A controversial author has claimed that Jesus Christ used cannabis oil in order to perform his miracles. David Bienenstock claims cannabis was widely available in the Middle East 2,000 years ago and the people of the time used it to heal the sick, and that included Jesus.

Holy anointing oils used in the early days of the Christian church contained kaneh-bosem, an ingredient Bienenstock suggests was a cannabis extract, according to The Daily Mail. These anointing oils were rubbed into the skin for efficacy. A number of people believe that an ingredient used in some of these oils may have had psychoactive properties and could have featured a cannabis extract.  This extract, which was absorbed into the skin, could have helped cure people with physical and mental ailments and sicknesses long before the first mass-produced medicines, but that doesn’t mean for a fact, Jesus used cannabis extract to heal the sick and ailing.

The Hebrew version of the holy anointing oil recipe in Exodus contained almost 3 kilos (6lb) of an as-yet unidentified herb referred to as keneh-bosum. Most historians believe the herb in question was the calamus, which is a root extract also known as “Sweet Flag.” It is an herb that has been used for medicinally for thousands of years.

Many historians have also vocally disputed Bienenstock’s polarizing claims, arguing that the evidence of kaneh-bosem being a cannabis extract is so feeble it is not even worth pursuing, while clinging to the idea of calamus being the herb used.  Lytton John Musselman, a Professor of Botany at Old Dominion University, said evidence claiming marijuana was part of the holy anointing oil is “so weak I would not pursue it.” He told Vice that keneh-bosum more likely refers to calamus than any psychoactive substances.

“Historical records show that cannabis was widely available at the time – they would’ve known how to grow it and exploit its medicinal properties,” Bienenstock said while speaking to the Daily Star. “There is nothing different in the efficacious cannabis oil used today that wouldn’t have been available to people in Jesus’ time – it’s simply a matter of concentrating the cannabis into the oil and absorbing it through the skin.”

Not everyone disagrees with Bienenstock. Cannabis researcher Chris Bennett wrote an article in the United States drug magazine High Times in which he claimes: “The ancient anointed ones were literally drenched in this potent mixture. ‘The medical use of cannabis during that time is supported by archaeological records.”

Bienenstock added that anyone in the Middle East healed by cannabis-lined oils would have seen the practice as a “miracle” due to their limited understanding of herbs and medicine at the time.