Why are drugs a mortal sin but smoking cigs, medicine ,caffiene and alcohol not


So I am just wondering why is smoking ciggerates(or nicotine for that matter) not sinful, seeing as how it is so bad for your health and can temporarly make you dizzy, if you are a new smoker. why isn’t it a mortal sin…it makes no sense.

Neither does the fact that caffiene isn’t a mortal sin, today i was drinking every 30 min to even function, or i would have went down due to being extremely tired and getting like no sleep. I mean the Cathecism always says use moderation, but i sometimes wonder why isn’t it a sin, it seems to hurt me alot at some points even when i take it in a normal dose, it gives me gas, and kind of makes me tired when the effect wears off, in todays case i had too much mocha coffee. It made me tired after having too much. Which i am guessing hurt me a little. Also i developed an addiction over it, on the days i don’t have it, i am overly tired even after getting a large amount of sleep, its like my body needs it to be up and running.

Also for alcohol i can see it is bad because if you have too much it hurts you and others. But a little is fine at least.

Still i don’t get it even at little amounts all can affect you slightly with your health, and moderation is the key to the lock of course. But i also read somewhere if something affects your morality & reason it is a mortal sin, is that in the Cathecism or what? Also how is cocaine and meth a mortal sin, the way i see it they don’t affect your morality and reason immediatly but after it may. When the drug wears off and you actually see the damage done to your body.Anyway can you guys fill me in on why cigs, caffiene, alcohol, and sometimes medicine is ok because it isn’t sinful, but why are drugs sinful to use, especially some drugs such as stimulants.


They impair your reason. Getting drunk on purpose is grave matter for this reason


Where does it say that imparation of reason and mortality is a mortal sin, also desribe both the meaning of reasoning in a substance based sense.




I just want to put my humble opinion down, even though I expect it to be controversial. I am not a Bishop, nor a theologian, but I don’t think the Magisterium has given thought to this question (yet).

Most drugs impede your reason: reason is the Image of God in our souls. To drown it out is extremely sinful. And anyway, reason is how we make good and righteous decisions: how can we expect to become Saints if we disable ourselves like that? Plus, they get us addicted: they ruin our freedom. How can we pray to the one True God freely if we turn material substances into idols? (tobacco smokers can do this too).

However, some drugs, like Cannabis, do not necessarily impede your reason, if you don’t abuse it. It is also not really addicting. I would think that using it, but avoiding a high that impedes your rationality, would not be a sin per se (just like drinking to the point of drunkenness is sinful, but drinking alcohol per se is not sinful: God actually encourages drinking for fun for certain occasions (not going too far, of course). Jesus drank wine at a wedding, for example).

HOWEVER, in most countries, Cannabis is ILLEGAL. In such neutral matters, (Cannabis is not inherently sinful) if a just state bans certain substances, you should respect the law, for disrespecting a just law is a sin. I think this is the reason why (in part) such drugs are a sin. Many people, though, who use softer drugs do so to avoid their problems, or to excessively indulge in sensory experience. This is very foolish and sinful (read St. Augustine’s Confessions) and should not be encouraged.

Ultimately, I think you should avoid all illegal drugs. Why risk your freedom, and more importantly, your soul on something that is a temporary pleasure and controversially a sin?

Christi pax,



Drunkenness is explicitly stated as deadly sin that leads away from Heaven by St. Paul.
While drinking wine in moderation can be medicinal stated by that same St. Paul.


As far as caffeine is concerned, me thinks you just need a better coffee drinking schedule.


I use this and have yet to experience any unhealthy dependency. :slight_smile:


what is cortisol


I’m no medical doctor but it says that cortisol is more or less the stuff that keeps your mind up. Drinking coffee at the right time helps you supplement the so-called cortisol downtimes instead of just burning out from drinking constantly during times when you actually don’t need to.


The Oatmeal!

I need the question to be asked in a more specific manner.
I do smoke cigarettes when I drink socially.


I honestly think if you drink coffee,alcohol,smoke cigs, and use medicine is fine, as long as you use moderation, if you use too much it can be like a drug, and thats what drugs are, overload of pleasure or feelings, not much good in that. I think that is why it isn’t a mortal sin.


The QUESTION I have asked here many times is why does using alcohol and cigarettes get a green light (not considered sinful), while any use of cannabis, even when legal, is ALWAYS sinful. No one could really give me a straight or definitive answer on that one.

As for stimulants, CAF members give legally prescribed stimulants a green light here. I was essentially (and indirectly) told that they (stimulants) are OK when Dr. prescribes them for you.


While smoking is bad for you I don’t think it impairs your reason like getting drunk or getting high would. People can drink for the taste of alcoholic drinks but do people use drugs for reasons other than getting high?


Most people use cannabis even medical cannabis for getting high, hardly anyone uses it for medical reasons, even the people who actually need it, there are other things that can help them other than a drug that distorts reality, anything that distorts reason/ morality even too much alcohol, caffiene and tabacco is bad it can and will replicate drugs like cocaine, opiates, anti-anxietes etc, you get the idea. Methamphetime on the other hand in a less intense form is used as an ADHD stabilizer, but again i even that is bad, i took it before and it wreaks you inside and out, prayer is the answer to it. ADHD meds are softer forms of drug stimulants but even then, we all know how bad it can be for a person, the medical field can sometimes be not a good place you know? Opiates for that matter are good for pain killing, if again, it is used in moderation, never too much it can hurt you, As for other drugs,especially weed, can distort your reality and morality. Weed being legal i don’t agree with but i think god is testing america in a way.

All in all god made these 3 things to be legal, caffiene, which used in low doses causes alert energy, nicotine(tabacco) which gives people a sense of anti-anxiety/stress relief, but can be extremely addictive, and alcohol, which can be used for joy and happiness, and to be happy and social with friends, too much of each can mimic other drugs and can hurt you, others and your relationship with god.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

This is the best i came up with, don’t put too much thought into it.



A large part of this topic depends on how you define drug. A drug is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “a substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.” This means that cigarettes, caffeine, alcohol, morphine, heroin and nutmeg (yes nutmeg) are all drugs.


There is too much in this which is plain wrong; sorry :frowning: Firstly I know plenty of people who were freed from not only pain, but dependence on opiates and many other prescription drugs to control pain, through the introduction of cannabis. There are receptors in the brain specifically built for the plant, called cannaboid receptors, that nothing else other than active cannaboid compounds will stimulate. So just like opiates (which has this same exclusive relationship), cannabis has a legit purpose intended by the Creator; not to be abused of course.
Secondly you place methamphetamine on a better scale, as it is the active ingredient in ADHD medication, yet the effects of that are much worse if abused. To indicate that cannabis is equal to getting drunk is also a misnomer. So to classify this ‘‘seed bearing plant’’ as a grave drug is wrong. A simple survey of a high person (assume only marijuana) vs a drunk person would show the vastly different effects.


While smoking is bad for you I don’t think it impairs your reason like getting drunk or getting high would. People can drink for the taste of alcoholic drinks but do people use drugs for reasons other than getting high?

I think the term "getting high is too vague for theological discussion. Is it hallucinating, stimulating the senses, dulling the senses, relaxing or increasing alertness? Some drugs are more like alcohol and others more like cigarettes or coffee.


Great response.


For loving things I should only use, I am heartily sorry.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.



I’m still in rcia, so I am definitely not an expert on Catholic teaching, but as a longtime and well studied Christian (protestant, mostly Baptist) I believe that these things only become sinful when they replace God in any way, when they impair your ability to learn and grow in God, or when they are worshipped (which can also be just taking too important of a role in your life. ) That statement can be applied to just about any drug, including caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. However, it is also a sin to defile your body and many drugs (even legally prescribed drugs) can permanently damage your body and mind. Then one has to decide if the medicine or the thing it treats is worse. It is not a sin to treat illness.

Is there official church teaching specifically against cannabis? I will be very surprised if there is, as it has been used as a medicine for thousands of years; including in the west until the twentieth century. Its medicinal properties are now being found to be amazing. I believe that God put it here as medicine, but like any substance, it should not be abused.

People who use it to control epilepsy often find that it has far less negative effects on their minds than the prescription antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). A psychotropic medication is indicated as necessary to control most forms of epilepsy, and cannabis fills the role nicely for some. Some people with epilepsy can use less psychoactive varieties, while others with other forms of epilepsy have to use more psychoactive varieties. Epilepsy is only one of many illnesses in which it can sometimes replace far more harmful medications.

I’ve read at least a few commentaries which say either that the church has no official position on cannabis as medicine, or that the official position is that if you genuinely use it as prescribed medicine then there is no sin. I would like to know if there is official position against any and all use of cannabis.

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