Latter Day Saints follow a health code called the Word of Wisdom. But where do LDS leaders stand on CBD? We clear up any confusion right from the source. Church Urges ‘Cautious Approach’ on Medical Marijuana Issue in Utah UPDATE — Church Statement Issued Monday, February 22, 2016 The Church issued this additional statement on Monday, February SALT LAKE CITY — Reaction is pouring in after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a legal analysis of the medical marijuana ballot initiative in Utah, and one active member of the LDS Church whose son is terminally ill read the memo and is confused about why the church is holdin
CBD and the Word of Wisdom
We know, this is a strange topic for a company blog. Although most people will have no clue what the title is even referencing it’s likely that you are aware of the Mormon religion and some of their peculiar teachings. Our business is actually located near Salt lake City, Utah, which is also where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is headquartered. And since many of the residents of this state identify as members of the LDS church, it felt like a worthwhile subject. If you found this post it is likely that you had some particular questions. Let’s see if we can get some answers.
History of the Word of Wisdom
Considered as a ‘code of health’ by members of the LDS faith, the Word of Wisdom is the name given to a section of the Doctrine & Covenants which was written by the church’s founder, Joseph Smith in 1833. In the text of the 89th section of the book, the use of “strong drink” and wine are discouraged as well as tobacco, hot drinks and the use of meat more than sparingly. Although not typically focused on as much, the text also encourages the use of fruits, grains and herbs. By living in accordance with these suggestions those that adhere are promised health and wisdom.
When it was originally written members were not required to live this principle but merely encouraged to do so. In the early 1900’s it began to be more required and by 1921 adherence was officially a prerequisite for baptism and admittance into the church’s temples which are considered sacred buildings. Over the past two centuries church leader have found it necessary to update the teachings in the original text. The general recommendation of avoiding harmful and illegal drugs has been included in more recent years and even updated to include vaping and other clarifications as recent as 2019.
What does the Word of Wisdom have to do with CBD?
With the recent popularity of cannabis for medicinal purposes as well as ongoing changes to legality in many states, the word of wisdom landscape has become more difficult to navigate for church members. The introduction of legal hemp products has added to the confusion. The stigma and controversy surrounding cannabis as well as the fear of disobeying church teaching has made church members averse to trying these products. So where would CBD stand with church teachings and can members seek its benefits while remaining in good standing?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant called a cannabinoid. There are in fact over 100 known cannabinoids found in the plant with the two most popular being CBD and THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol is what produces the psychoactive effects the plant is known for. While CBD has been shown to have side effects, none have been shown to produce any kind of “high”. They do however interact with the bodies endocannabinoid system which although still being researched, may be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive functions. Some of these include immune activity, appetite, mood, memory and pain sensation. The ability to get these benefits without the “high” typically associated with cannabis has led to the surge in popularity of CBD products.
There is another distinction to be made however. Most CBD products are derived from hemp, which is a strain of cannabis that has been cultivated for specific purposes. In order for the plant to be classified as hemp it can only contain trace amounts of THC, less than .3% specifically. The fact that there is still some THC in the plant has raised questions about product legality until hemp was made legal in the 2018 US Farm Bill. These legal questions along with its association with cannabis have perpetuated concerns around usage and the word of wisdom.
What does the LDS Church say?
Let’s look into more recent church announcements and see if we can decipher wether or not these products can or should be used in accordance with the word of wisdom. As mentioned earlier, the church leadership made some clarifications recently about some of these more modern issues. In a letter written to church members in the state of Utah, church leaders made this statement regarding it’s view on medical marijuana:
“we do not object to marijuana derivatives being used in medicinal form—so long as appropriate controls and safeguards are in place to ensure vulnerable populations are protected and access is limited to truly medicinal purposes”
So we see that the church leadership is okay with use for genuine medical needs. This doesn’t exactly address their views on hemp derived products so we may need to dig a bit deeper.
In February of 2016 the Utah senate passed senate bill SB 89. In response to this bill the church offered the following statement:
“While we are not in a position to evaluate specific medical claims, the Church understands that there are some individuals who may benefit from the medical use of compounds found in marijuana. For that reason, although the Church opposes SB 73, it has raised no objection to SB 89.”
This senate bill approved access to cannabis in the cannabidiol (CBD) form. So there you have it. Without having to read between the lines we can see that the church has not advised against the use of CBD in the word of wisdom. Members will not have to worry about their standing in the church if they decide to try CBD products to address certain physical ailments.
Where do I start?
So if you are one of those LDS church members curious about trying CBD oil in any of its forms where should you start? With the rise in popularity there are CBD companies everywhere and that can make finding a good product a little intimidating. First you’ll want to find a trustworthy company. At the minimum you’ll want to look for a company that posts third party lab tests. Unfortunately many products claiming to contain CBD have been shown to be less than advertised. By looking at lab test you can at least feel confident you are getting what you paid for and they are potentially safe to consume. Also be aware that there are a variety of products available. Full spectrum and Isolate (THC Free) products are a couple you’ll come across. Read our blog post on these to become more familiar with what they are. You’ll find it here.
In this new unregulated market, product safety and potency should be your primary concerns. We have done our part to provide products that address these issues and are happy to answer any questions you have. Anything else regarding the LDS church and its policies should be directed towards local church leaders and official church statements.
Church Urges ‘Cautious Approach’ on Medical Marijuana Issue in Utah
UPDATE — Church Statement Issued Monday, February 22, 2016
The Church issued this additional statement on Monday, February 22, in response to news media requests:
In our view, the issue for the Utah Legislature is how to enable the use of marijuana extracts to help people who are suffering, without increasing the likelihood of misuse at a time when drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, especially among youth. Recent changes to SB 73 are a substantial improvement. We continue to urge legislators to take into account the acknowledged need for scientific research in this matter and to fully address regulatory controls on manufacture and distribution for the health and safety of all Utahns.
As the Utah State Legislature considers two bills on the use of medical marijuana, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statements outlining its position.
Church Statement Issued Friday, February 12, 2016
While we are not in a position to evaluate specific medical claims, the Church understands that there are some individuals who may benefit from the medical use of compounds found in marijuana. For that reason, although the Church opposes SB 73, it has raised no objection to SB 89. These two competing pieces of legislation take very different approaches when it comes to issues like access, distribution, control and the potential harm of the hallucinogenic compound, THC.
In addition to the therapeutic, treatment, and control questions, there are several other important issues to be resolved. At the forefront is that the use of medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law. We agree with groups such as the American Medical Association, who have said (see the AMA policy below) that further study is warranted before significant public policy decisions on marijuana are advanced. For these reasons, the Church urges a cautious approach.
Church Statement Issued Friday, February 5, 2016
As we have said during previous legislative sessions, there are a number of potential impacts that must be considered in any discussion about the legalization of medical marijuana, including balancing medical need with the necessity of responsible controls.
Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legalization of medical marijuana. We have expressed opposition to [SB 73] because of that concern. We are raising no objection to the other bill that addresses this issue.
LDS father who uses CBD oil to treat son reacts to church’s stance on medical marijuana ballot initiative
SALT LAKE CITY — Reaction is pouring in after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a legal analysis of the medical marijuana ballot initiative in Utah, and one active member of the LDS Church whose son is terminally ill read the memo and is confused about why the church is holding such a strong stance.
“My faith in God has only grown understanding how cannabis works in our body,” Dave Cromar said.
Through prayer and revelation, Cromar says he was guided to medical marijuana four years ago to help his then 7-year-old son, who suffers from epilepsy.
“It’s the first time we found true success and healing in our son,” Cromar said.
So Cromar moved his family from Utah to Colorado to legally get CBD oil for his son. He said he was overwhelmed with support from fellow LDS members as well as his local leaders in Colorado.
“Our stake president in Colorado said, ‘I’m a cancer survivor and I wish I had that option when I was going through all that,’” Cromar said.
When CBD oil was legalized in Utah his family moved back, but he says there’s a stark contrast in how he is treated.
“I was just blown away,” he said. “I don’t know what the issue is with it specific to Utah.”
Friday, the LDS Church released its most detailed argument yet for why Utah should not legalize medical marijuana using the current ballot initiative. The analysis outlined 31 results that the LDS Church said “raises grave concerns.”
According the analysis conducted by a law firm in Salt Lake City, those concerns include allowing people to grow their own marijuana, creating significant challenges for law enforcement, allowing dispensaries to give free samples, allowing minors to use medical marijuana, requiring science to be ignored, and concerns that large numbers of Utahns will likely qualify for medical cannabis cards.
Those behind the medical marijuana ballot initiative say they respect opinions of those who disagree but say the initiative, “…ensures that those who need this God-given plant for medicinal purposes can use it without fear of criminal punishment.”
But now some LDS Church members like Cromar are left with questions for church leaders.
“I would like to know these statements that you’re making, are they coming from revelation or are they just pure opposition to legal issues, or where is this coming from? This isn’t doctrine so what is it?” Cromar said.
The ballot initiative appears to have secured enough signatures to be placed on the November ballot, but the Lt. Gov. must officially certify which ballot initiatives were successful by May 15.
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