Are there any references in the Talmud, Rishonim, or earlier sources that discuss marijuana or any non-alcoholic drug-use?

Specifically drug-use for recreation, i.e. not specifically for medical use.

I'm not looking for any theories, e.g. that kane bosm (fragrant cane) is a reference to marijuana, or anything like that.


1 Answer 1


There are a couple of indirect references in the Bavli:

  • Rav advised his son not to take drugs habitually (Pesachim 113a).

  • Rabbi Judah son of Rabbi Hiyya compared the drugs of humans to the drugs of HASHEM: "When a man administers a drug to another it may be beneficial to one limb but injurious to another, but with the Holy One, blessed be He, it is not so: He gave a Torah to Israel and it is a drug of life for all his body, as it is said: 'And healing to all his flesh' (Mishlei 4:22)." (Eruvin 54a)

This does not indicate a particularly favorable view about them by the Amoraim.

  • 1
    As far as the advice in P'sachim, the Talmud doesn't mention the word "habitually," though Rashi, but not Rashbam, understands it this way. The reason given by both commentators is that it can lead to addiction (though Rashi mentions a second explanation that such remedies help with one condition but exacerbate another). The second source you mention refers to medicines or curatives in general, not specifically addictive or psychoactive ones.
    – Fred
    Jul 28, 2015 at 22:58

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