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The Role of Cannabis in Spiritual Practices and Rituals

Cannabis and spirituality have long been connected. In the age of legal cannabis in New Jersey and elsewhere, it can be openly explored.

Alexandra Marrero is a professional Reiki healer based in Central Jersey as the owner of Restorative Health and Wellness. She is immersed in New Age and Eastern practices and a member of the New Jersey cannabis community.

“Spirituality and religion aren’t the same thing. There’s places where they overlap,” Marrero explained.

Cannabis Mentioned in the Bible

She noted cannabis is literally in the Bible as “Kanna Bosem.” It’s an ingredient in the creation of holy anointing oil by Moses in the Book of Exodus.

“Messiah” in Hebrew means “Anointed One.”

(More on that in my book Cannabis 101!)

North Jersey cannabis rights advocate Adam Umansky also noted the connection between cannabis and Moses’ making anointing oil. He explained he’s an ordained minister who would like to hold services if he had the means. Umansky said cannabis helps foster a connection to God, the Divine or Source.

“It’s actually part of various religious traditions,” he noted regarding cannabis.

He also noted the Egyptian goddess Seshat is usually depicted with a weed leaf. The Chinese Goddess Magu is also often associated with cannabis.

“I was able to reinvigorate, rekindle my connection to that tradition,” Umansky explained.

He has been on a spiritual cannabis path for some time. Umansky was on an episode of the Viceland show Weediquette as part of Anne Armstrong and Alan Gordon’s controversial cannabis church in Rhode Island. The founders were arrested for growing weed.

“The Supreme Being… made people on the planet with cannabis. We fit together like lock and key,” he declared.

Umansky is not alone in saying words do not do justice to explain a mystical experience.

“Language hurts our understanding. I shy away from what I consider the nature of the Universe or the nature of God. It obscures this message,” he noted.

Medical Cannabis in the New Testament

“There’s gotta be a reason we were created so similar to a plant that can give us so many awesome benefits,” Marrero explained. “It really has such amazing benefits for the body when used properly.”

Umansky also argued it is directly referenced in the New Testament Bible passage James 5:14: “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

He said it’s like the Bible is saying to use cannabis-infused cream on sore muscles, a common practice in certain circles.

Cannabis and Spirituality to Treat Issues

Marrero explains she helps people deal with issues and release traumas.

“As a Reiki Master, basically what we’re doing is assisting people in being their own healers,” she declared. “We’re just a conduit for energy.”

She says she helps transfer energy from Source to her client. By doing so she helps release trauma, energetic blockages, and lower vibrations. So it helps physical and mental healing by reducing stress and anxiety.

Marrero explained cannabis consumption helps the process since it calms “brain chatter” and similar issues.

“I feel for some people it helps them connect more with their spirituality,” she added.

“It helps you remove this veil. Sometimes people kind of don’t know how to just relax. That’s a huge part of that connection. They’re overthinking anything. They’re actually blocking connections from happening,” Marrero argued.

“When I would smoke and do anything… I was able to connect faster and easier because that veil was being lifted,” she said. “It helped me learn how to do it easier.”

Marrero likes to combine cannabis with meditation and yoga, an Eastern exercise practice that can be very spiritual.

“It just allows you to come into this place of relaxation where you’re more open to receiving, more open to receiving messages,” she noted.

Thus, cannabis helps the brain enter the Theta Waves stage of deep relaxation.

“You’re calm. You’re connected. You can be more present in the physical body. A lot of people miss that part about being present in the physical body,” Marrero said. “We’re constantly thinking about what happened before and what could happen and trying to control things. It helps us release that kind of control.”

Cannabis and Spiritual Ritual Practices

Umansky also liked the idea of a cannabis plant ritual. He also believes it calms or grounds people. He noted that passing a joint is a type of communal ritual of the sacramental plant that plays a major role in Rastafarianism.

Marrero explained cannabis needs to be consumed mindfully in an intentional way when utilizing it for spirituality. She suggested creating a ritual of consuming cannabis and practicing meditation, yoga, or journaling is good for spiritual purposes.

“I’ve used cannabis for a meditative aid for a very long time,” Umansky explained. “Cannabis deepens your emotional connection… to the content of these rituals.”

“Sometimes, when we consume, we don’t know why we’re doing it. But it comes down to some form of escape. We’re constantly being thrown challenges.” Marrero said.

Cannabis Consumption Methods for Spirituality

“The challenge is the trial and error finding the right strains for you so that you’re not anxious,” she noted.

Marrero said Indica dominant strains help the most. Old school strains, which are rarer, are good, like Northern Lights.

“I love smoking joints. It’s the physical aspect of it too. Bowls are great too because you get to taste the flower more,” she noted.

Since crystals and stones have certain spiritually beneficial properties, many have started selling stone pipes. Marrero said one needs to be careful about the stone used.

She also suggested putting a small crystal into a jar of weed to enhance it. She suggested using a Quartz crystal.

Getting into the Flow of Energy

“Everything’s energy,” Marrero explained.

She said that the energy of the people who grew a plant can be infused into it. Thus, their motives and nature can affect the spiritual consumption of that cannabis.

“Is it just this mass manufactured producing as much product as they can? Or is it somebody who genuinely cares?” she asked.

Marrero was concerned that some legal cannabis strains have too much THC, which gets you high, at the expense of other beneficial properties.

“If it’s just primarily THC, you’re losing the things that keep it balanced like CBD, the CBG… that would help you work on anxiety,” she argued. “It’s a big reason I like old school strains. They weren’t really doing that back in the day.”

Ritual Spiritual Cannabis Consumption

Both Marrero and Umansky endorsed the idea of creating a spiritual ritual around cannabis consumption.

“Take a moment and sit with it. Use it mindfully,” Marrero advised.

She suggested thanking the plant and setting an intention, like relaxing, to increase the connection.

“It doesn’t have to be anything out loud. It could be while you’re sitting with it in your hand,” Marrero said.

She said it’s good to practice gratitude to connect with the plant’s energy.

Also, any time smoke is used in a ceremony, cannabis could also be used.

“There’s really no wrong way. You make it yours. There’s no set boundaries. Your practice is your practice, and that’s what makes it beautiful,” Marrero declared.

Smudging with sage is similar when you allow it to burn and smoke. It’s is a popular spiritual practice to clear bad vibes.

“It’s definitely a lot more expensive than sage,” she joked about weed.

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