Catholic answer to legalized marijuana

What is the Catholic position on the use of marijuana? It is a plant created by God, and I guess I believe that He may have designed it for some legitimate use, although to alter our capacities would not be it.
Now that it is legal in some places, do I have a moral reason to object to growing, selling and using it?

That’s not quite right. Many legal drugs alter our capacities or capabilities. The thing that is not supposed to be altered, unless there is sufficient reason to do so, is our ability to reason.

Take for example, having a drink or two. For the average person, that would not alter their ability to reason in a significant way. But drinking too much does alter a person’s reason, and capacities, to the point that they no longer have those capabilities sufficiently, and certainly not justifiably so.

The same can be said for any drug. However with marijuana today, there seem to be other considerations as well such as the cultural impact of it’s use, and the way in which it is grown to produce unnaturally high levels of the chemical which causes a high.

That all being said, there are differing points of view on the use of marijuana. Currently it seems that most Bishops support medicinal use but not recreational use. There is certainly an area in between those two methods of using in which a prudential judgment must be made by the user as to why they decide to use the drug.

If you don’t feel comfortable selling, using or growing it then don’t.

There is no “Church Teaching” as such on this specific issue. As @1Lord1Faith says, the main consideration is that we don’t consume the drug to the point of losing our ability to reason.

My own opinion is that it certainly could be something that could be part of a legitimate medical therapy, and potentially also for recreational use.

However some countries have already gone the way of legalisation, and have then gone on to restrict the use of it again. The Netherlands is an example. There used to be a large amount of “Drug tourism” and the authorities decided to clamp down. So while it may not be breaking any moral law, it can have unwanted side effects.

Other countries simply don’t consider it in the same terms as Europeans and Americans. In some Arab countries that I’ve visited, alcohol is strictly controlled, but you can go to a hashish cafe and sit and smoke with friends.

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My reason for asking is that one of my daughters has just started dating a man who supposedly uses it for his epilepsy…that is, to ease side effects of a medication he takes. However, when I looked it up, the FDA hasn’t permitted the smoking of it (at least, that’s how I understand it), so I think there is something fishy going on. He also grows it, as it has recently become legal in my state.
My knee jerk reaction is that I am not going to approve of this man, but as it is not my decision, I’m trying to find a way of understanding this that doesn’t violate the faith.
My daughter has always been so driven and good, but her dating choices leave so much to be desired.

Just because the fda doesn’t approve it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a proper epilepsy diagnosis, nor that the cannabis doesn’t help him. While I can say cannabis helps me with other things, it never appeared to me to help with my seizure threshold. It may help others though, and it’s not my place to decide what they can use to prevent a life altering seizure from occurring.

The biggest issue I can possibly see: is he driving? If his epilepsy symptoms and seizures are that bad that he needs cannabis (of any sort of consumption) and seizure meds (plural), it might be a bad idea for him to be driving. Ever.

Also, fwiw, seizure medicines are horrendous. The end.

I’m glad you pointed out the driving, and yes, he is driving. I haven’t met him yet and I don’t know anything about epilepsy, so I’m not 100% challenging the legitimacy of using cannabis.
He invited my 19y/o son to smoke with him, so he’s clearly using it for recreation as well, which is legal in my state, but I am not part of the demographic that thinks that it’s okay.

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There is definitely strong evidence that marijuana reduces seizures. I also know anecdotally of people who say their seizures stopped entirely when they smoked it. I suffered from epilepsy myself for years and it can be a debilitating illness.

There are a number of modern drugs with a lot less side effects though so it’s possible he’s using the epilepsy as an excuse to get high.

I’ve told my daughter to stay away from guys that smoke weed altogether. From my experience there’s a common theme with them and that is dependence on others but without any meaningful reciprocal giving. They don’t have the capacity to put others first. The weed is always first.

God guide your daughter to be discerning and strong.

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Here is one example of a Bishops’ Conference in these USA opposing “recreational” marijuana:

I think that’s a red flag. Is 19 even legal to smoke weed in your state? Where I live, the legal age is 21.

The 19 year old brain is still developing and your son shouldn’t touch the stuff for several years, or better yet forever.

I think any drug that does not harm the body in a severe way and doesn’t alter the ability to reason is fine at least as Catholic teaching is concerned. The test I would use is “Can I drive a car after taking this drug.” If the answer is no and there is no medical problem forcing me to take this drug, I would avoid it. But honestly, I would be fine with all drugs, alcohol and caffeine included, being outlawed. They really do not add anything to the human experience the way I see it

My 19y/o is solid as a rock, and I have no concerns about him doing any such thing.
The driving issue brought up earlier in the thread is something I’d like to bring up with my daughter.
Apparently her friend had a seizure last night, which she said was terrifying. I’m going to make inquiries about why he’s driving at all.

Abortion is legal, as is same-sex marriage. Catholics may not do these.
Marijuana is a bit different as it is not sinful in itself. It’s a plant that God created with certain properties, among them, the ability to alter man’s mood or consciousness when ingested by various means. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using it under the directions of a physician. Many drugs prescribed by doctors affect the consciousness. These drugs also come with warnings and restrictions to prevent harm and addiction. Most medical marijuana does not significantly alter mental capacity, especially if taken in capsule form.
The problem arises from smoking or vaping it for recreational purpose. Unlike occasional moderate use of alcohol, cannabis remains in the body for up to a month. When used habitually, even in moderate amounts, it is scientifically proven to harm DNA. It is particularly detrimental to youn people whose brains are not fully developed. It is, like it or not, because of our culture, a “gateway drug” to much more harmful illegal drugs. It carries a message in western countries of identification with rebellion and disrespect of rightful authority.
Although the Church may not yet have an official teaching on it, I think it is best to abstain from it except if prescribed by a physician. If that is not how your daughter’s boyfriend uses it, I’d try to reason with the couple, and if he proves unwilling to at least consider what his potential in-laws have to say, it casts serious doubt on their relationship. After all, who wants to be married to one with a life-controlling problem?

As for me no matter who legalizes marijuana. If you want to use this you use if not you don’t do this.

I am an epileptic, someone with regular seizures driving is er…worrying. I can’t speak to US law on this, and that may indeed differ by state as many things there do, but in the UK you can’t obtain a licence if you suffer from regular seizures. Not unless you conceal them which creates all sorts of other problems.

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I also want to share my doctor recommendation shop

You need a permit to grow marijuana and the experts take away a chemical from marijuana, it is a substance that leads to addiction but I don’t know its name. Using the marijuana for medical reasons is okay but marijuana from drug stores are more likely safe.

I think marijuana could provide numerous benefits for people suffering from a large array of conditions. I don’t see any issue in someone using marijuana under the guidance of a medical professional just like any other prescription. When you start looking at recreational use of marijuana you might be moving towards a sinful act if you start using habitually. I personally believe that people can use marijuana safely and recreationally much like socially having a drink with some friends.

There are risks involved in the use of any substance which might make you move closer to sin such as overindulgence (gluttony) or engaging in dangerous situations that put you or others in harms way (driving under the influence). Drinking and smoking can also lower your inhibitions and this may cause you to engage in behaviors you wouldn’t normally do if you were sober which could also cause you to sin. There is also a risk for addiction, which isn’t necessarily a sin on its own, but it can definitely switch your priorities away from God, which is sinful when you start putting your substance use above Him. I’ve dealt with addiction myself, so this is me speaking from personal experience.

Be honest with yourself. If you think recreational or social use is risky for you it might be best to stay away. Be mindful of how you feel mentally, physically, and spiritually and always be responsible with use of any substance. If you ever feel like you can’t control yourself just know that there are resources out there for you should you find yourself in a difficult situation. Hopefully something I said is beneficial to your question! God bless!

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I live in one of the first states to legalize marijuana. My only objection to using it and it’s still a concern is that it impairs driving abilities. Besides the issue of driving while high, is the problem of legally determining if someone is.

With alcohol we can measure the amount in their blood and determine a limit for impaired. This can not be done with marijuana. We have no way to distinguish how high they are and even if they currently are high or had a few joints last night. Because the THC levels remain for so long, it becomes hard to prosecute them other than their behavior or erratic driving. Those seeking jobs often have to have drug screens and even after a month may still test positive…it depends on their liver function.

So, it’s legal yet it’s a problem for law enforcement to prove the driver was high and just how high in court. Eventually, testing will improve to determine more closely these issues. Until then, just make sure you don’t smoke and drive and even if you haven’t smoked for a few days, be careful…it may be hard to prove you weren’t high when pulled over.

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