Jesus laughing while high
No word yet on if they found ancient Cheetos or Funyuns at the religious site.

West of the Dead Sea, nestled in the unforgiving and rocky Negev desert, hidden deep within the fortified remains of what was once an ancient Canaanite city and surrounded by bronze age ruins, lay a pair of limestone altars containing an extraordinary archaeological find: burnt cannabis.

The site, called the “Holiest of the Holies”, was discovered in 1963 in the Beersheba Valley in Israel’s Tel Arad. The archaeological site is divided into an upper and lower chamber, and within is a shrine dedicated to Yahweh.

For decades, scientists wondered what the burnt substance on the altars was - initial analyses in the 60s proved inconclusive. But with the wonders of modern science, we now know: it’s cannabis. Further analysis showed that there was indeed enough cannabis to get those in the room properly stoned. 

The information provides some insight into ancient Jewish rituals, and how the world’s most popular mind-altering plant might have fit in.

Blaze Be Unto Him

The findings may just recontextualize how historians view these ancient religious rituals. "We know from all around the Ancient Near East and around the world that many cultures used hallucinogenic materials and ingredients in order to get into some kind of religious ecstasy," stated Eran Arie, an archeological curator at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

"We never thought about Judah taking part in these cultic practices. The fact that we found cannabis in an official cult place of Judah says something new about the cult of Judah."

After all, they’re fairly certain that they weren’t simply burning cannabis for the lovely scent.

"If you really wanted only the odor or the fragrance of cannabis, you could've burned sage. Only when you are burning cannabis are the [psychoactive ingredients] released into the air. So it's not a matter of smell like with the frankincense; it's a matter of the ecstasy and the hallucinogenic effects from the burning cannabis,” Arie said.

Used the World Over

This is hardly the first time the psychoactive effects from cannabis have been used in religious ritual.

Cannabis was used by many pagan and shamanistic cultures to aid in religious enlightenment or to achieve deep thought, ancient Taoist texts make reference to using the plant in censers, and during the popular festival Holi, Hindus consume a substance called bhang, made from cannabis, milk, and assorted spices.

It's a substance used the world over in religious rituals, so it actually shouldn't come as that big of a surprise it was used in ancient Jewish rituals as well.

As the move to legalize it grows in the United States, some as even taking their love of the plant and turning that into a faith all its own. In April 20th, 2017 the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors. The Elevationists (as they call themselves) seek self-improvement and enlightenment through the use of cannabis. They host daily meetings of the congregation in a repurposed Lutheran church complete with a repainted ceiling. And while they've been accused of simply using the church as an excuse to get stoned, they refute that. "If that were the case, this would be an expensive and inefficient way to get stoned," said one member, Lee Molloy. "We're interested in building something larger here a community that supports each other as we each discover our own paths."

After all, aren't they following in a storied religious tradition, practiced by many faiths the world over?

What do you think? With the knowledge that faiths 'round the globe have used cannabis for centuries to seek deeper truths, and knowing that Congress is (again) considering nationwide legalization, where do you stand?

Should we legalize it?


  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. We all know the Book of Revelation was written on the Isle of Patmos, well know for centuries for its Shrooms, and still is. When you know this fact, it helps to realize why it’s difficult to read/understand. The writer was presumably as high as a kite. Hallucinations can make one believe anything, and continues to do so.


    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      The use of Mandrake, another hallucinogen was also mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Combine Mandrake with mushrooms, and marijuana, and what do you get? Proselytizing!!! And seeing things that nobody else can, like gods, angels, leprechauns, and maybe even winged monkeys. However, there's a good chance of seeing fairies, dragons, and unicorns when we're clean and sober, in places like Camelot.

  1. Catherine's Avatar Catherine

    Great explanation for all the crazy in the bible amid other stories and doctrines. If Judah's cult smoked it, why not others?

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    so what...they smoked it in india, they use peyote in Native American religions, they did the same thing in south American.

    SO what is your point exactly if you have one

    1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      Well former AG Sessions was supposedly a devout follower of Christ, yet he was also vocal against all plants like the good green because he was clearly a vile little gnome who hated humanity.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      And fried brains like yours Daniel child is a perfect example of how all those substances, and a whole lot more, are used and abused right here in the USA.

    3. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Does little Danny even know who he's addressing with this comment, which seems a bit out of context.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    What we do know is that the biblical god loved people to be stoned. Just sayin'! 😷


    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      He's got quite a morbid sense of humor, doesn't he, Lionheart? That makes me wonder if him and Jesus are also into S&M, and take turns throwing stones at eachother.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        That wouldn’t surprise me Carl, we do know he was very much into bondage, and condoned slavery, and we also know whips and floggers were often used, especially by the self flagellaters.


  1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

    No mention of carbon dating of the weed residue. Could be from ... ?

    But, so what?

    1. Matthew Beckett's Avatar Matthew Beckett

      Like two weed carbon molecules going out to dinner and a movie?

      And what if that carbon dating led to carbon marriage?! Then what? Oh gawd, it's dizzying to think about!

      1. Minister Mike's Avatar Minister Mike

        I'm not sure if I agree with carbon dating - too much like same sex marriage.🤦‍♂️

  1. Robert Gandel's Avatar Robert Gandel

    Yahweh is a Christian word and not appropriate to anything Jewish. That Hebrew word is not spoken to this day.

    1. Ilmenheru Terikson's Avatar Ilmenheru Terikson

      No Yah, and Weh were both older gods that clearly were the source of the later gods concept being created through an amalgamation. Something we see done constantly through history by faith tradtions.

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        And don't forget about the horned god, the god; the god of the hunt; the consort of the goddess. And it has been said that my goddess gave birth to your god. If you read The Wiccan Mysteries by Raven Grimassi you might learn that Wicca and Paganism were around long before Judaism was ever thought of.

      2. Matthew Beckett's Avatar Matthew Beckett

        Sounds like stoner gods to me.

        "This bud is dank, yo!"



        Add the god, "Whoa!" to them and we have the trinity.

        1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

          It sounds like jibberish to me. I believe that's also called talking in tongues; the prayer of those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

  1. Robert Gandel's Avatar Robert Gandel

    Yahweh is a Christian word and not appropriate to anything Jewish. That Hebrew word is not spoken to this day.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      You could have fooled me. I thought I was only reading English words, written in English.

  1. Thom's Avatar Thom


  1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher


    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      And it's one of the best smells ever, John. I sure wish they'd start making marijuana air freshener.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    It looks like Thom learned a new word. However Thom, it would be in your best interest to know all the definitions of the words you use. You might not know it, but some people are offended by being called a dude. I'm not one of them. You can call me anything, just don't call me later for dinner, if it's free.

    1. David Ciambrone's Avatar David Ciambrone

      Some people are professionally offended. Those who are offended at the slightest thing are a pain in the neck.

    2. Matthew Beckett's Avatar Matthew Beckett

      Would it have helped if he said, "Far out, dude!"? That's what I got out of his brief one word comment. A simple stoner statement. Back at ya, dude...or dudette.

      Hopefully that free dinner includes Cheetos and Munchies...and a lot of Mt. Dew.

  1. Peter Bradshaw's Avatar Peter Bradshaw

    Shame John Allegro didn't know about it.

  1. Mackeshaw Escamilla's Avatar Mackeshaw Escamilla

    WE ARE ALL CHILDREN OF THE SAME UNIVERSE... Find the good in you and refuse to let the bad take over .

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      It's not good to be all good. It's better to achieve and maintain balance, without hurting anyone, or anything.

      1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

        AYE CARL AYE !

  1. Maria's Avatar Maria

    Well, legalize or not isn’t the question here. The question should be...Were the people who wrote the Bible all stoned? Were they all hallucinating that Moses parted the sea or performed all the so called miracles they said he did? Did Jesus cure people and really rise from the dead or was he just stoned? Does God and the Devil really exist? If miracles happened back then, why don’t they happen now? Is the entire Bible written by a bunch of pot heads?

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      To tell you the truth Maria, it's really more fun to smoke weed when and where it's illegal.

  1. Matthew Beckett's Avatar Matthew Beckett

    Not a huge fan of the Bible, but having smoked a stupid amount and variety of marijuana, chalking up the Bible as written from hallucinations from smoking weed is silly. I know of nobody under the influence of Mary Jane having hallucinations...not myself, or anyone I ever smoked with. LSD, shrooms, peyote, DMT, maybe, but weed, nope. Some of the comments on here remind me of a Reefer Madness perspective, or like a lot of drug counselors who've never touched a drug In their life. Just sayin'.

    1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      Marijuana slows the perception of the passage of time, Matthew. That is a hallucination., and has happened to me every one of the many thousands of times I've smoked it, between the ages of eleven and now fifty eight. Hallucinations aren't limited to seeing things that aren't really there. I only saw something that could not have really been there one time after smoking weed, when I was fourteen, so I strongly suspect that it must have been laced with something.

    2. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

      There's no such thing as a stupid amount of marijuana, Matthew. The more you smoke, the smarter you'll be.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    A lot easier to tell the people that this is the word of God when they are high as a kite. One never had to worry about lung cancer since most never lived past 40. The smoke did another thing. It cover the stench of the worshipers themselves. A problem in Christians churches as well. One reason that in a Muslim Mosque everyone washes their feet before entering.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    The only thing I know of that can cause lung cancer from smoking Richard, is tobacco. Marijuana does not cause lung cancer, and I've never heard of a scientific study which concluded it causes any kind of cancer. However, it does have a lot of health benefits.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    In 1984, the invention of anti-perspirant changed the smell of the world. Before then, we all stunk, but didn't know it. We only knew that we shouldn't be down wind of someone who was raising an arm.

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    Salvia Divinorum is another high quality smoke which can produce spiritual and religious experiences. And if you eat a lot of nutmeg you'll see things, too. You could even see Jesus rising from the dead, if your into that.

  1. Rafael Picon's Avatar Rafael Picon

    Certainly helps to see Yahweh when your on something

  1. Richard Albert Heyse's Avatar Richard Albert Heyse

    Mild indulgence can free the mind, release us from our inhibitions and bring us closer to our true spiritual beings. I believe this is why they were used. One thing that can hinder us from bonding with our spiritual selves is technology. Hey yes it's good in many ways, such as this forum, but over reliance on technology instead of allowing our minds to fully expand and explore makes us spiritually weaker. But that's me taking the subject matter on a totally different tangent

  1. Christian's Avatar Christian

    All things are possible, but not all things are beneficial.

  1. Angel's Avatar Angel

    Yes, people have been using different plants since the beginning of time...Geez, who writes this stuff?

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