In an era where veganism and a “woke” mentality dominates the Western cultural climate, holistic health remedies are just around every corner.
It’s no surprise cannabis and CBD alternatives are growing in popularity, even in Muslim cultures where the substance is strictly forbidden. With regard to cannabis, Sharia law has established that the cultivation and consumption of cannabis [shahdaneh] for the purpose of narcotic use is forbidden and considered a sin against the commands of Allah (God).
Use constitutes a breach of the laws and norms laid down by Islamic law. The penalties for cannabis production or consumption equate to the penalties for opium use/production and in many Muslim nations, there is no legally distinguishable difference between cannabis and CBD products.
- Islamic culture prohibits anything that intoxicates.
- Disobeying this may result in punishment under Sharia Law.
Even though there are some benefits, like soothing the mind, in Islamic culture, anything intoxicates you in large quantities, is also haram (prohibited) in small quantities. In some Islamic countries, cannabis users have been sentenced to death (Anti-Narcotic Law, 1988).
Cannabis & CBD Oil in the Muslim World
The use of cannabis has exploded into mainstream media over the past decade, largely due to Western media. The bulk of the health benefits derived from this magical herb stem from a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, CBD.
According to WebMD, CBD is extracted from the flowers and buds of hemp plants and therefore does not produce an intoxication or “high” whatsoever. Could this be the reason why cannabis alternatives have earned a favorable reputation in modern medicine?
Today we seek to establish just how THC set the stage for the meteoric rise in the use of its counterpart, CBD, and why the use of CBD oil is growing in popularity around the world.
The sanctioned beer sold in Iran is non-alcoholic, however, you can still find ways to smoke herb and find CBD in Iran – it’s one of the more lenient Muslim nations. Although it’s technically illegal, the authorities turn a blind eye to the widespread smoking. You may smell it on public streets and purchase CBD oils at local markets. Worst case scenario, you may receive a fine of 1,000 rials (30 US cents) per gram.
Cannabis in Malaysia is illegal. Further, Malaysian law provides for a mandatory death penalty for convicted drug traffickers. Individuals arrested with more than 200 grams of cannabis are presumed by law to be trafficking drugs.
However, more often authorities often turn a blind eye to the production and export of cannabis, as it’s a major contributor to the Malaysian economy. Here’s an example: You can profit RM 3,000 (about $715 USD) an acre per year for palm oil, one of the nation’s largest exports. Cannabis on the other hand, brings in RM 9 million ($2,145,935 USD) a year per acre with three harvests. That’s 3,000 times the profit.
Of course, producers will have to bribe local authorities. Women may receive harsher punishment for disobeying Sharia law, and you may face public embarrassment or humiliation if you are caught smoking. Ultimately, Malaysia is set to become a big producer/exporter of cannabis in the world – although the road there will be bumpy.
Smoking marijuana publicly is routine in Pakistan. It’s illegal, but in many parts of the country, enforcement is lax on the issue.
Cannabis is illegal in Egypt, but its use has been a part of the social norm since time immemorial. Drug trafficking and smuggling is punishable by death, and even penalties for possessing small amounts can be extreme. In parts of Egypt, cannabis is openly available, even in some cafes and nightclubs. So basically everyone does it, just don’t get caught.
In Bangladesh, smoking is considered a national tradition. The people seem pretty neutral about the government’s attempts to slow production and consumption with counter-narcotics treaties.
Did Medical Cannabis Pave the Way?
In December 2018, Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana. For many years, the Eastern World has been thought to be decades behind the West when it comes to personal freedoms. However, this is changing rapidly because of the internet.
In the not-too-distant past, cannabis was illegal in most countries that had any substantial political power. Its use was met with stiff penalties, fines, imprisonment, and in some cases, death. Roughly 40,000 inmates of state and federal prisons have been convicted on a charge involving possession of the plant and are still serving time.
Until the 1970s, scientists struggled to find solutions to emerging diseases within the confines of the prohibited drug laws. However, in recent times many governments are loosening their stance on the matter. This presents the opportunity for universal access to the non-psychoactive compound extract for medical purposes.
There’s no denying that cannabis research has provided the groundwork for the development of CBD oil. It’s now legal in most countries, and widely available. The aforementioned “CBD oil” is a compound extracted from the hemp plant with negligible THC content allowing users to avoid any psychoactive side effects.
Thus, it’s a grey area for young Muslims who choose not to live “by the book.” Furthermore, cannabis is now available and regulation supports recreational use in several states.
Perhaps the ease of access to information has rapidly advanced the cause in terms of legalizing marijuana. Or maybe governments have grown tired of policing the untaxed, unregulated substance. Either way, the persistence in cannabis use and research seems to be paying off big time.
Health Benefits of CBD and Cannabis
Numerous studies and comprehensive experiments have found cannabis to be helpful in treating various illnesses. CBD oil can help, prevent and treat multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, PTSD, and even certain types of cancer.
This has likely contributed to the widespread acceptance, but not necessarily support, of its use in Muslim culture. Despite the debate over whether it should be regarded as a drug or medicine, people are using it.
Unlike pharmaceuticals, cannabis products won’t pave the way for detrimental secondary illnesses. They also do not put you at risk for harmful side effects, making them some of the best medicinal alternatives available today.
There is inconclusive yet substantial research showing CBD oil helps to cure a wide range of illnesses. However, sourcing quality CBD still proves to be a challenge.
A Breakdown of the Growing Popularity of Cannabis Products
To highlight just how the landscape is shifting, look just across the border. Canada recently legalized recreational cannabis nationwide. Now completely mainstream. Today, medical cannabis is legal across 30 states and approved for recreational use in 9 states.
It won’t be long before the rest of the country follows suit with a considerable amount of legislation in the pipeline. There are countless organizations rallying behind the push for universal legality. Consequently, the number of legal states is growing annually, and we expect that it will be fully recreational some day.
Legality has hindered CBD oil use in Africa, the Middle East, the Asia Pacific region, and Europe, no doubt. However, there has been an increase in the production of cannabis products in all of the aforementioned regions. Although behind Europe, CBD is making its way through Muslim nations as well.
In the US, where some of these restrictions are long gone, CBD annual product sales hit $591 million over the last four years. This is nearly a 500% increase in that time frame.
Why Cannabis Will Never Go Away
Internet use has skyrocketed over the past twenty years. E-commerce and online shopping are changing the way we consume products around the world. According to a study by the Brightfield Group in 2017, only 40% of sales were made in-person.
Today, the lion’s share of all purchasing happens online. This indirectly lessens the pain associated with cannabis. With online purchasing, there won’t be anyone looking over your shoulders judging the products you need.
If friends and family members disagree with CBD use, you may simply avoid the topic. Rather than feeling judgment, online shopping allows us to buy what we want, when we want it, from the comfort of our own homes. There aren’t any legal roadblocks, so even though cannabis products are taboo – the vast majority of people are using them, if not publicly, then in private.
Economists estimate that hemp-CBD sales could hit $22 billion by 2022. With an increase in digital purchasing, CBD oil has become a convenient and accessible alternative to cannabis.
CBD Oil is a Nutritional Supplement
Generally, cannabis-derived CBD is the primary target of restrictive legislation. While hemp-CBD products have loose regulation, cannabis-CBD products are where the greatest profitability and medical benefits lie.
As a result, foreign and domestic markets have greater access to hemp-based products. Thanks to continued market acceptance and bullish marketing efforts, experts believe the CBD industry will experience a compounding growth of 50% over the next couple years.
The future is certainly bright for CBD, and the popularity train is only getting faster, even in Muslim cultures.