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Cannabis Has Always Played an Important Role in Religion
In regards to the sacramental use of cannabis and religious freedom, I would first point out the right to cannabis, indeed all plants, cacti and fungi, is a natural right that supersedes even the religious use issue, more akin to our right to air, earth and water - this is about life on earth and indigenous natural relationships. I can say to you with confidence, there is no religious doctrine not transcribed by the hand of man, but no matter what god or goddess one believes in, they should also believe that god created the plants of the earth. Indeed, in the case of the popular belief of our own culture, the Biblical God quite clearly states: "Behold, I have Given you Every Herb Bearing Seed which is Upon the Face of all the Earth" (Genesis 1:29).
That said, historically cannabis has played a paramount role in the spiritual life of man, dating further back than any existing religion. The late archaeologist Andrew Sherratt of the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, pointed to the use of cannabis incenses at a gravesite of a group known as the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the Kurgans, who occupied what is now Romania 5,000 years ago. The discovery of a smoking-cup which contained remnants of charred hemp seeds at the site documents that at 3,500 years before Christ humanity had already been using cannabis for religious purposes for millennia.
These same people were the first to domesticate the horse, and it was with them that we find the linguistic roots of the term 'cannabis', which comes from an ancient Proto- Indo-European root word, "kanap"; the "an" from this root left traces in many modern terms for cannabis, such as French "chanvre", German "hanf", Indian "bhang", Persian "bhanga", Dutch "Canvas", Greek "Kannabis," and so on. Through their high mobility, these ancient ancestors of numerous modern cultures spread not only the plant and name, but also the religious and magical connotations that had grown around it. Evidence of this has even left their traces in some of the world's oldest existing religions.
Anthropologist Sula Benet initiated decades of theological debate by identifying the Hebrew terms keneh, and keneh bosem , (cane, fragrant cane) as cannabis, noting the similarities to the modern term cannabis, and also the name used by contemporary Assyrians for the plant, qunubu, as well as the similar way they used it. In Assyria, qunubu was not only a widely used medicine , but also a key ingredient used in incenses and other preparations for the "Sacred Rites" and a means to commune with God: 'So that god of man and man should be in good rapport: - with hellebore, cannabis and lupine you will rub him'"
Interestingly, a similar scenario appears in the Biblical narrative, where the Lord, who curiously first appears to Moses as a burning bush, commands him to make a holy anointing oil with roughly 6 pounds of cannabis, mixed with myrrh, and cinnamon into about a gallon and a half of olive-oil. When Moses is to seek the Lord's advice, he enters the enclosure of the "Tent of the Meeting" anoints his body with this cannabis infused preparation (THC is fatty solubl
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