Is it Okay for Christians to Use Medical Marijuana?

Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

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Being a Christian who suffers from multiple sclerosis, I am confused. I know that there is a general acceptance of antidepressant drugs, and these drugs definitely alter brain chemicals. But what about using marijuana to treat my symptoms? If it could help with the spasms associated with MS, as it is purported to do, it would be something I would really want to check out. But if this drug is associated with the occult from ancient times, I would run (as fast as I can). Can you sort this out for me Roger?

Sincerely, MS Sufferer

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Dear Sufferer,

My personal opinion is simple: “Take the medical marijuana and get relief!”

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Of course, let me say from the beginning that I am not a medical doctor. I suggest that you talk with your doctor before you proceed with anything.

On the positive side, limited evidence suggests that medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, can reduce nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, improve appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, and reduce chronic pain and muscle spasms.

On the negative side, long-term use concerns include memory and cognition problems, the risk of addiction, and schizophrenia in young people.

I imagine that the pain relief and alleviation of your numerous MS issues might easily outweigh the risks.

Some associate marijuana with witchcraft and the occult. I believe that if used for that purpose, it is spiritually dangerous. However, this in no way means that it is inappropriate for you to use it for relief from your pain.

People whose thyroids are not producing enough triiodothyronine and thyroxine take thyroid hormonal supplements to compensate.

People have no trouble taking hydrocodone for pain. It seems to me that you should not hesitate to take medical marijuana to alleviate some of your MS pains and symptoms.

By the way, marijuana is a naturally occurring organic plant—just like aspirin. 

Salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, has helped to alleviate headaches, pain, and fevers since antiquity. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (460 - 377 BC) left historical records describing the medical use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to facilitate healing.

I would not tout publicly your medicinal marijuana use. I think that some Christians might criticize you for it. So, keep it to yourself. 

Already, 25 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. I hope you live in one of those states so you have a choice. If not, well, that is another issue.

I hope this helps.

Love, Roger

Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

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