In recent times, there has been an increase in the use of marijuana, especially for medicinal purposes. On the other hand, recreational marijuana is consumed by users without medical justification. It is evident cannabis has numerous medical benefits, irrespective of the form it is consumed or for whatever reason one is taking it. Both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana is consumed by various people but there are differences in legislation and many other aspects.
In light of this, we seek to highlight the differences between medical and recreational cannabis. What is medical marijuana? What is recreational weed?
With the increasing use and acceptance of medical marijuana, we share the advantages of consuming marijuana for medicinal purposes as opposed to simply using it for fun.
Medical vs. Recreational: THC and CBD Levels
The main difference between medical cannabis and recreational cannabis is the Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, the active ingredients in marijuana. Recreational marijuana has more THC content than the medicinal CBD, THC is responsible for making users feel high. While THC is medicinally beneficial, its psychoactive nature is not ideal for users who want to use marijuana exclusively for health benefits. CBD which is found in a marijuana plant has been proved to be an excellent medical remedy for a number of conditions.
If you're interested in medical cannabis, you don't need to consume cannabis with a high THC level. While both medical and recreational cannabis have THC and CBD, you stand to gain more medical benefits from a product with a higher CBD ratio. Marijuana with a high content of CBD has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic and antipsychotic properties.
Medical vs. Recreational: Legal Issues
This is a major difference that comes into play between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Even though cannabis has been around for a while and is widely used, there are legal aspects in place when using both recreational and medicinal cannabis. In many parts of the world, recreational cannabis still faces a lot of legal restrictions. Those consuming it often have to do it in hiding as its use is not legalized.
On the other hand, as many start to realize the medicinal benefits of cannabis, medical cannabis is now being widely accepted. Over time, many states and governments legalize the use of medical cannabis. Despite some states and countries legalizing recreational cannabis, many people still find it difficult to obtain it in many parts of the world. The legal status of medical cannabis makes it more easily accessible.
Medical vs. Recreational: Ease of Access and Availability
Due to stringent legality, those found in possession of recreational cannabis in areas where it is banned are faced with serious fines or jail time. In parts where marijuana hasn't been legalized yet, recreational cannabis is not easily accessible. On the other hand, CBD from hemp is legally accepted across the 50 U.S. states and many other parts of the world.
The plant is much more available to those who need it for medicinal use and purposes. Laws governing medical marijuana have been relaxed and changed extensively in the last decade to allow wider use. Recreational marijuana in contrast, still faces a lot of legal hurdles that impede its availability and accessibility.
Medical vs. Recreational: Quality
There is a stark difference between the quality of recreational marijuana and medical grade marijuana. While both types of marijuana undergo the same growing process, differences begin to emerge in cultivation and production. It is dependent on whether the final product will be used for medicinal purposes or recreation. Cannabis meant for medical use undergoes a stricter and controlled process before it is made available for consumption. In most cases, the plant is grown indoors in a controlled environment as opposed to recreational cannabis which can be grown outdoors or indoors.
In addition, medical cannabis is closely monitored on issues such as pesticide use; the end product has to be safe for use by patients. In a nutshell, processes that go into the production of medical marijuana significantly differ from growing marijuana for recreational purposes. Of course, everyone including recreational marijuana users want a safe product, but with more care associated with medical cannabis, it takes the title as the purer and safer product.
Medical vs. Recreational: Variety of Purpose
Versatile products are always preferred as opposed to those that can only offer a single benefit because these are known to have multiple advantages; the same case applies to cannabis. When comparing medical cannabis and recreational cannabis, many people use recreational marijuana for social enjoyment and personal satisfaction. On the other hand, medical cannabis is considered more versatile as it is associated with numerous medical benefits. Medical cannabis which has low THC and high CBD can be comfortably used by the elderly and children which boost good health.
Recreational cannabis, unfortunately, is only limited to a specific age group i.e. those that are legally allowed to get high without getting distressed. The bottom line is medical marijuana is legal even for children in many states because of the medical benefits. Recreational cannabis is confined to a strict age limit in states that allow its use. Medical cannabis is made available to a wider group of users irrespective of their age which makes it more accessible.
Medical vs. Recreational: The Difference in Shopping Experiences
One major difference between medical and recreational cannabis is how you shop for the product. In states where recreational cannabis is legalized, there might be some similarities but the process isn't the same. When shopping for medical marijuana, patients are required to produce a personal ID and medical cannabis card. These cards show that they're approved to buy marijuana. Medical marijuana is sold in medical clinics. Only one customer is allowed in at a time to ensure privacy. Stores selling recreational marijuana are not allowed to give any medical advice to their patients. Although, medical patients are allowed to shop at these stores
There are also dual-licensed shops meaning they're licensed to cater for both medical and recreational customers. If you're looking for marijuana for medical purposes, you're better off going to dual-licensed shops and medical dispensaries. They're best placed to respond to medical questions. Medical marijuana sellers have to undergo training and vetting as well as attend numerous seminars and acquire certifications. Recreational marijuana buyers will often not get any advice or guidance as the seller assumes you are already aware of what you're looking for in recreational cannabis.
Medical vs. Recreational: Perks and Benefits
It all depends on the state and country. Patients intending to use medical marijuana because of their health conditions are entitled to a wide variety of benefits. These benefits are not available to consumers of recreational marijuana.
Some of the perks include enjoying lower prices and taxes on products, legal access for minors especially for approved chronic illnesses such as epilepsy and cancer, restrictions on THC potency limits as well as access to higher quantity doses depending on the prescription. In addition, medical patients in some cases are permitted to grow their own cannabis for medicinal purposes. Also, growers of medical cannabis are allowed to grow on a larger scale as compared to their recreational cannabis counterparts.
In conclusion, while both medical and recreational cannabis come from the same plant, there are clear distinctions depending on how you intend to use the final product.