Muslim Girls and Marijuana: All About the Halal Hemp Movement


Muslim Girl is back with another episode of Uncovered, the podcast where our groupchat comes to life with trending topics among our editors, writers and special guests.

This time, co-hosts Amna and Amirah embark on a journey with the founder of Halal Hemp, Jamidah, to explore a controversial subject that has captured the attention of many: Marijuana.

As the cultural landscape shifts and societal norms evolve, conversations about the consumption of marijuana have become increasingly complex. But what exactly is weed? What are its historical and medicinal roots? How does it fit within Islamic jurisdiction? These questions, among others, will be our compass as we navigate through the multifaceted layers of this topic.

AMIRAH: I’m genuinely excited to delve into this conversation. It’s relevant, too, as many young people are bombarded with information and ideas about these substances, whether in Western high schools or colleges. None of us receive formal education on weed or CBD, and we lack guidance on what’s permissible in a spiritual context. As a college student, I’m eager to engage in this dialogue. Could you provide a brief introduction to what CBD is?

JAMIDAH: CBD is usually derived from the hemp plant. The hemp plant falls under the category of cannabis sativa. There are two different cannabis breeds: cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. The hemp plant has over 100 different compounds, including CBD, CBN, CBC, and THC. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for producing a high. When you talk about pop culture and weed, everyone knows Snoop Dogg, right? It’s like people’s association with smoking joints, blunts, and similar things. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects and the feeling of being intoxicated. However, CBD is amazing because it has many different uses and benefits. When consumed, it doesn’t produce a high in the United States.

It’s fascinating how this plant has caused so much confusion when, in truth, it offers numerous benefits to our bodies.

According to the law, if the THC content is below 0.3 per cent, it’s considered federally legal. People are often afraid because they think this product will get them high. In reality, this product helps bring your body to balance. This aspect isn’t taught in medical schools, but our bodies have a naturally occurring endocannabinoid system. Among the various systems in our bodies, the endocannabinoid system has receptors, namely cb1 receptors located in the brain and cb2 receptors found throughout the rest of the body.

When we consume a product like CBD—available in various forms like beverages, topicals for skin care, pain relief, or even gummies—it activates these receptors in the brain and body, acting like a lock and key mechanism. Doing so helps bring our body to a state of balance, known as homeostasis. This balance extends to areas like pain, diet, and sleep—the essential components for our daily well-being as humans.

It’s fascinating how this plant has caused so much confusion when, in truth, it offers numerous benefits to our bodies.

AMIRAH: What are the different forms of consumption? How do people commonly use it?

JAMIDAH: Many people use hemp seed oil in topical CBD products. The main difference between hemp seed oil and CBD is that hemp seed oil does not contain the cannabinoid CBD. As a result, it is suitable for skincare, hair care, and dietary use. However, it lacks CBD’s healing properties, such as reducing inflammation.

Like tiger balm, used for aches and pains in joints, CBD can be applied similarly. For instance, you can apply CBD as a balm after playing a tennis match or engaging in strenuous physical activity. Over time, the pain will subside. It’s remarkable because the pharmaceuticals available today, with all their synthetic chemicals, often come with long-term side effects. CBD, on the other hand, does not. It benefits the body and interacts with the endocannabinoid system, offering a natural alternative our ancestors used for thousands of years. This is particularly true in regions like South Asia and Southeast Asia.

AMIRAH: Can you explain the difference between hemp and marijuana?

JAMIDAH: The hemp plant is usually produced for industrial purposes because its fiber can be made into about 40 thousand different things. It can serve as a replacement for graphene, be used as biofuel, and be turned into hemp concrete, textiles, and paper.

Marijuana has been known or classified by Americans as something like weed. The terminology is used for products that get people high. Marijuana’s term came from the Mexicans. They were consuming it and bringing it into the United States. So, Henry Anslinger was conscious of what was happening. His interpretation was that they were influencing white folks in the United States. The term marijuana stuck. In Southeast Asia, we call it ganja. In different countries, it’s called many different things. Hemp does not get you high; cannabis can get you high because it has a higher level of THC.

AMIRAH: What is the Islamic stance on the consumption of cannabis?

JAMIDAH: I can share a lot more about it with links to Sheikh Mustafa’s findings and his lectures; you can listen to them.

He starts by addressing the fight with the North American Tech Council, specifically focusing on CBD. He mentions that CBD does not cause intoxication, making it safe and permissible for Muslims to use medical cannabis. However, some people can abuse it or take advantage of the fact that it may be halal. There are just too many benefits, all of which are positive. You cannot overdose on hemp, and you cannot overdose on medical cannabis, either. The science already exists; it’s already there.

AMIRAH: The Muslim community is suffering from a huge mental health crisis and has an issue addressing this topic. Can you talk about how marijuana can help with improving mental health?

JAMIDAH: Regarding mental health, we’re consistently pushed in specific directions. Sometimes, we find ourselves at a crossroads, not knowing how to proceed because we receive conflicting advice. For instance, people might caution us against using cannabis, CBD, or hemp, considering them harmful.

CBD might aid in addressing your real issues, stress, and trauma more effectively, as it alters your reactions.

Simultaneously, we hesitate to oppose our family’s beliefs or faith. I believe it’s crucial to disseminate this information widely. It’s a simple notion—consider the option of consulting a psychiatrist who might prescribe medications like Xanax or other pharmaceuticals, each with its own set of side effects. On the other hand, there’s the option of trying CBD, which could help you achieve a more balanced state. CBD might aid in addressing your real issues, stress, and trauma more effectively, as it alters your reactions.

This interview excerpt has been edited for conciseness and clarity. Edited by Zainab Khan and Maysoon Khatib.