Most people don’t think of cannabis and religion as going hand in hand. However, spiritual seekers throughout the ages have employed the herb to help them get in touch with themselves and God.
The Vedas (sacred, ancient Hindu texts) refer to cannabis as one of five sacred plants, and hold that a guardian angel lives in its leaves. Because of this association, Hindus have used the herb for millennia to bring them closer to the god Shiva who, according to some accounts, created cannabis from his own body. Shiva is also known as the Lord of Bhang, a drink made from cannabis paste added to milk, ghee (clarified butter), mangoes, and spices.
Perhaps the religion most closely identified with the use of cannabis (or ganja) by its practitioners is Rastafarianism, an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. Rastafarians treat the smoking of cannabis as a sacrament, and believe it to be the Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible.
To these older, more established religions, we can now add the Elevationists, as members of the International Church of Cannabis call themselves. “Members of the International Church of Cannabis are known as Elevationists,” the church’s website says. “Through ritual, guided by spiritual practice, church members use the sacred flower to reveal the best version of self, discover a creative voice and enrich their community with the fruits of that creativity. Unlike other belief systems, there is no need to convert to Elevationism. It claims no divine law, no unquestionable doctrine, and no authoritarian structure.”
The Denver church opened on 4/20/2017, and has announced that it’ll soon become “the first ever church to offer wedding services in a ‘cannabis-friendly’ environment.” Whether or not you’re interested in membership, the church is worth a visit, if just to see the magnificent art within and without the chapel.
If you do plan to visit the International Church of Cannabis, we suggest you stop first at The Green Solution’s® Alameda location, just two miles west of the chapel, and pick up some fine TGS flower to enhance your trip.