Most Christians reject use of marijuana as sinful. I agree that if you’re not abiding by the law, you’re in the wrong. But what if you have permission from a licensed physician, and aren’t hurting anybody else? Recently I met a brother who obtains marijuana candy bars from the doctor.

It’s hard to advise from a distance, but generally speaking the advice of a physician is the better part of wisdom. Self-medication is not. Proverbs 31 is the classic text for analgesics of various kinds. Yet we should hesitate to encourage medication if there is another route to wholeness—prayer, discussion, exercise, diet, worship. The normal caveats about use of any strong substance apply: escapism, effects on others, addiction, funding crime.

All the balancing truths of the Bible must be taken into account:

  • Much of Jesus' ministry was concerned with alleviating pain and suffering. There’s nothing inherently wrong with medication.
  • Character formation should be emphasized, not its deferment, which easily happens when drug dependence is fostered.
  • Some sins do not obviously hurt others, yet non-harm isn’t the sole criterion for morality. (Private vanity or profanity is still unrighteous.)
  • Human legislation does not make sin permissible in God’s sight. Human laws seldom call us to the standard of God's word. (Laws regulate divorce, prostitution, and pornography, yet that doesn’t exempt us from God’s call to holiness.)

For further study on the short- and long-term effects of marijuana use, click here.