difference between medical and recreational marijuana

Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana

by Adrian Dimakis January 22, 2020, 8:35 am 2.7k Views

Ever wonder about the differences between medical and recreational marijuana? Nowadays, it’s not common for us to possibly think that there is no difference! That said, there is a huge difference, and if you’re in line for a medical marijuana prescription, you’ll need to understand the difference between both medical and recreational marijuana, and a little about medical marijuana dispensaries.

What Is Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana will have lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and is used for medical purposes to help with health conditions, pain, inflammation or anxiety. It will also yield a higher cannabidiol (CBD) content than regular recreational marijuana. Patients will first need to visit their doctor to apply for a medical marijuana card. You will have to be 18 or older, yet some conditions will allow for patients younger than 18 to purchase medical marijuana from a medical marijuana dispensary.

Medical marijuana can be purchased from any marijuana dispensary in your area. The main take here is that patients need to have a qualifying condition so that they can get a medical marijuana card. The medical marijuana card needs to be renewed regularly, and each state will have different laws. It’s up to you to read up on your state’s laws!

What Is Recreational Marijuana?

This is marijuana that is used for recreational purposes and does not require a medical marijuana card. Users will take this for the psychotic effect because of the higher THC content. You will need to check if it’s legal in your state. If it is, you can purchase recreational marijuana from any recreational marijuana dispensary if you’re over 21, and have a driver’s license to verify your age.

In some US states, it is legal to purchase the recreational pot and grow it at home. With recreational marijuana, there is no need to visit a medical marijuana dispensary. Instead, you’ll visit a recreational marijuana retail store.

THC and CBD Levels

Whether you’re a recreational or medical marijuana user, you’ll need to inspect the product labels for the amount of CBD and THC. The total CBD and THC amount will be written as a percentage on the label. THC dominant marijuana strains will yield more THC and less CBD. These brands will have major psychoactive effects, and will get you “high”.

That said, popular CBD dominant strains have less THC and does not result in any psychoactive effect. If any, they will be minimal, due to the less than 0.3 % THC, if any, in the CBD oil.

Balanced marijuana strains will contain both CBD and THC. These strains do result in a “high”, yet the differences are very apparent from the THC dominant strain. Consult with an expert from a medical marijuana dispensary to discuss dosing, and potencies.

Legal Issues

In the US laws are constantly changing regarding CBD and marijuana. 29 states approve the use of cannabis with a medical prescription card. This means that you will have to visit a medical marijuana dispensary with a medical marijuana card.

As for recreational marijuana is legal in the US, there are a few states that have approved cannabis for recreational use. These states include:

  • Maine
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Nevada
  • Massachusetts
  • Colorado


One of the major differences between recreational and medical marijuana is the amount of CBD and THC. With recreational marijuana being stronger today than many years ago, this type tends to have more THC; it is illegal in some states and countries and is not used for therapeutic purposes. It also gets you high! On the other hand, medical marijuana has been shown to be potentially beneficial for a wide array of health conditions from seizures, cancer, digestive issues, inflammation, anxiety, inflammation and more! CBD oils are made from cannabis, and are high in CBD, and have minimal THC. The medication is used under the supervision of a physician, who will monitor the dosage and potency of the cannabidiol tincture.

A CBD expert from a medical marijuana dispensary will also advise as to the best usage. Price is always a consideration, but if you’re opting for a high-quality CBD tincture, capsule, edible or lotion, it’s important to purchase the best, which may be more expensive.

A CBD expert from a medical marijuana dispensary will be able to advise as to the terpenes and flavonoids in the CBD products, and also should be able to produce a third-party certificate of analysis. (COA) Medical marijuana patients should first determine a price range that works best for them, and then visit a medical marijuana dispensary to purchase the best CBD.

you’ll need to understand the difference between both medical and recreational marijuana, and a little about medical marijuana dispensaries.

What’s the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana?

If you live in a state which has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, you may wonder about the differences between them. Especially if you suffer from a condition that medical marijuana is commonly prescribed to treat, you may wonder whether to get a medical marijuana card and receive prescribed medical marijuana, or to just go to the local dispensary and get recreational pot.

It’s a great question. There are some important differences between medical and recreational marijuana.

First, let’s define our terms.

What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana can refer to the whole, unprocessed plant, or extractions of the relevant chemicals that give marijuana its properties. Although marijuana has over 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids, each with a different effect on the human body, the two major chemical components that are used in medical marijuana are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana its high. CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. Medical marijuana typically has a higher proportion of CBD and a lower proportion of THC, so it produces less of a high or no high at all.

What kinds of conditions can medical marijuana treat?

Although marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug has made research and testing extremely difficult, marijuana is often used to treat a variety of conditions with positive, sometimes extremely positive, results.

  • Appetite loss
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Eating disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • Chronic pain, vomiting and nausea resulting from chemotherapy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, depression and PSTD

Medical marijuana versus recreational marijuana

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is taken with the supervision and guidance of a medical professional.

Medical marijuana strains are developed with attention to therapeutic potency, not for the high. Typically medical marijuana has a higher CBD content and lower THC content than recreational marijuana. CBD is the compound that has proven to be beneficial for a variety of conditions.

You must have a qualifying condition to get a medical marijuana recommendation from a medical professional. You must have a certification card, and this must be renewed regularly.

You must be over 18 years of age to buy medical marijuana for yourself. There are special circumstances where this age limit is waived, as for children suffering from epilepsy, whose parents may get permission to use medical marijuana or medical marijuana extracts for treatment.

Medical marijuana is subject to greater regulation and testing for safety and efficacy. Because the medical market has been around for much longer than the recreational, medical marijuana cultivators have had time to produce a high-quality and consistent product. It is grown in a controlled environment. THC and CBD percentages will be noted for each product.

Medical marijuana is less expensive than recreational marijuana since it is not subject to the same taxes.

Medical marijuana is legal in more states than recreational marijuana.

Recreational Marijuana

If recreational marijuana is legal in your state, anyone over the age of 21 can buy it at a dispensary.

Recreational marijuana usually has a higher THC content, and strains are typically developed with attention to the quality of the psychoactive effects.

There is no supervision or guidance with recreational marijuana.

Recreational marijuana is, for now, a poorly-regulated and sparsely-supervised affair. Product purity and safety oversight — for example, pesticide testing — is not yet consistently and reliably done on recreational pot, although laws require it. States have been slow to grant certification to laboratories to do such testing. Massachusetts is now moving toward having recreational pot tested at the same labs as medical marijuana.

Recreational marijuana brings in considerably more tax revenue to the state than medical marijuana. Recreational dispensaries often charge more than medical dispensaries.

Recreational marijuana is only legal in ten states.

Medical marijuana is specifically cultivated for treating painful or disabling conditions that keep you from enjoying life

Medical marijuana’s purpose is to let you live your life. Because it has higher proportions of CBD than recreational pot, it won’t disrupt your normal routine. While taking it, you can still feel sharp and clear, without feeling high. CBD also doesn’t cause anxiety, as THC sometimes does.

If you’re suffering from a condition that medical marijuana has shown to be effective in treating, and if you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, speak to your physician and see if you qualify. Your condition doesn’t have to make you miserable. Medical marijuana may help you get back to living and enjoying your life.

What’s the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana? If you live in a state which has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, you may wonder about the ]]>