• Cannabis and the Christian


What does the Bible say about marijuana? If it doesn’t directly address marijuana, how can Christians know what to make of the legalization of recreational cannabis and the advocacy of medical marijuana?

In the past, Christians could easily answer the question of whether or not it was permissible to use cannabis by deferring to state prohibitions. We could simply say, “it’s against the law.” Today, that answer is no longer possible. Christians are now forced to do what they should have been doing all along: Think like disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and bring to bear the wisdom of the sufficient Word of God.

Since cannabis is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, we must understand what it is and how it affects the user. We also must understand what the Bible says about discipleship, healing, suffering, and what it is to be human. Only then can we answer the critical questions regarding the recreational use and the medical use of cannabis.

In Cannabis and the Christian, Todd Miles gives readers:

  • Biblical wisdom applied to the question of recreational cannabis
  • Biblical wisdom related to the medical use of cannabis
  • A grid to think through other ethical questions that aren’t directly addressed in the Bible
  • Confidence to respond to challenging issues standing on the sufficient Word of God


  • Cannabis and the Christian is an outstanding book. It’s thoughtful, biblical, and enjoyable to read. Whether you agree or disagree with the conclusions, this book deserves a wide reading. We need to think through how to navigate one of the biggest ethical issues of our day, and Todd Miles has given us a helpful tool.”

    Sean McDowell, PhD, Biola University professor, speaker, and author

  • “The question of what to do about legalized marijuana has reached the church’s doorstop. Todd Miles provides a skilled and timely answer. He is fiercely biblical in his treatment, clear in his warnings, and tender with those looking for relief in the midst of suffering. But he does so much more than address cannabis use. Miles models how to think Christianly about ethics when the Bible doesn’t offer a proof text, how to lean into God and his Word when we experience chronic pain, and how to react when the demands of the government don’t align with the demands of God. Pick up this book as soon as you can! If the problems Miles addresses aren’t knocking on the door of your church and family right now, they will be very soon.”

    Aaron Menikoff, PhD, senior pastor, Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, and author of Character Matters: Shepherding in the Fruit of the Spirit

  • “More than ever before, it is critically important to be a thinking Christian. It’s so easy for our responses to questions to be based on opinions or emotions, or to not think about it too much and go with whatever the strongest voices are—even if they’re not biblically thoughtful or well researched. What I love about Todd’s book is that it is extremely thoughtful. Foremost, it is biblically based, but it really looks at the reality of marijuana usage today, not in a shallow or reactionary way, but in the context of scientific and cultural insight. I’m thankful to finally have a book I can now recommend and use in day-to-day life and ministry on this topic.”

    Dan Kimball, author of How (Not) to Study the Bible and Western Seminary faculty

  • “We are called to take every thought and action captive to Christ. Therefore, as states continue to legalize marijuana, the question becomes, How are we to think biblically about Mary Jane? Though the Bible doesn’t address it directly, Miles argues the Bible is sufficient to address the issue. The research on marijuana is a moving target, but Miles provides a wise and winsome Christian analysis of both recreational and medical marijuana. Discipleship must include dealing with tough current issues, and Miles is a shepherd along the path. Pick up a few copies of this book and pass it around to parents, teens, and pastors.”

    Patrick Schreiner, PhD, associate professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of The Visual Word: Illustrated Outlines of the New Testament Books

  • With the de-stigmatization and often recreational legalization of marijuana sweeping across the American landscape, it is easy to treat significant issues as old hat and simply as part of the “new consensus.” Todd Miles’s book is a welcome rebuttal to what will likely be an issue that will have tremendous impact on the local church and throughout American culture. He does a fine job of exploring the overt and implicit dangers linked with marijuana use and does so by appealing to scriptural authority.

    Andrew T. Walker, PhD, associate professor of Christian Ethics, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Todd Miles has done the Christian and the local pastor an enormous service with this book. With clarity, precision, and pastoral sensitivity, he addresses the legal, medical, moral, and ethical questions facing Christians in a culture hurtling toward widespread legalization of marijuana. This book distills and presents the careful, nuanced wisdom of Scripture to help followers of Jesus answer the questions posed by legalization. But more than that, Todd calls us to a faithful discipleship which understands the relief of suffering is not our highest goal, but rather joy in the Lord. I highly recommend this book.

    Michael Lawrence, lead pastor of Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon


  • Cannabis and the Christian sample chapter

  • Cannabis and the Christian discussion guide


the author

Todd Miles is Professor of Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches theology, church history, hermeneutics, and ethics. Prior to becoming a seminary professor, he was a nuclear engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Married, with six children, Todd is a fan of all-things Oregon State, and enjoys running and reading (though rarely at the same time).

author q&a

Why did you write this book? What inspired you to write it?

I wrote Cannabis and the Christian because in my pastoral and teaching ministries I found that the church has been largely unready for the moral questions raised by the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana. For too long we had relied upon the illegality of marijuana as the basis for our determination as to whether or not to use the drug. In our current context, where marijuana is legal in many states, I wanted to provide the Christian with the tools and information to make faithful and wise decisions regarding marijuana use.

For whom did you write this book?

Cannabis and the Christian is aimed at pastors, parents and any Christian who wants to make informed decisions about marijuana use. All of the arguments and information are applicable to everybody, but I don’t expect that non-Christians are going to be interested in honoring Jesus Christ.

Why do you think there have been so few resources published on this topic from a Christian perspective?

The combination of recreational and medical marijuana being illegal at both the state and federal levels, coupled with the fact that marijuana is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible, is probably the cause of the lack of intentional Christian thinking on the issue.

If the Bible does not explicitly mention "marijuana" or any other name for the Cannabis or hemp plant, how can one write a book subtitled “What the Bible Says about Marijuana?”

Very carefully, because I do not want to bind the consciences of Christians with rules that are not made by God. But I do think that the Bible is sufficient; that is, we have all the divine words that we need to live and think faithfully before God. So I want to employ the biblical teaching in areas that are germane to the topic and carefully apply that wisdom to the issue of marijuana. 

Can Christians think theologically about these ethical topics like marijuana that aren’t explicitly mentioned in the Bible?

Absolutely! Not only can we do so, but we must do so. The Bible does not explicitly mention every issue or topic that the Christian will bump up against. Nor should we think that if it is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible then the Lord does not care. There is sufficient wisdom in the Scriptures to navigate everything we will encounter in life and it is up to us, by the enablement of the Holy Spirit and the help of the church community, to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).   

What about Christians living in states where marijuana is not legalized? Why should they care about this issue?

Even in states where recreational and medical marijuana is not yet legal, the members of the church and the people they encounter are wrestling with the issue of marijuana use. It would be hopelessly naive of a pastor to think that because he lives in a state where marijuana use is illegal that he does not have to think about it, much less address it. Besides, unless something dramatic happens in this country, it is just a matter of time before it is legal everywhere. It is best to get ahead of the issue and equip yourself and your congregation to make good decisions instead of waiting until a crisis hits.

What role does the church play in equipping people to think like Christians on the issue of marijuana?

The mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, teaching them to observe everything commanded by Jesus (Matt. 28:19). I take those commands to include everything explicitly commanded by Jesus and his apostles (rightly interpreted of course) and everything that is a legitimate inference from what was said. So much of growing in Christlikeness is growing in wisdom, the ability to make faithful decisions at the right time for the right reasons and to do so with a disposition and character that mirrors that of Jesus. It is the task of the church to encourage such growth by giving the appropriate truth at the appropriate time and creating, as we are able, an atmosphere that is conducive to such growth. 

What do you hope readers will do or take away from reading this book?

I pray that those who read Cannabis and the Christian will be able to make decisions regarding cannabis use that will honor the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that those who read the book will be able to encourage others toward maturity in Christ. I also pray that readers will be better equipped in how to think biblically about issues that are not specifically in the Bible.  

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