Legalization of medical marijuana is quite common in a couple of states. However, the constant battle entangling legalization of recreational marijuana could potentially pose the question on the differences between the duos. What are the key differences between medical and recreational marijuana?
Some states have only legalized medicinal marijuana and some have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana.
Both medical and recreational marijuana use strains from the same cannabis plant. Where is the drawing line? This question might bother you more is you have ever considered a physician’s counsel on medical marijuana.
The rapid move by more states to legitimize medical marijuana makes this an ideal moment to address the differences between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.
Although most people think about illicit pursuits at the mention of marijuana, numerous research findings reveal the benefits of cannabis in addressing diverse chronic medical illnesses.
Ancient civilizations like Egypt have used marijuana for centuries to address critical medical conditions.
What is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana often refers to wholesome use of marijuana plant and its constituent chemicals to wipe out or relieve certain disease symptoms.
FDA does not recognize or approve marijuana as a medicinal plant.
The over 100 chemicals in marijuana affect the human body differently. Application of medical marijuana uses two core chemical extracts from the cannabis plant – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC gives marijuana plant its psychoactive properties that makes people high. There are no high properties in CBD.
CBD content is high in medical marijuana and does not produce the high feeling present in recreational marijuana.
What is Recreational Marijuana?
Recreational marijuana is the use of marijuana extracts for leisure without medical validation. Its THC content is high and is the master behind the euphoric feel among its users.
The Key Differences between Medical and Recreational Marijuana
The two major categories of marijuana have significant differences and here are the key ones:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Levels
THC and CBD levels are the major difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana contents. THC content responsible for marijuana highness is high in recreational marijuana than in medical marijuana.
Although THC has medicinal value it is not ideal for users seeking medical relieve because of its psychoactive properties that make users feel high.
CBD is high in medical marijuana and has a proven medical record as a remarkable cannabis extract that addresses a number of medical conditions.
- Legal Issues between Medical and Recreational Marijuana
Most countries across the world prohibit using marijuana. Consumers in such law-tight countries do so in secret always avoiding contact with authorities.
The federal law criminalizes using marijuana for any purpose. The policy is different at state level with many state laws conflicting the federal law.
Interesting fact: The federal law cannot prosecute people subjective to their state laws on medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and recreational marijuana legal in 27 states. States with legalized marijuana permit commercial distribution via licensed dispensaries.
Although legalizing medical marijuana increases its access, it is still very difficult to access among many people across the world.
- Tax Rates
Your country or state will determine whether you could be a beneficiary of using marijuana. Users of medical marijuana for health enjoy diverse benefits than recreational marijuana users.
Some states have a tax exemption for patients using marijuana for health reasons. The price for medical marijuana is lower that recreational marijuana.
The taxes for recreational marijuana are high are often the force behind hiked prices for recreational marijuana. Tax rates differ from one state to another.
An undesirable perception on medical marijuana despite its legalization still reigns. Medical marijuana, however, is gaining a positive impression through mass sensitization.
The perception is negative on recreational marijuana. Society associates people using recreational marijuana with high drug consumers and place them in same category as consumers of drugs like cocaine.
- Amount Users Can Possess
The particular amount of marijuana users possess differs from one state to another.
The standard trend across states reveals that most states permit medical cannabis users to possess more cannabis.
State laws allow users of recreational marijuana to possess limits quantities.
- Versatility versus Single use Benefit
Medical marijuana is versatile because it has multiple medical benefits. Its high CBD and low THC content makes it suitable for boosting good health among children and the elderly.
Recreational cannabis is good only for legally permitted people who can sustain its euphoric effects. Although it may have some elements of medical benefit, it is mainly a source of personal gratification and pleasure.
Versatility of medical marijuana makes it legal in many states for children consumption because of its wide variety of medical benefits.
Recreational marijuana is age-bound. Medical marijuana is suitable for people of all ages.
- Quality Difference
Both consumers of recreational and medical marijuana desire quality products. However, the sensitivity of medical marijuana and its use in alleviating medical conditions makes its production chain strict.
The process of growing both marijuana is same. The cultivation and the production process marks the onset of the difference.
The process of handling medical marijuana is controlled and stricter and is often in indoor growing facilities. Growers strictly control use of pesticides intending to ensure patients receive the best quality of the product for their use.
The purity and safety of medical cannabis is better than that of recreational marijuana because of the intended end use.
Although recreational marijuana users desire an equally better quality, it is slightly lower than that of medical marijuana.
- Shopping Requirements
Shopping for medical marijuana requires patients to produce their medical cannabis cards and personal IDs. The medical cards ascertain an approval to buy medical marijuana.
Patients can purchase medical marijuana in medical dispensaries (clinics). To ensure privacy, the clinics serve only one customer at a time.
Sellers of recreational marijuana do not have permission to counsel their patients on medical concerns although the patients can shop in the recreational stores.
Some states have dual-licensed shops to meet the needs of both recreational and medical marijuana customers.
It is best to buy medical marijuana from licensed medical dispensaries and dual-licensed shops. Such shops can effectively respond to customers medical concerns on medical marijuana.
There is no advice for recreational users of marijuana as sellers assume they are buying it for pleasure consumption.
- Differences between dispensaries
Medical dispensaries require buyers to be at least 18 years and must show their cannabis medical cards and a doctor’s recommendation.
Recreational dispensaries only require a valid ID and at least 21 years of age.
Although both recreational and medical marijuana are products of the same cannabis plant, the intended end use determines the category whether recreational or medical marijuana.