Oil, war, prohibition, and cancer: a revisionist history of cannabis
Part I — In search of extraordinary inspiration, I began this article using the bible to make anointing oil with cannabis.
In the book of Exodus (30: 22-23) from the Old Testament, the recipe calls for nine pounds of flowering cannabis tops about 6.5 litres of olive oil with sprinkles of other herbs and spices, including myrrh which is the resin of an old world tree.
Why would I cook anointing oil in my deep fryer? I was inspired by Chris Bennett who claims that Christ’s godly experience is a head high from using anointing oil laced with cannabinoids (Accessed source on July 13, 2014). Bennet coauthored the book titled Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible: The Pagan Origins of the Judaic and Christian Traditions (Volume 2, The New Testament and Related Literature) by Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen. If the oil were good to turn a carpenter circa 30 AD into a deity, I was hoping it would work on me too. Who knows?
To test this wild hypothesis I covered 10 grams of cannabis buds (strain with a high THC content) with olive oil, then I added a stick of cinnamon and a pinch of myrrh. I’m not sure that myrrh does anything special excepted smell good but I figured I might as well strive to emulate the biblical recipe in case I did encounter God and myrrh oil had something to do with a part of the old testament I wasn’t aware of. Sometimes the old testament has a way of blindsiding you like in the part where Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, the first democracy activist martyrs (they weren’t really the first but the story is more appealing if we pretend they were), refused to follow Moses like lemmings headed over the cliffs, saying that everyone is holy and should be free to think independently. God killed them and their families for daring to challenge Moses (Genesis 16:1-35). I wouldn’t want to run afoul of some forgotten rule that hadn’t been enforced for five thousand years.
With a little bit of basic knowledge about plant chemistry that I have painstakingly gathered for my PhD dissertation in plant biochemistry and a decade as a lab rat, I knew to heat the oil for 3 hours to dissolve the cannabinoids into the olive oil. I used my deep fryer which I jerry rigged especially for the experiment. I filtered the mixture and let it cool down. I let the anointing oil sit on the shelves until the right moment, waiting for divine inspiration.
On a listless Saturday night, I anointed my face, neck and forehead. While I waited for the deity to appear, I contemplated the issues that are so unique to the marijuana industry. For one, I have never seen a field of science with so many myths and contradictions. But the problem is that at times the myths take precedence over science. I have never worked in a field of science so confusing as the cannabis field. Here most of the knowledge is anecdotal and sits in the head of people who’ve grown and researched marijuana in their basement, barns, fearing that the local sheriff’s department is about to come knocking down their front door. I was challenged to find a way to reconcile the traditions of outlawed growers with the painfully unforgiving scientific method. I call this cannascience: a world of myths full of traditions that predate the bible. But because of the Prohibition, the knowledge is packaged in cultist dogmas and habits like using bat guano and coconut fibre to grow marijuana in the secrecy of smelly basements with covered windows.
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From what I have read the use of marijuana-laced anointing oil was limited to the elite in biblical time. These thoughts made my head spin a little. I sat on my front porch and stared at the clouds, waiting for inspiration. My dog slinked by, crouched beside me and licked residues of anointing oil off my fingers. I wondered what kind of high he would get: a body high or a head high? The literature shows that dogs get high too but at the moment I was too mentally lazy to worry about the incidence of cannabinoid receptors in dogs. For clarity cannabinoid receptors are those parts of the cell membranes that react to the active molecules of cannabis. The human body naturally produces substances that bind to the cannabinoid receptors to handle pain for example. Therefore cannabis only emulates natural processes.
Dogs are an interesting enigma. They rule kings among domesticated animals. But they are to domesticated animals what cannabis is to domesticated plants though I’m growing certain that cannabis has played a greater role in the evolution of humankind than dogs. For one thing, there is a possibility that cannabis-laced anointing oil is implicated in some divine revelations including perhaps the one where John the Baptist anointed Jesus of Nazareth to become Jesus Christ.
In my next article I’ll discuss the co-evolution of cannabis and humankind.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>