Which substances can I partake in?

As a member of this forum I’ve seen many posts on drugs or other substances but few overall theological/moral summaries.

Which of the following can I partake in morally (and in moderation).

Cigarrettes - Kills the most poeple

I’m sincerely trying to find out what people think about the above. Here is my opinion:

Somewhat Moral:

Marijuana - Almost no deaths related to drug but is illegal and causes change in person

Anti-depressants - helps people but it is easy to overdose for the high, basically a legal form of marijuana.

Heroine - no redeeming qualities and causes death - immoral

Cigarettes - Causes death in self and others, immoral to smoke around others

Alcohol - Causes death in self and others, causes us to act immorally

The catechism states that both alcohol and tobacco can be used if they are used in moderation. That is, you do not overdo it or risk becoming heavily addicted.

Heroin and marijuana can’t be used, as they are illegal. Even if heroin was legal, it would be so addictive that it would be impossible to use in a moderate way.

Anti-depressants are medicine, and can be used if you have a prescription. They can’t be used for recreational or illegal purposes.

It seems you’re perfectly fine with medical marijuana then.

If you were on a desert island with no laws but your own and God’s, would marijuana be moral to use? Would anti-depressants be immoral since you can’t give yourself a prescription? I’m curious how much of your argument is based off of laws and how much is based off of how dangerous the drug is.

Marijuana is legal in some jurisdictions…I personally have never used it nor have any desire to, but I feel that, assuming it is legal, a moderate use is not that much different from the moderate use of alcohol. Many would argue that the immoderate use of marijuana is significantly less harmful than the immoderate use of alcohol, but I have no opinion on that point.

Jerok, I’m curious if you have an opinion yourself on your questions?
Interesting thread; something different for a change.:slight_smile:

We are told to obey secular law, as long as it isn’t immoral to do so. There is nothing immoral about abstaining from the substances you’ve mentioned, so we are to obey the secular laws concerning these things.

As CaptBell800 addressed, legal prohibitions need to be followed.

Following that, there would seem to be two considerations:

a) only moderate use is allowable. For certain drugs (eg herion, amphetamines) they are so addictive or have such a strong effects that they could hardly be considered candidates for moderate use (if they were legal).

b) drunkeness (or whatever effect). We are not to get drunk, or effected in such a way that we are not reasonable sober. Whatever drugs are legal, and can be enjoyed moderately, still need to be taken in such a manner that we are in proper control of our minds and bodies.

The exception to this would be that double effect could allow for some such effect as an unintended consequence of taking something for a proportionally greater good effect, such as taking painkillers to treat serious pain.

I think it’s the ‘obey the secular law’ part that is so hard for me. There is no good reason why marijuana is illegal and alcohol/cigarettes is illegal. For instance, those companies that sell alcohol are the biggest anti-marijuana guys out there, lobbying the politicians to keep it illegal.

Would I rather be caught by Jesus smoking weed to take the edge off as wine does, or limiting the freedoms of others through unreasonable laws? Surely the former.

Question: If Jesus hadn’t turned water into wine, wouldn’t we all be against drinking alcohol? He chose what drug he liked in human form, why can’t we (in moderation, of course)?

I think a law that prohibits freedom to enjoy your life without harming others is an immoral law and does not need to be followed. Isn’t this the position of Catholicism?

CCC 1903 Authority is exercised legitimately o**nly when it seeks the common good of the group **concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience.

It seems all well and good to ban a drug, but if they stop at marijuana and don’t ban alcohol and cigarettes which are proven to kill hundreds of thousands a year… don’t you question whether it is for the good of society, or is it for a different, more money-driven purpose?

Sure, but the argument that they ought to ban alcohol and cigarettes does not further the case that they ought not to ban marijuana.

If marijuana is legally banned, and this ban is not “contrary to the moral order”, then it is not moral to consume it. The question remains whether it is “contrary to the moral order”. I think there are very good reasons for marijuana to be a restricted substance. Its contribution to mental health problems, especially in young men, is not inconsiderable.

There are compelling arguments that can be made against alcohol and cigarettes, but again, this does not furtehr the case for marijuana. And certainly, many countries are moving to make smoking as increasingly difficult as possible.

This seems to be a consistent position. Though it lets men arbitrarily decide what actions you can take. Banning marijuana is the same as banning big gulps, prohibition of alcohol, or banning video games. None of these things are necessary for you, so banning them isn’t immoral so to speak, but participating in these shouldn’t keep you out of communion with the Lord of the universe.

But I understand where you’re coming from, I think. You have the bigger picture in mind - the laws on the Earth may stop you from doing stuff you want, but you’ll follow them because they’re not causing you to sin and governments have been put in place by God.

This sin with alcohol comes with intoxication. Using something recreational with the intended purpose to get high is sinful. So you could make a case for the medicinal use of a drug prescribed by a doctor but as far as smoking a joint to get high. That would be a sin. The problem arises when you realze that the only reason to smoke pot is to get high for someone. That and the fact that it is hard to “dose” pot. Make it a substance that if you are using recreationally legal or not could be sinful. Not to mention the addictive quality of all of the mentioned things.

Taking the substances in order:

  1. Cigarettes: Immoral
    Reason: Use of cigarettes is a species of self abuse which is condemned by the church.
  2. Alcohol: Moral with reservations
    Reason: The bible condemns over-indulgence in alcohol.
  3. Marijuana: Immoral
    Reason: In most jurisdictions this is illegal. Breaking the civil or criminal law is immoral. St. Paul admonishes the churches to live in such a manner that no one can call them before the magistrates.
  4. Heroin: Immoral
    Reason: As 3)
  5. Anti-depressants: Moral with reservations
    Reason: In most jurisdictions these are controlled substances and are only to be used as prescribed by a physician.

Reb Levi

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