While embracing wine as a sacrament, and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th century, and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp to communicate, heal, etc. was labeled “witch.”
Saint Joan of Arc, for example, was accused in 1430-31 of using a variety of herbal “witch” drugs, including cannabis, to hear voices.
Church Sanctioned Legal Medicines
Virtually the only legal medical cures allowed the people of Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church Fathers at this time were:
1. (a.) Wearing a bird mask for plague. (b.) Setting fractured bones or cleaning burns.
2. Bleeding pints and even quarts of blood from all flu, pneumonia or fever patients (victims) which was the most used treatment in Europe and America by doctors until the beginning of the 1900s. It does not work! And did not work no matter how much blood they took.
3. Praying to specific saints for a miraculous cure, e.g., St. Anthony for ergotism (poisoning), St. Odilla for blindness, St. Benedict for poison sufferers, and St. Vitus for comedians and epileptics.
4. Alcohol for a variety of problems.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of Satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years. Satanic knowledge and masses, according to the Medieval Church, came in three types:
•To summon or worship Satan;
•To have Witch’s knowledge (e.g., herbalists or chemists) of making, using or giving others any unguent or preparation including cannabis as medicine or as a spiritual sacrament;
•The Mass of the Travesty, which can be likened to “The Simpsons,” “In Living Color,” rap music, Mel Brooks, “Second City-TV,” “Monty Python,” or “Saturday Night Live” (Father Guido Sarducci-type group) doing irreverent, farcical or satirical take-offs on the dogmas, doctrines, indulgences, and rituals of the R.C.Ch. mass and/or its absolute beliefs.
Because medieval priest bureaucrats thought they were sometimes laughed at, ridiculed and scorned by those under their influence – often by the most learned monks, clerics and leading citizens – ingesting cannabis was proclaimed heretical and Satanic.
Despite this centuries-long attack by the most powerful political and religious force in Western civilization, hemp cultivation continued in Northern Europe, Africa and Asia. While the church persecuted cannabis users in Europe, the Spanish Conquistadors were busy planting hemp everywhere around the world to provide sails, rope, oakum, clothes, etc.