Most people know about cannabis being used for recreational and medicinal purposes, but it's a little-known fact that cannabis also has some religious uses. In fact, the use of marijuana for spiritual or religious purposes is super ancient, with some cultures claiming that the herb has the ability to deliver enlightenment and guidance. Here's a closer look at some world religions and their application of the green stuff:

Marijuana and Buddhism

People who practice Buddhism in Tibet have an ancient tradition of using the plant for spiritual purposes. The Gautama Buddha, founder of the Buddhist religion in fifth century BC, supposedly lived on nothing but a single hemp seed per day while on his journey to enlightenment. Even nowadays art depicting the buddha sometimes shows him holding cannabis leaves. Ingesting cannabis was, and still is, believed to heighten a Buddhists awareness throughout the ceremony, prayer, and meditation.

Marijuana and Paganism

in Norse mythology, it was believed that the cannabis plant had within it the feminine energies of their love and fertility goddess, Freyja. Old texts claim that by consuming cannabis, a person would be opening themselves up to Freyja's essence. The plant was also used during fertility rituals, and clothes made from hemp were often given as gifts.

Marijuana and Hinduism

The Vedas are an incredibly important large body of texts used by Hindus in their religion and, according to them, cannabis is one of five sacred plants that is believed to hold a guardian angel within its leaves. The texts reference the plant as a source of joy and freedom, that was lovingly given to people to tantalize the senses and diminish fear. In fact, it is often said that Shiva himself made cannabis from his own body in order to purify the elixir of life, which supposedly resulted in the epithet angaja or body-born. Some people think this is where the word ganja derives.

Marijuana and Rastafarianism

Rastafarianism is a rather contemporary religion, developed only in the 1930s. The religion places heavy emphasis on rejecting materialism and oppression, and largely involves the use of cannabis in various religious ceremonies. Rastafari belief states that cannabis heightens consciousness and gets rid of negative energies.

Cannabis was and still is, used for a whole variety of reasons across a whole myriad of different religions. One common theme is that the herb was and is -- thought to relax and pleasure, something I'm sure we can all agree on.

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