Can a Christian consider using CBD oil?
Question: “Can a Christian consider using CBD oil?”
Answer: The question of the permissibility for a Christian to utilize CBD oil for medicinal purposes prompts interesting discussion. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid constituent of cannabis. Although CBD oil is extracted from the flowers of the marijuana plant, it has a very low amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis; it is the part of marijuana that can produce a вЂњhigh.вЂќ The health and wellness world claims CBD oil is effective for many disorders including chronic pain, anxiety, depression, cancer-related ailments, and others without producing the mind-altering effects of THC found in marijuana.
Several medical studies are currently underway to test the effectiveness of CBD oil on a variety of ailments including epilepsy, pain, sleep disorders, depression, and social anxiety. Neurologists at the Mayo Clinic are particularly hopeful about the promising effects CBD oil appears to have on two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy. Medical-grade CBD oil is showing amazing promise and appears to be tolerated well by the young patients in the study.
What does the Bible say about CBD oil use for Christians? The Bible is silent on the use of CBD oil. The Bible instructs us to follow laws and respect those in authority over us (Romans 13:1–2). The Bible also instructs readers to avoid intoxication (1 Peter 5:8). Do either of these apply to the use of CBD oil?
While not all fifty states have legalized the use of CBD oil, its growing acclaim and medical evidence that supports its efficacy are paving the way for many states to legalize it. Even in large doses, the product does not create an intoxicated state. In June 2018 the World Health Organization reported it as safe, non-intoxicating, and non-addictive.
So, what does that mean for those who might seek relief with CBD oil from annoying or even debilitating symptoms while desiring to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord? Like other medical treatments, the legal use of CBD oil is a gray area to be answered between the patient, his/her doctor, and God. Christians should pray for guidance and follow their convictions—and understand that sometimes two Christians can have different convictions on the same subject.
Romans 14 instructs Christians to accept one anotherвЂ™s convictions (verse 1). If a Christian believes eating a particular food is a sin, for him to eat it is a sin, while other Christians without that conviction are able to eat the food in peace. So might be the case with CBD oil. Some may believe anything connected to a marijuana plant is sinful, while others may feel that God has created the plant for our godly use.
Christians considering the use of CBD oil should start by verifying the legality of CBD oil in their state. They should also ask the advice of their health care provider. Should one decide to try CBD oil, understand that, because CBD oil is currently unregulated, there is a wide range of products, potencies, and quality of the oils. Follow your doctorвЂ™s recommendations and research carefully the product that you will purchase for consumption. All would be wise to consider GodвЂ™s plan and purpose for their own lives when addressing physical or mental health concerns.
When faced with an ailment that he felt was hampering his godly mission, Paul prayed three times for the вЂњthorn in his fleshвЂќ (perhaps a painful physical ailment) to be removed. God did not remove the thorn and answered that His grace was sufficient for Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7–10)—and sometimes that is the answer for us as well. Perhaps God has allowed pain in your life so that you can be a pioneering Christian man or woman to demonstrate that a natural treatment (like CBD oil) can provide measurable relief of symptoms. Or perhaps God has allowed the pain in your life to demonstrate His grace during difficulty. Or maybe there is an area God is working on in your life through this struggle. As you pray for guidance, God will honor your desire to please Him in all of your decisions.
Can a Christian consider using CBD oil? Is cannabidiol mentioned in the Bible? Is CBD allowable for a Christian since it does not contain THC?
Long Hill Baptist Church, Trumbull, CT
About the author: Pastor Robert Hammond has more than 20 years of experience in medical research and health communications.
This article was reviewed by Dr. Dana Wade, MD, founder and CEO of Monitor My Health , a non-profit organization that provides disease prevention education. Dr. Wade completed a fellowship in cardiovascular disease prevention at Albert Einstein School of Medicine and Yeshiva University. His research is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Summary: CBD products are now widely available. Products include oils, lotions, creams and even candies and other food products that contain CBD oil. This short article examines biblical principles that should inform our decision about using CBD.
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol. It is found in both the hemp and marijuana varieties of cannabis. In 2018, the federal farm bill made it legal to grow and sell products made from hemp so long as they don’t contain more than 0.3 percent of THC (the part of the plant that makes a person feel high). CBD is marketed as a treatment for everything from insomnia to pain to mood disorders. Although the Bible does not directly address the use of CBD, Christians would be wise to consider biblical principles that guide our decision about whether or not to use CBD.
First, consider the biblical principle of stewardship.
In several places, the Bible implies that we should seek to be good stewards of our health. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, the Lord asks, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” In Revelation 4:11 the Bible reveals that the Lord created all things for his purposes. Since the LORD has created our bodies and indwelt them for his good purposes, Christians would be wise to take reasonable measures to maintain good health. If CBD could be safely used to help achieve and maintain good health, we might conclude that using CBD is consistent with our call to be good stewards of our bodies.
However, in November 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a report stating, “CBD has the potential to harm you, and harm can happen even before you become aware of it.” The FDA raised specific concerns including the potential for CBD to cause liver injury and other “serious side effects” that are related to how CBD affects the process by which the body breaks-down some drugs.
A March 2019 publication from the Mayo Clinic added that CBD “can interfere with the effectiveness of other medications, such as blood thinners.”
In October 2019, the FDA also reported that animal studies have revealed that using CBD during pregnancy can harm unborn animals. That research implies that mothers who use CBD during pregnancy may harm their unborn child.
The FDA has also expressed concern about “reports of CBD potentially containing unsafe levels of contaminants, including pesticides, heavy metals, and THC.”
Given the current concerns regarding the safety of CBD, we conclude that using CBD is not consistent with our call to be good stewards of our health.
Our call to wise financial stewardship (Luke 16; 1 Timothy 6:17-19).
American are well-acquainted with the high-cost of medicines. When it comes to medicines that have been proven to be generally safe and effective, the high cost is justified — especially when we consider the potential cost of not treating an illness. However, paying a large amount of money for treatments that are not proven to be safe and effective is arguably inconsistent with our call to wise financial stewardship.
In November 2019, one ounce of Hempworx brand CBD oil (500 mg concentration) cost $69.00. Higher concentrations of CBD cost as much as $149.00 per ounce (Source: https://www.hempworx.com/fullSpectrumCBDOil , accessed November 29, 2019). That expense might be justified if CBD was proven to be effective for treating the conditions for which it is marketed. Unfortunately, as of November 2019, the FDA has found CBD to be safe and effective only for the treatment of specific forms of epilepsy. (In June 2019, the FDA approved EPIDIOLEX, a prescription formulation of CBD, for treating two specific forms of epilepsy).
In a December 2018 report from the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Brent Bauer offered, “While CBD is being studied as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety, research supporting the drug’s benefits is still limited. A November 2019 report from the Journal of the American Medical Association adds that evidence of the effectiveness of CBD for treating mental disorders is “scarce.”
Given the lack of sufficient evidence that CBD is effective for treating conditions other than epilepsy, we conclude that spending significant money on CBD is not consistent with our call to be wise financial stewards.
Our call to be godly examples.
In Titus 2:7, Paul calls Titus to demonstrate “a pattern of good works” in “all things.” There, he taught Titus the principle of striving to be a godly example in every part of his life.
Using CBD can compromise our call to be godly examples. CBD products may legally contain up to 0.3% THC — the compound in marijuana that causes people to feel high. That small amount of THC can sometimes be detected in workplace drug tests.
Consider two possible consequences of testing positive for THC as a result of using CBD:
First, testing positive for THC could result in losing your job. In March 2019, a healthcare system in North Carolina warned its employees that using CBD could cause them to fail a drug test — which could result in termination of their employment.
Second, testing positive for THC also violates our call to refrain from the “appearance of evil” (1 Thes. 5:22). If we test positive for THC, many will conclude that we are using recreational marijuana. Although that would be a wrong conclusion, our testimony would nonetheless be compromised. And when our testimony is harmed, our example is harmed.
What about our liberty in Christ?
Some will argue that they have liberty in Christ to use CBD. In his epistles to the Corinthians, Paul addresses this argument: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
There, Paul addressed Christians who argued that they possessed liberty to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Paul didn’t deny their liberty. Rather, he denied the wisdom of exercising that liberty. He cautioned that while some practices are technically permissible, they are not spiritually profitable. Implied is the wisdom of forgoing a liberty when exercising that liberty might cause spiritual harm to self or others (either by encouraging back-sliding or by discouraging growth).
Like the meat from the pagan temples, CBD is not expressly forbidden by either civil law or the Bible. However, using CBD may violate the biblical mandate to forgo a liberty when exercising that liberty may be spiritually dangerous. Because using CBD arguably violates several biblical principles, we conclude that it is unwise to exercise the liberty to use CBD.
While CBD might someday be proven to be safe and effective for treating a variety of medical conditions, that is not yet the case. Today, the questions regarding both the safety and effectiveness of CBD lead us to conclude that using CBD is not consistent with our call to be wise stewards of both our health and our finances. Further, testing positive for THC will harm our testimony. As such, we conclude that it is unwise to exercise the liberty to use CBD.
Readers are invited to send comments to Pastor Robert Hammond at [email protected]
Copyright © 2020 Robert W. Hammond.
CBD products are now widely available. This short article examines biblical principles that should inform our decision about using CBD.