Health and Fitness

How Medical Marijuana is different than Regular Marijuana

According to California-based physician David Bearman, most people confuse medical marijuana with recreational marijuana, but there are clear differences. There are several factors that distinguish between the two, and intent to use any of these is the primary one.

This guide will walk you through the major differentiating factors of recreational and medical marijuana. The dissimilarities will help you understand the advantages of medical marijuana, why it is gaining popularity in the US, and why it does not relate to any recreational activity.

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana

Medical Marijuana is legal by many state governments; 36 states legalized it, including Washington DC and Columbia. It is extracted from the same parent plant as recreational marijuana with a hundred different chemical compounds, also known as cannabinoids, each having a different effect on the human body.

Out of these 100s of chemicals, two major compounds, CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), are used in medical cannabis. THC gives cannabis its psychoactive characteristics while medical cannabis has a high proportion of CBD and a low (if any) proportion of THC. Both CBD and THC may be present in your cannabis strain depending on the effects you wish to derive from it.

Recreational or regular cannabis is defined as one with a high dose of THC and is used without medical justification to experience the psychoactive sensations. Recreational cannabis is, as the name states, often just used for recreational purposes.

User Intent

Medical cannabis is good to treat various medical conditions, and sometimes it may produce a positive result. For example, it may improve conditions like insomnia, restless leg disorder, nausea, chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, depression, and PSTD, among others. These conditions stop people from living a full and enjoyable life, and medical marijuana may work as a solution for it. However, in each state, qualifying medical conditions are different.

Recreational marijuana users buy it to experience the psychoactive effects of its THC compound exclusively for recreational purposes. Also, they do not require any medical justification to consume it.


Medical cannabis strains available at licensed premium dispensaries are subject to increased scrutiny and testing to ensure high quality. The potency of THC and CBD compounds is more accurately advertised and mentioned on product packages. Furthermore, budtenders and cannabis doctors can also guide you about the potencies that will work best for you.

Advocates are working tirelessly to regular recreational cannabis as well so more states will be able to legalize it with proper regulations in place. In the case of medical cannabis, the industries across states have already streamlined production and consumption to have a quality standard in place.


Many physicians agree that medical marijuana may alleviate the effect of many serious medical conditions like cancer. Moreover, it is believed to be safe to use because of the rigorous testing it goes through before reaching a licensed dispensary.

Since medical cannabis is low in THC, it does not make you psychoactive like recreational marijuana. Hence, it may be safe to consume even in broad daylight if consumed within the recommended dose by your physician. However, note here that cannabis is prohibited for consumption in public places.

In fact, despite the research studies in favor of adult-use cannabis, some people still believe that it can harm the human body and mind.

But researchers are still trying to find more profound evidence to announce it harmful.


Both types of cannabis differ in terms of accessibility. To buy medical cannabis, you must prove a qualifying medical condition and acquire a doctor’s recommendation for its use. The medical card also needs to be regularly updated to continue its access.

On the flip side, recreational cannabis does not require any recommendations. Anyone over the age of 21 can buy it in states where it is legal.

Purchase, Carrying Limit & Cultivation of Marijuana

In Michigan, adults aged 21 years or older cannot buy more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent substance with not more than 15 grams in the form of cannabis concentrated in a single transaction. They can even grow about 12 plants of medical marijuana if they have a license.

Contrarily, in California, you can possess around 28.5 grams of both medical and recreational marijuana and up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrated.

Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Vermont, and many other states have legalized the possession, use, and cultivation of both medical and recreational cannabis.

If you fail to abide by the limit defined by local and state governments, you can be arrested for marijuana-related crimes. These limits and laws may differ from state to state. Hence, if you are planning to travel, be sure to educate yourself about the laws of other states.

Are Medical & Recreational Marijuana Legal In Vegas?

It is legal in Las Vegas, Nevada, but only licensed vendors can possess both types of cannabis in large quantities. Since it is a top tourist spot and famous for entertainment opportunities. Travelers helped its medical and recreational marijuana market grow over 2.4 billion USD, after the legalization. However, it is still not permissible to use it in public. But you can consume it in private places and legalized consumption lounges.

If you are looking for premium medical cannabis enriched with CBD, you can head to licensed Las Vegas dispensaries. Note that, in one transaction, you can only purchase one ounce of cannabis and 3.5 grams of concentrated.

Workplace Tolerance

Another major difference is the tolerance level for both at the workplace. Even though both medical and recreational cannabis products are legalized in many states, employers have strict policies in this regard. Most companies have the policy to terminate employees immediately, discipline, or take other adverse decisions if they are found consuming recreational marijuana at the workplace or even in their free time at their private place. They condemn and consider it an unacceptable lifestyle choice.

While for medical cannabis consumption with a medical license, the rules are flexing up, and tolerance is increasing among fellow employees and employers. Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts are a few states that do not discriminate if employees use medical cannabis to create serious medical conditions. However, employers can still restrict employees from consuming and possessing it on the premises.

In A Nutshell

Medical cannabis may be used to reduce the negative effects of serious medical conditions on people’s daily life. It enables them to live their life normally. However, a medical recommendation is required to gain access to buy it from any licensed dispensaries. The sentiments towards the CBD-rich type are getting positive at a firm pace. But it is still not permissible to consume in public places.

In opposition, THC dominant – recreational cannabis is also earning legalized status, and the general public also supporting its legalization in other states. However, the federal government is not yet on board completely. People buy it with the intent to feel the psychoactive sensations in their bodies and minds. In states that legalized it, individuals over 21 can buy it easily without having any medical recommendation or justification. Moreover, you will consistent quality for both medical and recreational cannabis. Since licensed dispensaries are bound to test for standardized quality.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button