Cantheism - A religion centered around marijuana

Published May 6, 2019 09:11 a.m. ET
Canadian Press, Christopher Katsarov

Most people that hear the word cannabis these days will immediately associate it’s use with a more recreational base. Though there are now many patients, who are receiving incredibly effective care in the form of cannabinoids, either alone or in conjunction with other treatments. It’s rare to associate smoking weed or the marijuana plant with any one specific religion. Recreational weed has gone through a roller-coaster over societal acceptance throughout history. Sometimes being adored and openly used, while others it was criminalized and demonized, and these roots of this movement date as far back as the world oldest ancient texts. An ancient biblical scripture is currently the oldest known record of smoking weed. An action that was called for to form a type of religious connection to god and the earth. Knowing all this, it’s no surprise that even now, there are still entire religions that are based around the marijuana plant.

What is Cantheism?

The term Cantheism is a noun that is used to describe a religion that uses smoking weed or some way of consuming a weed plant as a sacrament. The word was originally coined by Chris Conrad in 1996 and was spelled Kantheism which eventually evolved into Cantheism.

What does the religion Cantheism entail?

In the same year Conrad coined the term, he also wrote the Canthesist Creed which included many relatable recreational weed based rules including:

  • We offer cannabis to ease suffering and add balance to life.
  • We share cannabis in thanksgiving and respect.
  • We act with integrity as well as honesty to keep fellow Cannatheists safe.
  • Inhale and pass it along.

As you can likely tell, a large portion of this religion was based around both growing and smoking weed, and it gets even better from there. The sharing of the communion is to be done a particular way that honors the marijuana plant as it is smoked.

Here is a quote from the sharing and communion instructions:

“Place your left hand over your heart, take a breath, and pass the sacrament to the right using only the right hand.”

If you are experienced in cannabis culture than it probably sounds eerily similar to other common sayings like “puff, puff, pass” or “always pass to the right. That’s because Chris was just a regular guy who felt out of place in his traditional Christian church and held a deep passion for the marijuana plant and all of its potential benefits.

Unfortunately, despite Conrad calling on every use of the marijuana plant as a sacrament in Egypt, Thrace, India, the Middle East, and ancient Scythia in defense of many of his clients who were facing trial. He was quickly convinced to discontinue the promulgating of a weed plant-based religion to protect his political investments. Though the religion was almost instantly put on hold, Chris went on to help pass Proposition 64 which decriminalized possessing or smoking recreational weed for adults in California and triggered the booming industry that is still seen across the region today. Later, he and many others began regular public gatherings with like-minded Cantheists every Sunday. Many of whom still meet up and uphold the the sacrament of the marijuana just over 20 years later.

Some people confuse the Rastafarian culture for Cantheism, but the two are very different in origin, context, beliefs, and practices. There are however several other weed plant-based religions that are doing quite well including the THC Ministry, the Church of Holy Smoke, the International Church of Cannabis, and several other smaller sectors of an organization that all practice their form or interpretation of Cantheism. There are absolutely no specific qualifications or goals required to align yourself with this spiritual practice which maintains every person is welcome policy as long as you are willing to partake in a little marijuana plant sacrament with some wonderful people every Sunday around noon. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? For more information on Cantheism check out www.churchofcantheism.org where you can find a list of ministries and local gatherings in your area.

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