The history of marijuana usage stretches far back beyond the era of hippies or reggae fans. According tothis book, humans have been consuming cannabis for various reasons since their earliest days. Far from being recreational, though, cannabis has been used in religions all across history and all around the world to dissolve the boundaries between the self and the divine and open the mind to ecstatic experiences. The author describes cannabis use from every continent and throughout most religions. . . . [I]t’s undeniable that worshippers have been using it for centuries. Ferrara urges abandoning marijuana fears and advocates for cannabis’ potential as a bringer of 'peak experiences,' which he speculates might lead to a kinder, more peaceful society.
Mark S. Ferrara is your affable liberal professor who is not so secretly known to take a puff or two. Sacred Bliss: A Spiritual History of Cannabis is a brief but scholarly history of the role of marijuana within spiritual and religious traditions from ancient India to modern Europe. Ferrara’s basic thesis is that humanity has for millennia used cannabis as an entheogen, or ritual drug, to stimulate what he calls 'peak experiences'— a term borrowed from psychologist Abraham Maslow that refers to brief moments of sudden spiritual insight, 'an important response to the panhuman yearning for paradise.' [Ferrara's message is] warmhearted and inviting.