The historic use of 'Kaneh Bosm' or the 'fragrant cane' by the Hebrews has been well documented in their religious texts such as the Old Testament. The first solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis was established in 1936 by Sula Benet, a little known Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw.
The word cannabis was generally thought to be of Scythian origin, but Benet showed that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, and that it appears several times throughout the Old Testament. Benet explained that "in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant."
Benet demonstrated that the word for cannabis is kaneh-bosm, also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kaneh or kannabus. The root kan in this construction means "reed" or "hemp", while bosm means "aromatic". This word appears five times in the Old Testament; in the books of Exodus, the Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
The word kaneh-bosm has been mistranslated as calamus, a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to kaneh-bosm. The error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint in the third century BC, and was repeated in the many translations that followed.
A reading of the Old Testament reveals that Yahweh "came to Moses out of the midst of the cloud" and that this cloud came from smoke produced by the burning of incense. As scholar Ralph Patai commented in his book The Hebrew Goddess, "Yahweh merely put in temporary appearances in the tent of meeting. He was a visiting deity whose appearance in or departure from the tent was used for oracular purposes."
One is reminded of the ancient Persian sage Zoroaster, another monotheist like Moses, who heard the voice of his god, Ahura Mazda, while in a state of shamanistic ecstasy produced by cannabis. The Greek oracle of Delphi also revealed her prophecies from behind a veil of intoxicating smoke.
The insights achieved from the use of cannabis, whether inhaled in the Tent of the Tabernacle or applied topically, could have been interpreted by Moses as messages from God. This is similar to modern shamans who interpret their experiences with plant hallucinogens as containing divine revelations.
In the following documentary, "Kaneh Bosm", Chris Bennett takes a look at the fascinating references to Cannabis in the Old Testament that have been suggested by anthropologist Sula Benet and other researchers. The video features interviews with Prof Carl Ruck, Dr. Ethan Russo, David Hillman PhD., as well as drug historians and authors Chris Conrad, Michael Horowitz, Martin Lee, and Michael Aldrich. Included is a discussion of the linguistics behind the theory as well as a look at the references in context of the Biblical story line and the use of cannabis by the surrounding cultures who influenced the Jewish cosmology, such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Canaanites and Scythians.
In The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, Scholar John M. Allegro points out that ancient peoples believed psychoactive plants to be living gateways to other realms, and thought of them as angels. The Greek and Hebrew equivalent of the word angel literally means messenger or worker of miracles.
Seeing the present trend in the US with various states pushing for legalization, it won't be long before people all across the world start waking up to the truth and the sacred herb shall be seen for what it truly is and not something to be afraid of.
Reference : Cannabis Culture
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