The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Myth of Free-will? ( Re-thinking the doctrine of 'Total Depravity' )

I was brought up in Calvinist theology, taught to be automatically wary anyone espousing the doctrine of free-will. This is still a subject of concern with me, though I would no longer be comfortable being called a Calvinist. I would probably more correctly fall under the moniker 'Sovereign Grace Preterist'. Some might not see such of a difference between Calvinism and the doctrine of Sovereign Grace, and in the most basic sense, they'd be right, but when you add 'preterism' to the mix, you have a somewhat different story! 'Preterism', or the knowledge that , not only eschatology, but redemption and salvation have been completed and fulfilled should cause us to rethink our doctrine of soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation, among other things. Calvinism teaches that man is totally depraved, something that most Christians have no problem readily acknowledging. The Bible seems to plainly teach this in places like Jeremiah 17:9, where we are told that 'the heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked; who can know it?', and Paul plainly told his readers that 'in me ( that is, in my flesh ) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but to perform what is good, I do not find.' ( Romans 7:18 ) Solomon, or 'the preacher', as he styles himself in the book of Ecclesiastes, acknowledged that 'truly the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that go to the dead' ( 9:3 ). There are many other passages that we could look at for 'proof' of the doctrine of 'Total Depravity', but I daresay that, looking at all these passage from a covenantal viewpoint will help us to see that all these writers were speaking in context of those 'laboring' under the restrictions of the 'Old Covenant'. Looking at the moral depravity in the world today, it is not hard to apply passages like these to men today, although it could be argued, and one can even ascertain that men, even the most 'evil' and 'heartless' of them, are, when it comes down to it, basically 'good' at heart. We all have choices to make, and yes, we most often make wrong, selfish, and seemingly heartless choices, but I believe that all men have the propensity to do right, as all men have the built-in propensity to do wrong. God made us in such a way that we do have a choice, when facing any given situation, a choice of whether to react ( usually wrong ) or whether to act in faith, to do as we know is right, even though those around us are not acting according to our ( selfish ) wishes, or 'druthers', or even as we think they should! Man is a selfish creature ( naturally ), and will usually, when given the choice, choose what he thinks best, either for himself alone, or what he believes will best serve the interests of those that he loves and cares about, often notwithstanding what others tell him is right or wrong.

I mentioned the fact that the Scripture passages that we may read in the Bible which seem to point towards a doctrine of 'Total Depravity', were written by, and concerning, those born under the 'Old Covenant: I believe, as some of my readers may have learned, that there is really only one covenant, the eternal everlasting covenant that God made with Himself ( signified by the words 'Let there be Light' ,and 'Let Us make man' ), but for the purpose of choosing, setting apart a 'special' ( I Peter 2:9 ) people for Himself; God 'formed', through Moses, a sort of typical covenant with a certain people as a sort of test case, not so much to see if they would follow His covenant, but to show them that they could not keep His words perfectly. God's plan, from the beginning, whether because He simply knew beforehand, or because of His all-encompassing sovereignty, was that He would send His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to do for man what he could not do for himself, to keep the law perfectly, and to take upon Himself the sin and requisite penalty for that sin, destroying forever the death that the sin had engendered ( Romans 6:23 ). With the penalty for that sin paid through the death and resurrection of Christ, and His 'coming in the clouds' in judgment upon the 'ministry of the death' ( Romans 7:10, II Corinthians 3:7 ), or the purveyors of that 'Old Covenant' ( letter, rather than Spirit ( II Corinthians 3:6, Romans 2:27-29 ) of death, we are now born, once again, as the first Adam, with the capacity to make a choice, but with one comforting difference; we now have the Truth to which the Tree of Life pointed, 'Christ ( God ) in us, the ( realized ) hope of Glory' ( Colossians 1:27 ).With the 'New Covenant' fully implemented, and salvation fully realized, and redemption complete; can we truly say anymore that men are naturally born under 'Total Depravity'? With the Calvinistic ( biblical ) notion that all men are 'born in sin' ( I think that we all grew up under that assumption, to some degree ) based upon an errant eschatological position, the position, whether most will admit it or not, that, since the fall of our first 'parents', recorded in Genesis 3, we are all ( naturally ) born in sin, and that it is only when we are brought to confession and repentance of that sin ( I John 1:9 ) that we come out from under the death of Adam. With the realization, however, of the logical implications of fulfilled eschatology; it should be plain to see, that, in a sense anyway, we are no longer born in sin, subject to the death ( of Adam ), having been born under the New Covenant, which is often called the 'Covenant of Grace' ( although, when you think about it; God's grace has always been prevalent, throughout the different 'covenants' ), and now free, through the Grace of God, to make our choice ( right or wrong ) as best as we can, without the sword of Damocles hanging over or head, with 'the powers that be' telling us that if we make the wrong choice, there will be eternal, and sometimes immediate consequences ( 'in the day you eat, you will die'-Deuteronomy 28 ).

Lest some accuse me of saying that we should go ahead and 'sin more that grace may abound' ( Romans 6:1 ); I wish to remind my readers that though God has applied His grace most bountifully in every area of our lives, and given us the freedom of choice as to how we will live our lives and whom w will serve ( as Bob Dylan said, 'ya gotta serve somebody' ); He has also given us the personal responsibility, a directive, really, to love Him, and 'our neighbor as ourself', not selfishly seeking and serving our own selfish interest and desires, particularly over those of others. ( I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect when it comes to practicing what I preach, and I don't believe that any of us can truly make this claim ( although some are probably closer than others ), but this does not mean that we should not strive for it and exhort the brethren to it! )

Having established that we do, after a sort, have a 'free' will, can we conscientiously transgress Good's Law ( though we are no longer under it's curse ), selfishly following our own will, thoughts, and desires, even when it comes at the cost of others? We too often do ( at least I know that I do ), but I would wager that most of us ( all who's consciences have been cleansed by God-Hebrews 10 ), before 'paying the piper', will hear a 'still, small' voice in our mind, saying 'you shouldn't outta done that'!

With this in mind; let us consciously decide ( will ) to make choices that are in conjunction with what we know of the will of God, not because we must if we want to 'go to heaven when we die', or out of the fear of 'going to hell when we die', but out of loving, sacrificial obedience to God, not because we have to, but because we want to!

May God bless you with this,

                   Charles Shank

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cannabis-the pure herb with Christ-like healing properties?

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

Genesis 1:29

Marijuana, as it is probably most commonly known, or cannabis, has been at the center, especially of late, of much debate. The main focus of this article is whether or not it should be considered a viable alternative to the approved ( FDA ) medicines ( drugs ) that are prescribed by doctors everyday, often to the detriment of the health of the patient. Looking at the greater picture, though, one must decide for oneself whether or not this pure herbal remedy for many of society's ills should be pursued as a God-given alternative to the man-made and genetically altered substances that make up our almost daily existence.

Consulting, first of all, the Wikipedia article on Cannabis; I found this quote regarding the use of Cannabis as a medicine:

'Cannabis used medically does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure (shown to be effective for treating glaucoma), as well as general analgesic effects (pain reliever).b[›]'

The article goes on to say, 'Cannabis was manufactured and sold by U.S. pharmaceutical companies from the 1880s through the 1930s, but the lack of documented information on the frequency and effectiveness of its use makes it difficult to evaluate its medicinal value.'

I recently attended a forum on everything from the legal aspects of the medical marijuana laws, to the scientific studies, particularly of the healing properties still being discovered, of this remarkable and all-natural plant. Most, if not all of the few attendees of this event were care-givers and in most, if not all cases, growers of what is called 'the herb'. From a PhD. who bewildered most of us with his knowledge and terminology stemming from his studies of this plant, to a law professor who cautioned his listeners to beware of the legal ramifications of their activities, and in the midst of it all, an MD. who praised it's many virtues; I think we all came away from the experience a little more enlightened than when we walked through the doors. There are many articles to be found on the internet, both 'pro' and 'con', I'm sure, that can easily be found and read at one's own discretion, but one of the first sites that I found on the subject of 'medical marijuana' was a site called here are a few excerpts, both 'pro' and 'con', concerning the legalization, even the medical use, of this amazing medication ( it is interesting to note that many of the comments in the 'con' column are based more on the FDA's disapproval of it's use, than on actual, independent study ):

Joycelyn Elders, MD, former US Surgeon General, wrote the following in a Mar. 26, 2004 article titled "Myths About Medical Marijuana," published in the Providence Journal:
"The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS -- or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day."
Ron Paul, MD, Member of the US House of Representatives (R-TX), wrote the following in an Apr. 27, 2005 letter to the US Food and Drug Administration signed by 23 other members of the US House of Representatives:
"After deferring to the DEA, your release reads that, 'FDA is the sole federal agency that approves drug products as safe and effective for intended indications.' Why then has the FDA failed to respond to the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report which concluded that marijuana's active components are potentially effective in treating pain, nausea, the anorexia of AIDS wasting, and other symptoms, and should be tested rigorously in clinical trials?
It perplexes us that even though the FDA is responsible for protecting public health, the agency has failed to respond adequately to the IOM's findings seven years after the study's publication date. Additionally, this release failed to make note of the FDA's Investigational New Drug (IND) Compassionate Access Program, which allowed patients with certain medical conditions to apply with the FDA to receive federal marijuana. Currently, seven people still enlisted in this program continue to receive marijuana through the federal government.
The existence of this program is an example of how the FDA could allow for the legal use of a drug, such as medical marijuana, without going through the 'well-controlled' series of steps that other drugs have to go through if there is a compassionate need."

Lyn Nofziger, former Press Secretary to Ronald Reagan, wrote the following in the foreword to the 1999 book Marijuana RX: The Patients' Fight for Medicinal Pot, by Robert C. Randall and Alice M. O'Leary:
"Marijuana clearly has medicinal value. Thousands of seriously ill Americans have been able to determine that for themselves, albeit illegally. Like my own family, these individuals did not wish to break the law but they had no other choice. The numerous attempts to legitimately resolve the issue-via state legislation and federal administrative hearings-have too often been ignored or thwarted by misguided federal agencies. Several states conducted extensive, and expensive, research programs which demonstrated marijuana's medical utility-particularly in the treatment of chemotherapy side-effects. Francis L. Young, the chief administrative law judge of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, ruled marijuana has legitimate medical applications and should be available to doctors." 
Philip Denney, MD, co-founder of a medical cannabis evaluation practice, stated the following in his Nov. 17, 2005 testimony to the Arkansas legislature in support of House Bill 1303, "An Act to Permit the Medical Use of Marijuana":
"I have found in my study of these patients that cannabis is really a safe, effective and non-toxic alternative to many standard medications. There is no such thing as an overdose. We have seen very minimal problems with abuse or dependence, which at worst are equivalent to dependence on caffeine. While a substance may have some potential for misuse, in my opinion, that's a poor excuse to deny its use and benefit to everyone else."
Jay Cavanaugh, PhD, National Director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC), wrote the following in a 2002 article titled "The Plight of the Chronically Ill," posted on the AAMC website:

"Many of the chronically ill have successfully sought relief with the use of medical cannabis, an age-old remedy that now shows real scientific efficacy. Hundreds of thousands of the sick have replaced disabling narcotics and other psychotropic medications with nontoxic and benign cannabis. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Folks with spinal injuries able to give up their walkers, AIDS patients able to gain weight and keep their medications down, cancer patients finding relief from the terrible nausea of chemotherapy, chronic pain patients once again functional with their consciousness restored from narcotic lethargy, and folks once disabled from crippling psychiatric disorders and addictions, returned to sanity and society with the assistance of a nontoxic herb with remarkable healing powers." 
These are but a few of the many 'pro' ( more than ''con' ) comments that I found: here are some of the ( almost absurd ) 'con' statements;
Sanjay Gupta, MD, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, wrote the following in a Nov. 6, 2006 article titled "Why I Would Vote No on Pot," published in Time magazine:
"Maybe it's because I was born a couple of months after Woodstock and wasn't around when marijuana was as common as iPods are today, but I'm constantly amazed that after all these years -- and all the wars on drugs and all the public-service announcements -- nearly 15 million Americans still use marijuana at least once a month...

Marijuana isn't really very good for you. True, there are health benefits for some patients. Several recent studies, including a new one from the Scripps Research Institute, show that THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible for the high, can help slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease. (In fact, it seems to block the formation of disease-causing plaques better than several mainstream drugs.) Other studies have shown THC to be a very effective antinausea treatment for people -- cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, for example -- for whom conventional medications aren't working. And medical cannabis has shown promise relieving pain in patients with multiple sclerosis and reducing intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients...

Frequent marijuana use can seriously affect your short-term memory. It can impair your cognitive ability (why do you think people call it dope?) and lead to long-lasting depression or anxiety. While many people smoke marijuana to relax, it can have the opposite effect on frequent users. And smoking anything, whether it's tobacco or marijuana, can seriously damage your lung tissue...

Despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana, smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good."

Rudy Giuliani, JD, former Mayor of New York City, stated the following at an Oct. 3, 2007 town hall meeting in Windham, New Hampshire during his 2008 campaign for US President:
"I checked with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]. The FDA says marijuana has no additive medical benefit of any kind, that the illegal trafficking of marijuana is so great that it makes much more sense to keep it illegal. I will keep it illegal."
Mark Souder, Member of the US House of Representatives (R-IN), wrote the following in the "Issues: Medical Marijuana," section of his website, (accessed Sep. 5, 2007):
"The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency charged with protecting the health of Americans, has never found smoked marijuana to be a safe and effective drug. In April 2006, following my request, the FDA released an interagency advisory confirming that smoked marijuana is not medicine because: (1) marijuana has a high potential for abuse; (2) it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (3) it has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. The advisory also stated: '...there is currently sound evidence that smoked marijuana is harmful.'
The FDA has approved Marinol, however, and I support the availability of this prescription drug, which is currently available to patients. Marinol pills contain synthetic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana."

Henry Miller, MD, former Director of the Office of Biotechnology at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), wrote the following in an Apr. 28, 2006 editorial published in the New York Times:
"In their 1999 report, the Institute of Medicine's panel of experts flatly rejected the idea that herbal (usually smoked) cannabis would ever be considered a safe and effective medicine for widespread use... Smoked marijuana cannot be subjected to careful, well-controlled trials, because it does not come in a standard, reproducible formula or dose, and cannot meet the accepted standards for drug purity, potency and quality. Different strains of cannabis vary radically in their cannabinoid composition and in the contaminants -- fungi, bacteria, pesticides, heavy metals and other substances -- they contain. And smoking is not a precise way of delivering any substance to the bloodstream. Other plant-derived drugs -- morphine, codeine and Taxol, to name a few -- have made it through the F.D.A.'s review process, and there is no reason drugs made from cannabis should not be required to meet the same standards." 

I believe that Miller made a valid point about 'contaminants' above, because, when you think about it; while some ( very few, I think ) are actually trying to stay as naturally pure as they can in their production of the plant, others use many other ( chemical ) means, such as Miracle-Gro, and other plant foods, to stimulate the growth of their plants and even to increase their harvests, and, you guessed it, all those ( harmful? ) chemicals have to come out in the final product! 

Mitt Romney, JD, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following at an Oct. 4, 2007 town hall event in Manchester, New Hampshire:
"I believe marijuana should be illegal in our country. It is the pathway to drug usage by our society, which is a great scourge -- which is one of the great causes of crime in our cities. And I believe that we are at a state where, of course, we are very concerned about people who are suffering pain, and there are various means of providing pain management. And those that have had loved ones that have gone through an end of life with cancer know the nature of real pain. I watched my wife's mom and dad, both in our home, both going through cancer treatment, suffering a great deal of pain. But they didn't have marijuana, and they didn't need marijuana because there were other sources of pain management that worked entirely effectively. I'm told there is even a synthetic marijuana as well that is available. But having legalized marijuana, in my view, is an effort by a very committed few to try and get marijuana out into the public and ultimately legalize marijuana. It's a long way to go. We need less drugs in this society, not more drugs, and I would oppose the legalization of marijuana in the country or legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes because pain management is available from other sources."

Mark L. Kraus, MD, former President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, stated the following in his Feb. 26, 2007 testimony to the Judiciary Committee in Hartford, Connecticut:
"Proponents of the legalization of medical marijuana create the impression that it is a reasonable alternative to conventional drugs. But unlike conventional drugs, smokable marijuana has not passed the rigorous scrutiny of scientific investigation and has not been found safe and effective in treating pain, nausea and vomiting, or wasting syndrome... It has no credibility. It has not passed the rigors of scientific investigation. It has not demonstrated significant efficacy in symptom relief. And, it causes harm."

Andrea Barthwell, MD, former Deputy Director at the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, stated the following in a speech given in Belleville, Illinois on Feb. 8, 2005:
"It is not a medicine. You don't know what's in it. If there were compelling scientific and medical data supporting marijuana's medical benefits that would be one thing. But the data is not there."
Janet Lapey, MD, Executive Director of Concerned Citizens for Drug Prevention, Inc., stated the following in her Oct. 1, 1997 statement to the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary in the House of Representatives:
"Marijuana is not the safe drug portrayed by the marijuana lobby. It is addictive; it adversely affects the immune system; leads to the use of other drugs such as cocaine; is linked to cases of cancer; causes respiratory diseases, mental disorders, including psychosis, depression, panic attacks, hallucinations, paranoia, decreased cognitive performance, disconnected thought, delusions, and impaired memory."
Gabriel Nahas, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Anesthesiology and Medicine at Columbia University, et al., wrote the following in a Mar. 11, 1997 article titled "Marihuana Is the Wrong Medicine," published in the Wall Street Journal:
"The debate over using marihuana as medicine has been distorted by a basic confusion: the implicit assumption that smoking marihuana is a better therapy than the ingestion of its active therapeutic agent THC or a more effective one than approved medications. This assumption is wrong. THC (also known as Marinol) is an approved remedy that may be prescribed by physicians for nausea and AIDS wasting syndrome. It is safer than marihuana smoke." 
Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 Republican Candidate for US President, stated the following at a Sep. 29, 2007 campaign stop in Londonderry, New Hampshire:
"You've asked me the question about medical marijuana... my concern is, as much as I want to see something happen that would ease your pain, I'm not sure and I've not been convinced with medical evidence by independent research... that clearly says that it is more effective than other forms of pain medication, whether it's narcotic or analgesic. And so what I want to do is, if somebody can present to me scientifically and objectively, then I would certainly give a different consideration... I think the question is, would I favor the legalization at a federal level, and until there's some scientific evidence, I'm reluctant to do that."  

Robert DeLorenzo, MD, PhD, MPH, Professor of Neurology in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, stated the following in a Sep. 30, 2003 university press release, titled "Marijuana and Its Receptor Protein in Brain Control Epilepsy":
"Individuals both here and abroad report that marijuana has been therapeutic for them in the treatment of a variety of ailments, including epilepsy. But the psychoactive side effects of marijuana make its use impractical in the treatment of epilepsy. If we can understand how marijuana works to end seizures, we may be able to develop novel drugs that might do a better job of treating epileptic seizures."

Peter Provet, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Odyssey House, wrote the following in an Apr. 26, 2006 Letter to the Editor, published in the New York Times:
"As a treatment provider, I support the Food and Drug Administration's dismissal of medical benefit from marijuana.
Regardless of the heated political debate that swirls around this issue, the fact remains that despite the Institute of Medicine's claim to the contrary, for people vulnerable to addictive disease, marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use of more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin...
Not everyone who smokes marijuana will necessarily become an addict. But why open the gate to increased use for the sake of unproven medical benefits when we already know the harm that marijuana inflicts on millions of Americans?"

From the Wikipedia article that I mentioned earlier, let me briefly quote again;

'As cannabis is further legalized for medicinal use, it is possible that some of the foregoing compound medicines, whose formulas have been copied exactly as published, may be scientifically tested to determine whether they are effective medications.'

Is 'medical marijuana' a viable alternative to the man-made concoctions ( pills ) that mis-guided ( but well-meaning ) doctors push down our throats, those medicines that come from our friendly, neighborhood pharmacist with sometimes a whole ream of warnings about ( possible ) side-effects? I believe that it is, but my readers must make up their own minds in that respect, do their own research using the manifold testimony that is available to the public. My reason for  casting my vote in favor of cannabis for medicinal purposes is not only based on the small amount of research that I have done ( minuscule ), but, more importantly, and here we begin to look at the greater picture; I refer, once again to the verse of Scripture that I quoted earlier, Genesis 1:29; 'And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.' God tells us that we have been given 'every herb' for food, and He called it 'good'! Not only that, but when you think of it's God-given quality ( and here again, we must refer back to where I discussed the 'purity' as opposed to the contaminants likely found in many samples ); His providence has rested in nature itself, His good creation, all that is necessary for our sustenance and well-being. More and more aspects of this astounding but comforting truth, I believe, are being discovered and researched everyday!

From the web-site Defending the Truth, an on-line political debate forum, a participant, in a post entitled 'Cannabis and the Bible' writes;

'In 1936 Sula Benet (a.k.a. Sara Benetowa), a Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw stated that: "In the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant"(Benet 1975). Through comparative etymological study, Bennett documented that in the Old Testament and in its Aramaic translation, the Targum Onculos, hemp is referred to as kaneh bosm, which is also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kannabos or kannabus. The root "kan" in this construction means "reed" or "hemp", while "bosm" means "aromatic"'

( He also quotes Psalm 104:14 & 15 and Revelation 22:1 & 2, in support of cannabis )

The site, makes this important point; 'The hemp plant (scientific name: cannabis, slang: marijuana) is one of the many useful herbs "yielding seed after its kind" created and blessed by God on the third day of creation, "and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:12) He gave hemp for people to use with our free will.' has much the same thing to say; 'The hemp plant (scientific name: cannabis, slang name: marijuana) is but one of the many useful herbs "yielding seed after its kind" (Genesis 1:12, 29) blessed by God on the third day of creation for people to use in conjunction with our free will. The only place in the Bible where Cannabis was mentioned by name got switched into 'calamus' by the King James translators as part of a holy ointment (described in Exodus 30:23).
The Bible also predicted prohibition: "In the later times, some shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (Paul: 1 Timothy 1-4) Nowhere in the Bible does it say people cannot grow, possess, use or even smoke cannabis or that hemp is bad. In fact, quite the contrary: "God said, 'Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat.' … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." (Genesis 1:29-31)'

Looking now at the origins of cannabis; we look at the web-site Suite101, where we can read, '
The history of the plant’s use is somewhat open for debate. It is believed that the herb was used by the Scythians as early as the 5th century BC, based on hemp seeds found by archaeologists. There have also been historical implications that it was used by the Sadhus in India for religious ceremonies. Some scholars believe that cannabis may have been an ingredient in the holy anointing oil used in the ancient Judaic culture, and some more speculative individuals believe that the Bible may reference Jesus smoking the plant. reports that 'Cannabis sativa has been used therapeutically from the earliest records, nearly 5,000 years ago, to the present day (Mikuriya, 1969: 34) and its products have been widely noted for their effects, both physiological and psychological, throughout the world. Although the Chinese and Indian cultures knew about the properties of this drug from very early times, this information did not become general in the Near and Middle East until after the fifth century A.D., when travelers, traders and adventurers began to carry knowledge of the drug westward to Persia and Arabia. Historians claim that cannabis was first employed in these countries as an antiseptic and analgesic.'

At a site called; I found more interesting information;

'Known in Chinese languages as Ma, this hardy, annual herb is arguably the “mother” of agricultural civilization. Ma provided to be a renewable food source and a durable textile fiber for the manufacture of rope and fabric, setting agro-industrial China far ahead of hunter-gatherer types in other parts of the world. Besides its many textile and medicinal uses, marijuana yields seeds rich in B vitamins, protein, and amino acids, which have served as China’s second or third most important agricultural food source for thousands of years. While evidence of marijuana in use as a medicine has been found in Egyptian ruins dated as early as the 16th century BC, and digs at ancient Hebrew sites have unearthed evidence of medical marijuana as an aid to childbirth long before the time of Christ, the many uses of Ma have proved to be an invaluable resource in the continuous survival of Chinese culture from its distant origins to the present day. '

Quoting from a 'History of Marijuana', at the website, 'The earliest known documentation was in 3727 BC, in China, which is also, as far as can be traced, the country of origin. Marijuana was recognized as an intoxicating drug, but it was widely used for its medicinal properties, particularly in the treatment of malaria, rheumatism, gout, and absent-mindedness.'

From an October, 2009 article at; we read,

Should Professors Cheech and Chong ever receive university tenure teaching the medical history of their favorite subject, the course pack would be surprisingly thick. As early as 2737 B.C., the mystical Emperor Shen Neng of China was prescribing marijuana tea for the treatment of gout, rheumatism, malaria and, oddly enough, poor memory. The drug's popularity as a medicine spread throughout Asia, the Middle East and down the eastern coast of Africa, and certain Hindu sects in India used marijuana for religious purposes and stress relief. Ancient physicians prescribed marijuana for everything from pain relief to earache to childbirth. Doctors also warned against overuse of marijuana, believing that too much consumption caused impotence, blindness and "seeing devils."

From the site 'It is interesting to note that excavations in the ruins of the Nile civilization in Egypt have revealed that the people there used marijuana for its medicinal properties since as early as the 16th century. Similarly, diggings at the primeval Hebrew civilization sites also prove that they used marijuana as a therapy during childbirth since long before the birth of Jesus Christ. Therefore, there is little doubt that the multifaceted properties and uses of marijuana have demonstrated to be a priceless reserve for the continued existence of the Chinese culture since days immemorial to the present.'

There is much more information on this subject to be found ( I have barely 'touched the surface' ), and I encourage my readers to do their own research, and strive to reach their own conclusions regarding this marvelous and amazing natural creation! Personally, mostly for the main reason that I outlined above, that it is God-given, and an essential part, in it's most natural form, of God's good creation; I am all for, not only the legalization of this pure and natural product, but across-the-board legalization and free use of God's provision of this plant, in all it's many gloried aspects!

As always; I reveal this information and this compilation for the Glory of God and for the Benefit of His people, His Body!

Charles Shank