and anorexia. The aqueous macerated product has no narcotic effect at all, and is employed for treatment of tuberculosis of the lungs and as a hypnotic for children and to relieve spastic constipation. An infusion of the leaves is considered to possess a diuretic and a diaphoretic effect. In Europe we also come across many of these uses. Thus Graemer (cit. Dinand) recommends the following for treatment of gastralgia: 0.75 g Extr. Cannabis ind., 10 g ether; 10 drops daily on sugar. For rheumatism a decoction of leaves (15-20 g/0.5 1) is taken internally, and externally poultices prepared of seeds and packings of shreds or tow are used. In Brazil hemp is considered to be a sedative, hypnotic and antiasthmatic remedy. A pronounced antibiotic effect has been observed in South America, where fresh leaves after being ground are used as a poultice for furuncles, and in folk medicine in Europe for treatment of erysipelas (Dinand). Even seed pulp is applied in such cases, but as there are no antibiotics in the seeds we must assume that there is another therapeutic factor involved. In the popular treatment of headache, the plant is preserved in vinegar together with juniper, and the extract is used in form of compresses. Githens and also Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk report on the utilization of cannabis (dagga) in South Africa. There it is smoked because of its narcotic action, but it is also used medicinally. Next to the effect upon the central nervous system we find a considerable use as an antibiotic. For example, the Xosa tribe employs it for treatment of inflammation of the feet. In Southern Rhodesia it is a remedy for anthrax, sepsis, dysentery, malaria and for tropical quinine-malarial haemoglobinuria. The Suto tribe fumigates the parturient woman to relieve pain. These analgetic, sedative and antibiotic properties of cannabis in internal and external application are well known to African tribes.” (Kableik, 1955)

20. Endocannabinoids are indigenous cannibinoid like substances in the human body. Cannibinoids found in cannabis are able to mimic the similar endocannibinoids in the human body.

21. US Patent 6630507 – Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants
Abstract – Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention. A particular disclosed class of cannabinoids useful as neuroprotective antioxidants is formula (I) wherein the R group is independently selected from the group consisting of H, CH3, and COCH3. ##STR1##

23. Cannabinoids promote embryonic and adult hippocampus neurogenesis and produce anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects, (JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION, Volume 115, Issue 11, November 1, 2005)

25. Fulla Nayak herself claimed to be 125, but her photo identity card issued by the government in 1995 lists her age as 120 years Wikipedia names the world’s oldest woman as Jeanne Clement, died in 1997 at age 122. “Fulla is certain it is the pot that made her reach a Guinness World Record breaking age, and her grandson, Narayan, said he wanted to write to the Guinness World Record authorities and get his grandmothers name in its deserved spot” (Kane, 2009).

It should be note that Sula Benet herself, missed a very important point regarding the Indo-European roots of the term cannabis, and instead tried to id