Where Is Hemp Mentioned In The Bible?

 a bible open against a dark background with the pages blowing in a breeze possibly mentioning marajuana in the Bible

Did you know that the history of hemp dates back to before Biblical times? Therefore, many scholars believe you can find hemp and cannabis in the Bible. But where is hemp mentioned in the Bible? Well, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that this is quite a complex issue full of nuance. Although scholars have differing opinions about the subject, there are certainly a few passages that mention a “plant of renown” or describe a hemp-like plant.

I’m not saying that Moses was strutting around in hemp shorts (although I’m sure he’d pull them off). Most of the mentions talk about ingestible plants or using a special plant for medicinal uses.

Since you can’t control+F ``hemp” in your online bible to find it, I’ve taken a deep dive for you! I’ve delved into the history of hemp, from it's earliest uses in items like hemp rope and beyond. I was able to place it into some Biblical context and found some pretty cool facts about hemp to share along the way. Then, we’ll talk about mentions of cannabis and hemp in the Bible. By the end, you’ll be able to determine for yourself if and where is hemp mentioned in the Bible.


a person holding up a cannabis leaf backlit against a setting sun to create a lot of contrast

The cannabis plant first evolved over 28 million years ago in Central Asia, but it was 4000 years ago that Chinese farmers started growing it to make different hemp products like oil, rope, and hemp paper.

The cannabis plant wasn’t used for its psychoactive properties at this point although there is some evidence that people did burn it during cultural rituals. Also note that hemp and marijuana do come from the same cannabis plant, but have different levels of THC.

However, about 2500 years ago, the Sogdian people of western China wrote 5-star reviews for cannabis’ mind-altering powers. Funnily enough, they actually hot-boxed to take in the effects by burning it in a small, enclosed space and inhaling the funky fumes.

The use of cannabis and hemp stayed mainly in the Central Asia region until the Silk Road linked hemp in China to people in the Middle East in around 400 BCE. The Scythians of Eastern Europe described a plant that when you burned it and inhaled the smoke, would cause you to “shout for joy.”

With the help of traders along the Silk Road, hemp started to spread to places like Greece, Rome, North Africa, and Siberia. That takes us to Biblical times in the Middle East.


an ancient gate and courtyard in Jerusalem that is tan and sepia toned against a backdrop of a lush green forested area

With the Silk Road bringing exotic goods from foreign lands to Jerusalem in biblical times, it makes sense that hemp was present.

The hot-boxing Sogdian people were trader-extraordinaries along the Silk Road and travelled throughout the Middle East and Jerusalem at the time of the Bible. In fact, they are largely responsible for spreading Christianity throughout Asia along the Silk Road from the 4th-8th century.

We also have chemical proof of cannabis-burning taking place at the Judahite Shrin of Arab, a Biblical fortress, for people to take part in its psychoactive properties.

cave from inside with light shining in, used for incense in Biblical times meaning there could be marajuana in the Bible

Apart from making use of the plants’ mind-altering abilities, people near Jerusalem during Biblical times also used hemp fibers to make things like hemp rope.

There’s also writings from Gnostic people, a sect of Christianity that was persecuted by the Roman government, who were alive during the time of Christ. These writings detail the use of cannabis as incense by Jesus himself.

With all of these different accounts of cannabis being used for rituals, incense, and for hemp fibers during Biblical times, it’s not hard to believe that the authors of the Bible were also familiar with the cannabis plant, but where is hemp mentioned in the Bible specifically? And is marajuana in the Bible?


an open bible laying flat surrounded by green and purple pants

With such a long history of use, it makes sense that you could find marijuana and hemp in the Bible. Neither hemp nor marijuana is mentioned by those respective names in the Bible, but many religious scholars believe that they are mentioned throughout by their use or other names. I break it down a bit more below.


Below you’ll find all of the possible places where hemp is mentioned or could be referred to. I’m not a religious scholar, I’m just a hemp underwear blog writer, so don’t @ me!

Genesis 1:29

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon all the face of the Earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.”

Here it’s detailed that God put all of the plants on the planet for our use, including the cannabis plant. Some scholars believe that because He specifically said it should be for food that cannabis is left out, but others believe that any type of consumption could be relevant (including smoking).

Also, as many of us know, you can eat the cannabis plant or its oils, so this argument can be countered with that.

a lush greenhouse filled with plants like ripe red tomatoes on the wine with a green watering can on the ground

Genesis 9:3

“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

Again, this mentioned how God gave people “the green plants” for us to use. The same critique from Genesis 1:29 applies here as again, it’s stated to be used for food specifically.

Isaiah 18:4

“For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

Because of the historical use of the cannabis plant being burnt to induce a high during this time period, some scholars believe that the mention of “a clear heat upon herbs” is a reference to this practice.

a Bible laying open on a dirty picnic table with one passage highlighted by a green highlighter marker

Exodus 30:8

“He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps at twilight so incense will burn regularly before the LORD for the generations to come.”

Again, because of the common burning of the entire cannabis plant for incense at the time of Christ, this could easily be mentioning hemp or marijuana in the Bible.

Exodus 30:22-26

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekels—and a hin 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.”

One of the main theories behind marijuana in the Bible is the idea that “calamus,” a plant mentioned throughout the Bible, is actually “cannabis” mistranslated. With that theory in mind, here we have God giving Moses a recipe for a holy anointing oil with cannabis in it. According to writings by the Gnostic people I mentioned above, Jesus used an anointing oil with cannabis in it to treat people with diseases such as epilepsy or chronic pain. This is particularly interesting because there’s a lot of research happening now about the use of cannabis to, you guessed it, treat symptoms of both epilepsy and chronic pain.

a bunch of ripe green olives on the wine with lots of green leaves covered in drops of water from a recent rain

Song of Songs 4:13-15

“Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.”

Here, King Solomon is describing his new wife very poetically by comparing her to a lush garden with the best plants, including “calamus,” which some believe is cannabis by another name. Would I be very pleased if my betrothed compared me to a marijuana garden? Probably not, but to each their own.


a bible open a laying flat on a white table surrounded by various plants, dark soil, and a coffee cup and French press

Throughout the Bible, we see mentions of a plant called calamus that many people believe is cannabis mistranslated. We also can include hemp and marijuana in the Bible whenever God mentions all of the plants He gave to us to consume, or whenever people mention burning incense as cannabis was commonly used during this time for that purpose.

With so many translations and versions of the Bible and lost accompanying texts from the time of Christ, there’s a lot of room for interpretation when reading the Bible. While these passages are commonly quoted as where hemp and marijuana is mentioned in the Bible, it’s up to each of us to determine what we believe.

What do you think about marijuana and hemp in the Bible? Do you think there’s a basis for believing it was used by Jesus and His followers? Let me know!

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