Is It Permissible To Use Medical Marijuana?

Introduction

Marijuana, cannabis, ḥashīsh and hemp are well-known names of plants and derivatives that belong to the genus Cannabis. Cannabis is most popularly characterized by its narcotic, near-intoxicating effect which is caused by its main psychoactive constituent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Cannabis is categorised in the Sharī‘ah under those substances which are called narcotics, otherwise known as the Mukhaddirāt or المُخَدِّرات.

A study of the words connected to its Arabic root verb shows interesting connotations. The word al-khidr الخِدر linguistically means that which is covered. The word al-khudārī  الخُداري refers to a very dark night, or very dark clouds. When a camel is called khudārī it means that it is a rare black colour, ever rarer than a white camel. The word al-khadar الخَدَر refers to when someone is feeling lazy and languid, and al-khādir الخادر refers to one who gets left behind, or is slow to respond.

Thus, linguistically speaking from the Arabic language, if someone was to ingest a substance which was a mukhaddir or narcotic, then despite any initial peaking of senses and reactions, one would expect to feel “slow” and “left behind”, feel languid and lazy, things would feel dark and heavy, and one’s vision would not be clear like as if trying to make things out on a dark night.

Technically speaking though, a narcotic in medicine[1] is a drug which induces narcosis-like symptoms such as stupor, insensibility, numbness, drowsiness and pain relief. A narcotic is almost always seen as something psychoactive i.e. that it alters perception, mood and consciousness.[2]

The Fuqahā’ in general didn’t classically give a definition for something which was mukhaddir even though they spoke about various narcotics or intoxicants, and instead used their general principles concerning intoxication to explain its rulings.

This last point concerning intoxication is important. In the Sharī‘ah a narcotic in of itself is not necessarily forbidden especially if its primary effect is analgesia for example. Numbness and drowsiness are the side effects of a huge number of medications especially opioid analgesics, or stimulants or sleeping tablets or more accurately anti-depressants, anxiolytics, anti-psychotics etc. This is similar to the medical community, where the word “narcotic” in of itself doesn’t have a negative connotation. Legally speaking though, narcotics refer to illegal drugs in general. That is why it is important to be accurate in definition when we discuss this group of drugs.

 

The Ruling on the Use of Recreational Marijuana

When looking to see what the Islamic ruling on a substance is, one looks to those effects or “states of being” as a whole and not individually. Addictive substances are problematic but one can be addicted to chocolate very easily. Stimulants can be a problem but coffee is something allowed by the mass majority of scholars. Those substances which induce a stupor or drowsiness are problematic, however sleeping tablets do nothing but that. Euphoric elation-inducing substances are a problem area however the majority of anti-depressants make people happy for all intents and purposes. Anything which is harmful to the individual or the society at large is one of the most simple of all principles to apply, but then many halal things can be harmful if not used correctly.

I hope it is clear then that it is only when such effects are combined, or any individual effect becomes so dominant or addictive or dangerous do the scholars then consider such a substance to be forbidden in the Sharī‘ah. Alcohol is a classic example, likewise heroin, cocaine, LSD etc.

Thus if a narcotic’s primary effects include elation, euphoria and delirium, alongside its normative effects of drowsiness and insensibility, then in the Sharī‘ah[3] it is also classed as an intoxicant or a مُسْكِر i.e. it changes one’s perception, behaviour, judgement and cognition. Not all narcotics are intoxicants, even though they might display some “intoxicating effects”.

A quick word on intoxication: it might be surprising to some but the scholars generally failed to reach agreement on the exact definition of what the state of “intoxication” entails. There is no shame in this. The medical community with all its tool and facts has similarly struggled, indeed it is the case that it might be difficult to describe however we all know what it is when we see it. Naturally, such an approach is not sufficient for legal purposes. Intoxication as a word or even a concept has such a vast richness of application, from the romantic and innocent intoxication of love, to the spiritual and obligatory with respect to our ‘ibadah, to the dangerous and prohibited of physical substance abuse which has dire consequences.

It is important to note now that when scholars rallied against any substance that was an intoxicant, it is because the state of intoxication they refer to is a very holistic one. It is not just being “off your head” or not being able to perceive correctly or being slightly insensible. Rather, there is a loss of modesty with immorality becoming the status quo. Not only are you a danger to yourself in that you have very little control of your physical motor functions and senses, but you are a significant risk to others too. Just from a legal standing in the modern world, alcohol is not a particularly dangerous chemical substance to the individual despite the impact of ethanol on the body, but rather it is the costs of crime, damage, policing and hospitalisation associated with alcohol use which is staggering. It is essential to remember this point. Likewise, the spiritual dimension must never be ignored. When intoxicated, one is unable to worship Allah as He should be. A person is not just in sin throughout the entire time of inebriation, but prone to further evil, and most importantly, removed from all opportunities of good. The consequences of such a state could be devastating. Full intoxication with alcohol just at the physiological level is not something quick and indeed can last for a significant period of time. From an Islamic point of view, how risky is such a state? How many possible crimes could occur in such a time period when one’s social inhibitions have been removed? What is the spiritual cost of not being in a state to worship one’s Lord for so long? It is unsurprising that in the Book of Allah when alcohol was prohibited, it was paired up with polytheistic practices, and in another place, with the inability to pray. This spiritual cost is far more serious than any other cost.

That is why it is vital one is holistic when trying to understand the meaning of intoxication; many drugs can lower a person’s inhibitions, but their behaviour might still be within control. Other drugs might have a very quick intoxicating effect, or are limited in scope. In principle, we don’t want to give license to drug use if it intoxicates exactly and to the same level as alcohol does, due to the multitude of effects and risk of addiction. As I will explain later, that is why we differentiate between substances that exhibit only part effects of intoxication or show a different profile. It is therefore possible to allow a drug to be used in medical emergencies which is 100 times more dangerous than alcohol, indeed perhaps even a poison, because in a holistic sense it is more safe overall than alcohol will ever be. But now back to Cannabis.

The two main strains of Cannabis – indica and sativa – differ primarily due in the amount of active ingredient THC they contain. Cannabis sativa in general has a higher amount of THC which has the greater psychoactive euphoric effect, whereas Cannabis indica has relatively less THC but more cannabinoid (CBD) which almost reduces the psychoactive effect of THC and gives cannabis its more sleep-inducing effect. In layman terms, it can be said that THC causes the “high” and that CBD causes the “stoned” feeling. From an emotional angle, THC is bad and CBD is good. From a legal point of view, depending on the strain and the ratio of THC to CBD in that product, we have both intoxicating and euphoric effects, or the opposite i.e. little intoxication and more sleep-inducing relaxation effects.

It is also vital to mention the harmful effects of cannabis, similar to most other drugs classified as narcotics. Most narcotics are indeed illegal because of their dangers to the body, both in small doses and overdoses, as well as their addictive qualities which make users stop at nothing in order to get their fix, and thus regularly turning to crime to feed their habit. Although not as dangerous as say heroin, cannabis has been identified as a prime activator of many psychotic illnesses especially schizophrenia.[4]

Therefore because of marijuana’s combined narcotic, psychoactive, intoxicating, euphoric and harmful effects, it is considered Islamically impermissible to consume in any of its forms as I explained earlier here.[5] It is also considered an illegal drug in most of the modern world – a narcotic in the “negative” sense of the word i.e. an illegal illicit drug – and its use and supply is punishable by the State.

But this is all related to recreational use. Marijuana has been used by different civilisations as a medicine for thousands of years, and in recent times there has been a lot of interest in its potential medicinal use especially for muscle spasms and severe pain relief.

Both THC and CBD have important pharmacology. THC has analgesic, anti-spasmodic, anti-tremor, anti-inflammatory, appetite-stimulant and anti-emetic properties. CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-psychotic, anti-oxidant, neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects. CBD is not intoxicating and is considered to alleviate some of the unwanted psychoactive side effects of THC.[6]

So, is there any space in the Sharī‘ah for the use of what has been termed “medicinal marijuana”?

 

What Is Medicinal Marijuana?

Firstly it must be said that the phrase “medicinal marijuana” is a vague and inaccurate one. Within the scientific community this would refer to medicines under statutory control which are very carefully regulated both chemically and legally. This would include licensed medication such as Sativex® which is an oromucosal spray based on Cannabis sativa corresponding to 27mg/ml of THC and 25mg/ml of CBD.[7] It is this medicine that is the main focus of this paper.

However a more lay approach to “medicinal marijuana” would be the simple use of normal cannabis in any of its original popular forms whether simply smoking a joint of weed or using cannabis oil/spray or ḥashīsh resin, with “the intention of medicinal benefit” in an illegal manner and most probably outside the supervision of specialists and physicians. You shouldn’t be surprised that this is a far more difficult and risky area to deal with, and one which could be abused by many people. This is one of the reasons why the ‘Ulemā have been loath to rule on the issue in case the general public take matters into their own hands as is likely to happen. Indeed, such realities are often behind the call to hurry through products such as licensed medication versions taken under supervision, or indeed changes in legislation such as decriminalizing marijuana use to reduce the uncontrolled, dangerous, illicit use of the drug.

 

Is Marijuana A Pure Intoxicant?

It has been postulated that if cannabis is an out an out intoxicant, then it would not be permissible to use in any circumstance because the Prophet ﷺ said concerning alcohol when one of the Companions said he was brewing it for medicinal purposes, “It is not a medicine, rather it is a poison.”[8] As far as I know, none of the scholars ever allowed the use of alcohol for example for medicinal purposes, even in the populist sense as a way of numbing pain prior to an amputation in the absence of any anesthesia. This ḥadīth was literally applied and agreed upon by the Ummah.

Thus if any narcotic or indeed marijuana is to be seen as an intoxicant like alcohol, then it would also theoretically not be possible to use for medicinal purposes. There is a difference between a substance having some intoxicating effects, and a substance being an intoxicant in its main use and identification. Cannabis strains differ in their composition, especially those which have been modified, and some hardly intoxicate at all especially those with a high ratio of CBD to THC. We should of course remind ourselves here that it isn’t just for intoxication reasons that narcotics like marijuana are prohibited for recreational use.

The majority of the Fuqahā’ opined that the impermissibility of narcotics is “less” than the impermissibility of alcohol[9], that the one who consumes them is not punished with the ḥadd (prescribed punishment) for alcohol but rather with a ta‘zīr discretionary punishment[10], that they are not physically impure unlike alcohol[11], and that it is possible to consume a small amount unlike alcohol which is prohibited in any single amount.[12]

On this latter point the scholars differed. Ibn ‘Ābidīn considered it permissible to use a small amount of non-liquid intoxicant in cases of necessity unlike liquid intoxicants. He considered the ḥadīth “Whatever intoxicates in large amounts, is forbidden even in small amounts”[13] to only apply to liquid intoxicants such as alcohol in all its forms. He considered any physical intoxicants to not be intrinsically prohibited (unlike alcohol) but rather prohibited for its harmful effect, and so if it had a beneficial use in small amounts then this was permissible in medicinal cases and not for recreation. He gave the example of poison, saying, “Some medicines are poisonous and yet their use in small amounts for beneficial purposes is permissible unlike in large harmful amounts which is impermissible.”[14]

There is an interesting corollary here with the issue of nutmeg, a well known cooking ingredient which also has intoxicating properties if taken in significant, but pure amounts. When it is a part of another product however such as a cake, it is in tiny amounts, and it cannot cause intoxication even if huge amounts of that cake was consumed. It is not because nutmeg is a non-liquid substance but more because even in large quantities it is more harmful than it is an intoxicant, that it was allowed by a number of the Fuqaha’ in cooking and even to sell as a raw product for spice use etc as long as there were no nefarious intentions.

It should be noted here that the position of the majority of scholars is that there is no difference between liquid and non-liquid intoxicants in their impermissibility, and that is the position of this author as well.[15] One does understand though why there is such a focus on only liquid intoxicants by some of the scholars, indeed it’s unsurprising if you consider that even in the time of al-Fayrūzābādī (d. 1414 CE) he collected the names of 357 intoxicating liquids in his al-Jalīs’l-Anīs fī Taḥrīm al-Khandarīs!

In summary, cannabis as mentioned earlier is not a pure intoxicant, especially in its variant forms where the CBD ratio is high compared to the amount of THC which has the intoxicating effect. Thus, one must judge on a case-by-case basis on the strain of cannabis being presented. If it leads one to alter their behavior significantly, causing insensibility and such a change in consciousness so that one has no idea what one is saying or doing, then it would be considered an intoxicant. Although the classical Fuqahā’ differed on the exact details of what they considered intoxication to technically be, common themes include shamelessness, depravity of character, debauchery, a tendency towards immoral behavior, and inebriation to the level of committing clear criminal acts without feeling any ethical or moral accountability or conscience. They considered “foolish” behaviour, silliness, forgetfulness, being confused, having a tendency to lie and to rave on madly all to be signs of intoxication, whereas Ibn Nujaym the famous Ḥanafi even stated that a person would be so unware of reality that “they wouldn’t be able to differentiate between a man and a woman, or the Earth and the sky.”

 

The Ruling On Non-Intoxicating Narcotic Use

We must be able to categorise a narcotic drug to see whether it is primarily an intoxicant or not. If it is, we cannot use it even for medicinal purposes. If it is not an intoxicant, then if it is for recreational use etc then it is impermissible. However if there were a need such as for a medicinal purpose then its use would become permissible, for the following reasons:

  1. That it is not an intoxicant and thus the ḥadīth “It is not a medicine, rather it is a poison” would not apply, and then it would come down to clinical testing. If it can be shown that there is a beneficial effect and use of the drug – as there has been in many cases for various types of narcotics – then it is allowed in controlled amounts as per the instructions of specialists.
  1. The amount and frequency of use of the drug does not cause addiction. If one starts to use it outside of the stipulated frequency then it becomes impermissible. Note that having to continuously need a drug because of its desired legal effect, where its absence would bring back the illness or symptom, is not considered as addiction. Most of the time, addiction is a problem because of the harmful effect it might have, but if there are no harmful effects due to that addiction then the scholars allowed that substance such as coffee etc, even though they correctly caution again losing one’s discipline and self-control when it comes to items of desire, food and drink etc.
  1. What Ibn ‘Ābidīn mentioned concerning the use of “poison” is to be applied here in this case. As long as the amount used does not cause harm, it is permissible to use.
  1. It is well known in the religion that a ḍarūrah or necessity allows for the use of impermissible products in order to safeguard one’s life, whether that is the eating of carrion or pork when faced with starvation, or even drinking alcohol if one is dying of thirst (here it is not being consumed for any medicinal purpose). The permissible use of a narcotic here for medicinal purposes is born from this principle.[16]

It is for these above reasons that we find a number of interesting statements from the Fuqahā’ from the various madhāhib.

The Mālikis allowed the use of a marqid or narcotic, and the taking of those substances that would induce heavy drowsiness – almost like the general anesthetics of today – in cases of amputation of limbs or great pain. They argued that any harm emanating from such a narcotic, was far more controllable than the harm emanating from the limb and the medical emergency/situation. They applied the principle of “the lesser of the two evils being permissible” in such cases.[17]

The Shāfi‘īs mentioned the permissibility of using any medicine that would allow a person “to lose their senses” if there was a valid reason for doing so. They stated that it was permissible to use narcotics for medicinal purposes if there was no other choice.[18]

Scholars from the Ḥanbali school of law discussed a situation where a person was “out of his head” due to narcotics use: they said if it had been for medical reasons then he was excused, and he would be treated like an insane person would be treated i.e. he is not to be punished. However if the person had taken narcotics for no medical/genuine need, then he would be treated like one who is drunk i.e. he is to be punished.[19]

The Ḥanafi jurists stated the permissibility of taking anything that would make a person unaware of the pain during the amputation of a limb affected with gangrene, as long as it was not wine/alcohol. They also discussed a scenario where someone had ingested opium or marijuana etc and were not in control of their senses, and then divorced his wife. They considered the divorce void if the person was “legitimately” out of his mind due to medicinal reasons i.e. he was using the substance for a legal reason. However if he was in a narcotic stupor for no medicinal reason, then the divorce remains valid.[20]

This goes back to a well-known discussion amongst the Fuqahā’ i.e. is there such a thing as an “excused” intoxication? Nearly all the Fuqahā’ agreed that if there was legitimate excuse such as a medical necessity, or someone had been forced to drink alcohol etc and then subsequently became intoxicated and unaware of their actions, then their “crime” would not be considered a crime, even if it was murder or apostasy. However “unexcused” intoxication led to differences amongst the scholars with Ibn Ḥazm and others still continuing with the same principle and considering certain acts still void. So even if a person intentionally got himself drunk and he divorced his wife, the divorce would be void. But the majority of the scholars agreed with the Ḥanafis i.e. that there should be no pardon for someone who became intentionally inebriated. And thus the divorce would remain valid.

In any case, the main point to take here is that Ḥanafis considered it legitimate to use a mukhaddir or narcotic for a medical necessity even though it is a forbidden product in principle, and as stated above this was also the position of the other three classical schools of fiqh.

Summary

It is the opinion of this author that narcotics which are not intoxicants[21] – in that a person is still aware of his senses – are permissible to use if there is a genuine need to do so because of a medical necessity etc. If carrion and the like are allowed due to necessity, then emergency medical use is even more obvious; a number of narcotics fulfil essential roles in controlling chronic or even severe acute pain and are considered permissible in their minimum amounts to stave off the problem. Al-‘Alā’ī the Shāfi‘ī jurist stated in commentary to the maxim “There should no harm or reciprocation of harm” that, “(this maxim also means that one should be) Using impure substances for medicinal use under the specific instructions of specialists, because the harm caused by taking such substances is less than the harm of remaining in severe pain which no-one can put up with.”[22]

 

The Permissibility Of Using Sativex®

Before anything else, it would be useful for us to state here a number of conditions that have been mentioned by the Fuqahā’ for similar cases, and can be extrapolated here as stipulations that must be met for the permissibility of using not just Sativex® but potentially other cannabis-based products and narcotics in general:

  1. The need for the use of such substances must reach the level of absolute necessity or a ḍarūrah. This is because only a necessity can make that which is normally forbidden, permissible to use. Symptomatic relief for chronic pain/conditions or severe acute pain is considered such a medical necessity.
  1. The substance being used in order to induce a narcosis-like state of relief must be genuinely beneficial and attested as such by trustworthy and specialist doctors and experts of the field. It is the opinion of this author that it is not a condition that these doctors are Muslim, even though a number of the Fuqahā’ stipulated that as a condition.[23]
  1. One is only allowed to use the minimum amount of the narcotic in order to stave off the medical necessity.[24] Any increase in the ingestion of that substance above the level which controls the problem, is impermissible.
  1. One can only use such a narcotic on the condition that there are no other permissible substances that would do the same thing, or that there is no other substance which is “less” forbidden.
  1. The use of the narcotic must not create a harm worse than the harm that the narcotic is being taken for in the first place.[25]

As long as these conditions are followed, we can consider each narcotic drug on its own merits and then apply these stipulations for its permissible use.

As mentioned earlier, this paper was meant to be focusing on a specific, well-known cannabis-based product that recently became a legal, licensed medication in twenty seven countries including the UK, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Italy. Sativex® is a cannabis-based spray taken by mouth, and contains a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD which is not found in smoked herbal cannabis. The spray reduces peaking of THC as seen when one smokes cannabis, and its effect is reduced by the high ratio of CBD, leading to only relatively low levels of intoxication in clinical studies. Its biggest strength is its low potency, its low dosage in each spray, its purity compared to a smoked version of the herb, and its low risk of addiction which even then can be very accurately titrated down (reduced) to a clinically beneficial level with few side effects or addiction.

Its primary use is for symptom improvement in adult patients with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) who have not responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication and who demonstrate clinically significant improvement in spasticity related symptoms during an initial trial of therapy. It is also used for neuropathic pain due to MS and other conditions, as well as an advanced analgesic in some cancer pains.

After a detailed study of its pharmacological properties, its clinical facts, the data from its clinical studies, its side effect profile and the SPC (Summary of Product Characteristics), I consider the use of Sativex® to be Islamically permissible as long as the five conditions are met, as outlined above.

It is a narcotic, which does not intoxicate in principle, and provides an essential medical function for those in desperate pain and difficulty especially those with MS and non-responsive neuropathic pain in other conditions. It has been well studied, well-formulated, well-tested and given to the public under only the highest levels of care and supervision from qualified specialists. The patients who usually use it have very good compliance profiles with little abuse or self-intoxication, and the significant price of over £4000 a year makes it a medicine which is given out in only the most severe of cases. Therefore, as long as the need for symptom-relief remains, the use of Sativex® is permissible, at the lowest dose possible, to be self-titrated and increased if necessary in a safe and non-intoxicating manner, under the continuous supervision and advice of one’s Doctor or specialist. It is not to be initiated by oneself and it is not to be used in obvious contraindicated groups such as pregnant women and children unless absolutely necessary. It should also be avoided by those who already suffer from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia which could theoretically lead to that existing mental condition – once “activated” by the THC content in Sativex® – to be even worse and more harmful than the reason the drug is being taken for in the first place.

And Allah jalla wa ‘alā knows best.

 

The Use Of Herbal Cannabis & Other Cannabis Forms For Medicinal Purposes

You will remember what I wrote earlier in the section “Medicinal Marijuana”; compared to the ultra-controlled and relatively safe form of Sativex®, the plethora of supposed cures and uses for a wide number of unlicensed cannabis-based products, usually in their raw unrefined form and with a wide range of THC:CBD ratios, is of a significant number.

It is not surprising then that despite all the claims and anecdotal testimonies, nearly every single country in the world still prohibits the smoking of, or ingestion of, or the application to the skin of cannabis-based products. This is mainly due to the uncontrolled psychoactive properties of the preparations, their harm especially to mental health, their addictive properties and then their populist and actual link to individual crime, and that which potentially affects wider society too even though admittedly this is at the lower end of narcotic-related crime.

There is no doubt that through the many funded research programmes around the world in clinical settings, there seems to be growing evidence that cannabis could be used in many medicinal applications. Israel is one of the world leaders in cannabis research, and Israeli scientists were the first to isolate the “bad” aspect of cannabis i.e. THC. Their expertise in creating strains of cannabis which have very low levels of THC and a high CBD effect for mostly relaxant and sleep-inducing properties, has led to trials using smoked herbal cannabis as well as other forms, but consistently in carefully titrated trials.

The cannabinoid (CBD) constituent of cannabis promises much. It is not an intoxicant (which is more the action of THC) and it has proved especially beneficial (in licensed and unlicensed preparations).

From an Islamic and even legal point of view, the question of allowing access to these cannabis products is a nightmare. The vision of millions of people reading fatwas and then going off and justifying to themselves that they are ill, all in order to smoke a joint with their “ill” friends, is terrifying. It is this self-diagnosing, self-justifying, self-purchasing, self-medicating portion of the population that we should fear most will abuse any such fatwas. It goes without question that the scholars cannot be held responsible for the actions of the ignorant if they are just looking for an excuse to get high, especially if the scholars faithfully gives their opinion on the matter and allow restricted use of such drugs as per the five key conditions outlined above.

Likewise, we cannot treat all the people the same. There are indeed genuine, sensible people out there who are desperate for a solution to their problem and who are not interested in the slightest in using narcotics for the fun of it, to get high or to get stoned. An example of this are the growing claims for the benefit of cannabis oil in cases of cancer. It is a highly controversial matter, briefly but nicely discussed here; it seems there could be a case for THC having anti-cancer properties, as well as high CBD percentage cannabis oil in a controlled 1:1 ratio (like Sativex®) having a low-intoxicating anti-tumour action.

My conclusion on the matter is actually quite simple: research in humans has not shown conclusive results with these products, and cannabis is illegal anyway. No one person should unilaterally use any of these products for their condition, indeed this would be impermissible, dangerous and uncontrolled.

However, if a patient is chosen to be part of a legal clinical trial, with a cannabis-strain that does not cause full-on complete intoxication (i.e. causing a potential scenario that might have consequences worse than the original medical condition in the first place), and/or the specific use of that herb or cannabis-product is given in a titrated and supervised fashion under the guidance of experts, based on existing predictions and studies by specialists, all whilst fulfilling the five conditions mentioned above, then I cannot see the reason to block this.

I believe that such use will be permissible on a case-by-case basis after a detailed analysis of the form of the drug, for the same reasons as mentioned above: it is permissible in the Sharī‘ah to use a minimum amount of a prohibited product for a medical necessity under the supervision of experts only, in the absence of any other alternatives.

 

Conclusion

As usual, for those who couldn’t bear the thought of reading through all the details and legal discussions, we can summarise this paper by saying that in the opinion of this author:

– It is impermissible to use narcotics – which includes cannabis – for any recreational use.

It is permissible to use narcotics for medicinal purposes as long as the conditions of the scholars are met.

Sativex® is a cannabis-based spray used primarily for symptomatic control in MS patients. It is permissible to use.

It is permissible to use certain cannabis-based products for medicinal purposes only as long as all the stipulations above have been met i.e. under the supervision of specialists and not through self-diagnosis and application.

Please read the details above for more clarity on all these points.

And Allah jalla wa ‘alā knows best.

 

Note:
There were a few more things I wanted to discuss concerning other drugs like morphine and codeine which are also narcotics, but this paper has already become very long. I am thinking of taking these few points to my Ilmsource email list before I forget them. If you are interested in seeing more on the issue, you can enter your details below and I’ll send it soon in shā Allāh, perhaps across one or two emails. Thank you for reading, wa jazākumullāhu khayra.

[1] http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/terminology/who_lexicon/en/

[2] http://www.nt.gov.au/health/healthdev/health_promotion/bushbook/volume2/chap1/sect1.htm

[3] http://ilmsource.com/2016/02/08/the-islamic-ruling-on-e-cigarettes-vaping-and-synthetic-marijuana/

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2864503/

[5] http://ilmsource.com/2016/02/08/the-islamic-ruling-on-e-cigarettes-vaping-and-synthetic-marijuana/

[6] “The Development of Sativex® – a natural cannabis-based medicine”, Guy & Stott, 2005, p.235

[7] Sativex® Physician Product Information, GW Pharma Ltd, p.1

[8] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 1984

[9] It is essential to remember that this is referring to individual use, and not the intent to supply to the masses and endanger the weak and desperate, which is of course a far more severe crime than just the drinking of alcohol, as can be seen by laws threatening capital punishment in a number of countries for the supply and dealing of narcotics.

[10] This would be reflected in the severity of the relationship with that narcotic. For individual use, the punishment would be relatively light, whereas if the danger posed was more serious such as manufacture and supply then even the discretionary punishment could be worse than the prescribed one for alcohol i.e. resulting in capital punishment.

[11] This author does not consider alcohol to be an impure substance, as also opined by a number of the scholars

[12] Ḥāshiya Ibn ‘Ābidīn (6/457), Sharḥ al-Zarqānī ‘alā Khalīl (1/24), al-Furūq (1/218), Nihāyat’l-Muḥtāj (8/10) and I‘ānat’l-Ṭālibīn (4/156)

[13] Abu Dāwūd (4/87), the version of Jābir was considered to be Ḥasan by al-Tirmidhi, and Ṣaḥīḥ with all its chains taken into account by al-Albāni (see al-Irwā’, 8/42)

[14] Ḥāshiya Ibn ‘Ābidīn (4/42-43) and (6/457-458)

[15] http://ilmsource.com/2016/02/08/the-islamic-ruling-on-e-cigarettes-vaping-and-synthetic-marijuana/

[16] Aḥkām al-Adawiyyah fī al-Sharī‘ah al-Islāmīyyah, p.276

[17] Ḥāshiya al-Dasūqī, (1/50) and Tabṣirat’l-Ḥukkām, (2/169-170)

[18] Rawḍat’l-Ṭālibīn, (8/438) and Jāmi‘ al-‘Ulūm wal-Ḥikam (2/464)

[19] Al-Inṣāf, (8/438)

[20] Ḥāshiya Ibn ‘Ābidīn, (2/102 and 4/42), as well as Fatḥ’l-Qadīr, (3/491)

[21] I remind readers that an intoxicated state is very problematic, not only in one’s duties to Allah but in one’s responsibilities to oneself and others. One becomes a threat and a danger to all because one does not know what one is doing! Thus, taking a drug which knocks one out and doesn’t allow one to do evil, is far more safer and preferable to an intoxicant which leads one to actually commit evil.

[22] Al-Majmū‘ al-Madh-hab, (1/34)

[23] Al-Majmū‘ by al-Nawawi, (2/286)

[24] Al-Ashbāh wal-Naẓā’ir by al-Suyūṭī, p.84

[25] Sharḥ al-Sunnah by al-Baghawi (12/147)

16 Comments

  • myaproductions@outlook.com' Yaquob says:

    Can you send me those emails. Jzk

  • ksallaj@gmail.com' Kasim Sallaj says:

    Would like additional emails

  • Shazeea@gmail.com' Shazeea says:

    I would like that email.

  • Dtabbah@hotmail.com' Dina says:

    Jazaka Allahu khairan ustaz
    I’d love to learn more please add me to the mailing list

  • Abu Eesa Niamatullah says:

    Apologies everyone, when I said “below” I didn’t mean the comments box, but when this article is viewed from a laptop/desktop, there is a bar at the bottom where you can enter your details on the Ilmsource email list. I guess it isn’t clear on mobile browsers. Try and find the box on the top right of the page or at the bottom, it’ll say “enter email address” or something. Sorry, never was good at the tech side and the webmaster is poorly at the moment! =)

  • s.adnan.ahmad90@gmail.com' Adnan says:

    I would like that email…

    s.adnan.ahmad90@gmail.com

  • graham.little@outlook.com' Abdul Matin says:

    As salamu alaykum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatahu Sheikh AE,

    After reading your article i now have a question.

    If a person is taking any of the accepted medicines above in a permissible way, is prayer allowed?
    If a person is taking any of the accepted medicines above in an impermissible way, is prayer allowed?

    I know that people who are intoxicated from alcohol are forbidden from performing salat until sober, this is the reason for asking the question.

    Jazak’Allah and may Allah subḥānahū wa-taʿālā reward you for your time and efforts in trying to help us understand this matter.

    Fi’Aman Allah,

    Abdul Matin

  • ugiboogie1@gmail.com' Ugi Ma'u says:

    Jazaka Allahu khairan
    Please add me to the mailing list

  • daniel.malpas@hotmail.co.uk' Daniel Malpas says:

    Asalam alaykum warahmatullah…
    There is a lot of misinformation and misdirection in todays world. I do not wish to sound impudent but a few points need to be mentioned.
    Firstly Hemp was made illegal so as to enrich the criminal classes (governments) that control the worlds trade. Secondly, by far the biggest killers in todays world are the pharmacological corporations. The real poisons are chemotherapy and every other product these devils produce. Chemotherapy kills 97% of all patients. Therefore chemotherapy is HARAM. Hemp is a medicine first and foremost as well as the most diversly useful product on earth. To enrich the criminal classes by using anything from big pharma is HARAM.. I am not a scholar but financing your killer is insane in any school of thought.
    As far as i understand it comes down to intention. If i grow hemp to cure illness, then it is a form of mercy. If i grow hemp to intoxicate people, then it is from shaytaan. The medicinal form of hemp is through the extraction of the essential oil not through big pharma’s Sativex. (Interestingly, the sativa strain is less medicinal than the indica strain. There is a clue there.). There is no side effect or “stoned” effect from imbibing the oil. The THC acts as a carrier for the CBD cannabinoid so ideally a 15:1 ratio should be aimed for.
    It is worth distinguishing between legal and lawful. Legal statutes are what the criminal classes use to enslave the people. I would argue it is haram to enslave yourself to anyone other than Allah, therefore, to follow a legal statute is haram. The Law is to “DO NO HARM”, which simply means that as long as you do not cause anyone harm or loss you are free to do anything you wish as long as it is within the shariah. An example would be the 1939 Cancer Act which states that it is illegal to claim to cure cancer. In my view, following this disgusting statute is a crime against mankind and has resulted in hundreds of millions of people dying in extreme agony and causing terrible hardship on those who have to witness the death of a cancer victim. Cannabis oil cures all cancers within days so to even question the permissability is insulting to those of us who have first hand knowledge of this terrible affliction.
    If you do not agree with any of the above, then there is a third way… Cancer and all illnesses are a result of mineral deficiency, specifically Selenium. A mineral deficiency is caused by the destruction of soil through modern farming methods. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. An ounce of detailed analysis of what we consume will be better than pound of cannabis oil.

    I hope this helps

  • abookhan@telkomsa.net' Aboobaker Khan says:

    Assalaamu Alaikum , brilliant artcile. I do however would like to know the permissibility of marijuana that has been modified to only have the CBD strain and not the THC or minimal. These strains are being used on kids , Charlottes Web , and have cancer curing properties. Is this permissible as there is no stoned or languid effect when using these types of marijuana. On the contrary , there are several types of medications that are knowingly consumed everyday , benzodiazipines , codeine and other opiates that have a narcotic or dulling effect , yet these are deemed acceptable…………….Shukran.

  • Asmakhawarkhawaja@gmail.com' Asma Khawaja says:

    If you could email some more info as mentioned at the end of your article that would be great.

  • Jazakallah Khair Ustaz Abu Eesa for this insightful article. Can I please get the email on rulings on Morphine and Codeine?

    Barakallahu Feek.

    Abdul Malik Mohammad

  • alviakasmellypaper@hotmail.com' Levi Kunou says:

    Assalamualaikum. I honestly think that studies on cannabis need to be updated and looked into so that scholars can accurately decide on halal/haram. Caffeine/coffee most widely used psychoactive substance(as is cannabis) in the world which is addictive, withdrawal if stopped, with alot of side effects and known to cause death is being overlooked by the Muslim community and is considered halal. Undoubtedly a massibe number of daily consumers are addicted to this stimulant and find it hard to live without.

  • mujahid215@gmail.com' Mujahid says:

    Jazakallahu khairan, may you be rewarded infinitely for your very thorough and accurate answering. If possible can you also fwd me the emails as well? May Allah bless Bekaa Valley and all that grows there, Ameen !

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