THE BIBLE and CALAMUS vs. CANNABIS:

With the Hebrew words for “calamus” and “cannabis” so similar, and the fact that calamus is of lesser value and also toxic, we must question the validity of the term “calamus” in English versions of Scripture. 

The word calamus is found in the KJV three times:
Exodus 30:23 God telling Moses the formula for the anointing oil (250 shekels worth.)
KJV-sweet calamus
NKJV-sweet-smelling cane
ESV-aromatic cane
NASB-fragrant cane
Song of Solomon 4:14, speaking of it in a refreshing garden
Ezekiel 27:19 speaking of cane as merchandise.

The KJV translates the Hebrew word “qaneh” (pronounced kaw-naw’) into “calamus.”  Per Strong’s Concordance, “qaneh” means “a reed (as erect); by resemblance a rod (especially for measuring) shaft, tube, stem, (the radius of the arm) beam (of a steelyard): – balance, bone, branch, calamus, cane, reed, spearman, stalk.”

The Hebrew word for “calamus” is “kanah bosm,” which is plural.  The singular for this is “kaneh bos,” which sounds remarkably close the modern word “cannabis.”

According to Webster’s New Hebrew dictionary, the current Hebrew word for cannabis is “kanabos.”
Thus, contentions that the KJV possibly interpreted the Hebrew word incorrectly as “calamus” warrant consideration.

If Exodus 30:23 is referring to a monetary value of calamus or cannabis, the “250 shekels” is approximately $125.00 worth (which is 2.5 cents/gerah X 20 gerahs/shekel X 250 shekels in Ex30:23) which is a considerable amount.
* Per the ATS Bible Dictionary (and others), a shekel is a term for either weight or currency (a coin.)  A shekel is worth 20 gerahs.  A gerah is the smallest weight or coin among the Jews, and worth about two and a half cents.

If the 250 shekels is referring to weight, instead of coinage, it is a considerable amount of whatever it is the KJV is referring to as “calamus.”

While cannabis is non-toxic (not a single death has ever been directly attributed to it, despite much effort being given to document such a fatality), calamus is most definitely a toxin. The FDA banned calamus from uses in food and medicines in 1968 as calamus contains more than 75% asarone.  Asarone is a poison which has been shown to cause cancer, and has ill effects on heart, liver and kidney functions.  This toxin in callamus is used for pest control.  Why would God specify a large quantity of a poison be used in holy anointing oil?

In 1936, Sula Benet, a Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw revealed solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis.  The word “cannabis had previously been thought to be of Scythian origin as Scythians first brought the plant to Europe, but Benet showed it has much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew.  “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”, and in traditional Hebrew “kaneh” or “kannabus.”  The root “kan” here means “reed” or “hemp”, while “bosm” means “aromatic.”  This word appears five times in the Old Testament (Exodus, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) and 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 3rd century BC, and was repeated in translations that followed.

It is illogical to assume that a plant as important as cannabis, which is such an incredibly useful source of fiber for textiles, loaded with nutritive oils and medicinal properties while also being non-toxic and ridiculously easy to grow, would have gone unnoticed and would have been ignored by the Judaic religion.

With as many benefits (medicinal and utilitarian) that cannabis has to offer humanity, I contend humanity needs to expedite the end of prohibition of this non-toxic plant.

Bible-believers, specifically, need to thoroughly examine this issue in light of the etymology (the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning), and the likelihood of mis-translation of “qenah” in the King James Version. WHAT IF God intended cannabis (as opposed to calamus) to be part of the anointing oil?

It’s time we talk about this.




About lkempen

Not one to be easily categorized, I'm here to try to spread the truth in a world where evil is now deemed to be good, and good is deemed evil. I am a Christian, wife, mother, and patriot. It has been said that the only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, so rather than "sitting and taking it," I am "standing up" to spread the truth. My Christian beliefs are Biblical, not denominational. I'm married to an absolutely amazing man, who happens to be a severely disabled US Army veteran, and is the love of my life. My children, are a joy, and great blessing; never ceasing to amaze me with their wit, intellect, and talents. As a patriot, I am exceedingly disheartened to witness what has happened to this great nation that our founding fathers worked so hard to protect from the ever impending threat of tyranny. While all that is happening is Biblically prophetic, we are not called to passively watch evil increase its hold; but instead to spread the truth, which is good news. So I am writing this blog to do just that, stand up for truth. Please join me, in the fight for truth, and freedom.
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17 Responses to THE BIBLE and CALAMUS vs. CANNABIS

  1. Frank Gainey says:

    I help people by making cannibas oil to help people.
    And to the Christian,Yahuah made the plant for people who are sick.
    He made all things..

  2. deb tharp says:

    Cannabis saved my husband’s life. All thanks to you for this very cogent explanation.

  3. lkempen says:

    Praise be to the Almighty!

  4. mike says:

    I’m definitely sympathetic to the cannabis possibility, but just to even the field I wanted to share some facts surrounding the toxicity of calamus and its reception by ancient cultures.

    The scientists that initially established the toxicity founded this on a study in which they fed titanic doses of beta-asarone in isolate to rats over a prolonged time-frame. It is precisely because of the absurdity of these doses that the restrictions were ultimately lifted on calamus and it was declared healthy. In fact, wherever this herb is revered in the world, it is regarded as a healer.

    “Even with the activation of these metabolites, the carcinogenic potency is very low because of the rapid breakdown of epoxide residues with hydrolase which leaves these compounds inert.”

    [Hasheminejad, G., and J. Caldwell. “Genotoxicity of the alkenylbenzenes α− and β-asarone, myristicin and elemicin as determined by the UDS assay in cultured rat hepatocytes.” Food and chemical toxicology 32.3 (1994): 223-231.] ..via Wikipedia

    Lastly, I just wanted to mention the ayurvedic stance on each of these herbs, since I find the perspective interesting. Whereas the ancient Indian herbal/dietary classification system regards cannabis as tamasic—meaning it will ultimately lead to inertia, sedentariness and sluggishness after the initial effects wear off, it classifies calamus as sattvic, promoting balance and lightness in the body.

    I am a fan of cannabis, but I respect calamus too and actually use the root to counteract the tamasic effects of cannabis. I don’t know what was intended in the old Hebrew texts, and the linguistic question is interesting, but I wanted to offer some extra perspective before readers assume Calamus is nothing but “a common marsh plant with little monetary value.” It is, after all, quite possibly the herb that was intended by the text.


  5. Pat says:

    Reblogged this on COMMON SENSE.

  6. Ann says:


    • crimsonsoldier says:

      Ann, My father had cancer and took opiods (oxy) for pain. At the time I didn’t really understand what opiods where. But there made by man and millions of people are addicted to them. But because its approved by the FDA its legal. Man decided to demonize Cannibus and legalize opiods, So your argument is completely full of propaganda for the simple fact that you left out how harmful man made prescription drugs are. You left that out completely and im ashamed of people that cant tell the entire truth as if they have something to gain by demonizing what keeps proving to by beneficial.. So beneficial the drug industry spends millions of dollars to put out disinformation about the affects of cannibus. While doing exactly what the cigarette industry did to conceal the death sentence associated with there product. Unless you are a very well paid executive for big pharma I would ask you, what is your point to literally splitting hairs about cannibus being grown by man. Its a plant..its not manufactured. its not synthetic, its not artificial, Its actually grown.

    • Shae says:

      Cultivation, grafting, selective harvesting….these are observational (experience & perception) tools used and passed along as knowledge. These are things we as humans do with a specific intent or set of intentions. Animals and insects do it out of instinct, pavlovian life conditionings, or as a result of the natural patterns that occur in the natural interactions between self-animated beings and their environmental surroundings.

      Intentional misinformation is manipulation, unintentional misinformation is ignorance.

      We are talking about a collection of information, experiences, and moral evolution meant to help us navigate the earth, navigate our emotional and intectual responses to outside influences, navigate the waters and navigate human interaction.
      We have been given an business cards worth of information and people are besides themselves with ‘truth’ ‘reality’ ‘gods word’ ‘certainty’ …

      Hemp is more textile in utilization.
      Cannabis is more physiological in application.

      Two ways to experience life:
      Sights,sounds,smells,touch,taste ( the senses, environmental surroundings )
      Sensory deprivation ( the mind, solitary cognition )

      Bottom line is that manipulation of the senses will result in a different situational experience , alteration in perception and responses or reactions, and it can be the catalyst for dynamic change.

      Thanks for the Dank Buds, God !

  7. lkempen says:

    I do not understand the points you are attempting to articulate here.
    You acknowledge Yahweh created cannabis, but what do you mean by it is “made not grown”?

    Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    I never suggested we are “commanded to use” cannabis, (and use of holy anointing oil is not a command), but you seem to be suggesting cannabis is harmful, when truthfully it is a super-food that is utterly non-toxic. Please research the properties of this miraculous plant before making such false claims. In contrast, Scripture warns us about pharmaceuticals, wisely referring to them as “sorcery”.

    What are you suggesting is wrong with cultivation?

  8. Bryan Skidmore says:

    The new world dictionary is of the new world order of the illuminati. An order of evil and deception. The 1611 kjv got it right. Calamus isn’t toxic. Nearly every county uses it except the USA. The FDA found out how much demand there is for cannabis (a plant that is offered to idols and has 2 pagan gods named for it.) I used to be part of the MPP and knew about their plan to convince people that cannabis is hemp and in the bible. When it’s not.

  9. crimsonsoldier says:

    My father died of prostate cancer in 2010 he did radiaton and chemo therapy and for the pain he was prescribed oxycodone or otherwise known as an opiod. I look back and wish so much that I would have offered him cannabis for the simple affect of side affects and appetite, he stopped eating and eventually like all patients became addicted to opiods and had never done any drugs his entire life. Im a blood washed believer and im tired of this world making pharma drugs acceptable and cannibus is demonized. Opiods kill people and destroy them over time, Its time that we tell the truth. God’s word does not speak against marijuana and if used appropriately can be a good thing

    • lkempen says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing.
      Chemo and radiation are brutal; frankly, I don’t understand how they are legal.
      I last my Dad to Alzheimers the same year you lost yours, and feel the same, that cannabis should have been used to help him.

      Anything can be abused. Cannabis prohibition is not about “safety”. It is literally safer to consume than water. It’s about greed, aka the love of money. Cannabis prohibition is easily proven to be based on ridiculous lies, and it renders the Controlled Substances Act incredible. Government has no valid reason to keep this miraculous God granted, non-toxic, plant from anyone. Their only jurisdiction over it is commerce.

  10. Michael Hill says:

    Those who practice pharmakeia will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

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