Home Cannabis Study: Why Religious People Are Less Likely To Use Marijuana

Study: Why Religious People Are Less Likely To Use Marijuana

Americans who regularly attend religious services are less likely to use cannabis for medical or recreational reasons. Unless, of course, you are are a Rastafarian.

According to a report published in Journal of Drug Issues, the more devout believers “tend to exhibit lower rates of medical and recreational marijuana use.”

The researchers found:

The authority perspective suggests that religious involvement may also deter substance use by encouraging a general deference to authority, conformity to societal norms, and adherence to laws. Numerous biblical passages counsel adherents to submit to various “authorities” and “ordinances” (e.g., Hebrews 13:17; Peter 2:13-14; Romans 13:1-7). For instance, Romans (13:1-2) advises: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” Those who are active within religious institutions may favor conformity through fear of divine retribution, internalized moral codes, guilt avoidance, and the social context of obedient peer networks. If religious individualsare more deferential to authority than others, they may be more likely to obey laws prohibiting illicit substance use and the use of prescription drugs in the medically prescribed manner.

The study reveals that it’s not just cannabis — religious people are generally opposed to alternative medicine compared to those who self-identify a being “spiritual.” One theory suggests that religious individuals may disapprove of certain medical technologies in part because they see potential value in suffering, as compared to nonreligious individuals, which tend to view suffering as something to stop as quickly as possible.

Of course, this is not the first study to find religiosity and marijuana don’t mix. A 2016 study found that people who believe that the Bible is God’s word were 58 percent less likely to also say they support marijuana legalization.

Earlier this year, a Pew Research Poll found that only 38 percent of white evangelical Christians support marijuana legalization. Eight out of 1o Americans who do not affiliate with an organized religion support cannabis reform.


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