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Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana

Body and Mind
Body and Mind October 13, 2022

Marijuana is commonly used for one of two purposes – medicinal or recreational. Everyone knows medical marijuana is used to ease pain, induce hunger, and a few other medical benefits, whereas recreation products are used to simply get high. But is there more to it? How can the same thing have such different effects on people?

The answer lies in the composition of these products. Substances like THC and CBD decide how potent a product is and hence how much of an effect it has on the user. The potency also primarily decides what amount of marijuana is legal to carry and consume in a state. Here are some of the critical points of difference between medical and recreational marijuana:

THC and CBD Levels

Both medical and recreational marijuana products contain organic compounds called Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is a psychoactive, mind-altering compound that gives users a feeling of being high. Unlike other hallucinogens, however, THC is not known to have any harmful effects when taken in moderation.

Conversely, CBD treats chronic pain, alleviates cancer symptoms like weakening appetite, lowers blood pressure, and relieves anxiety and depression.

The level of THC and CBD in medical and recreational marijuana varies greatly. As a rule of thumb, medical cannabis usually has a high CBD content, while recreational cannabis has more THC in it.

Ease of Access and Availability

Medical marijuana has been available for public sale and consumption in the U.S since the mid-90s. Back in the day, California was the first stage to legalize medical marijuana because of pressure from Bay Area AIDS activists. Recreational marijuana, on the other hand, wasn’t declared legal until much later. This was primarily due to the stigma attached to recreational weed consumption. 

In 2012, Colorado became the first U.S state to legalize the recreational consumption of marijuana. Following this initiative, in the next ten years, 18 other states in the country legalized it. It is still, however, a criminal offense on the federal level. This difference in regulation severely affects the availability of both types of marijuana products. While medical marijuana dispensaries have been commonplace in the U.S for a while now, retail stores selling recreational products have only recently started gaining traction. 

Medical cannabis can be purchased on a doctor’s recommendation and in some states after showing the Medical Marijuana Card, which the government issues. Once you have these documents in place, it is easy to buy medical cannabis.

There are currently more than 7,000 weed dispensaries in the United States. Body and Mind is a proud part of the marijuana revolution in the country. Our dispensaries sell quality marijuana products with detailed lab testing and premium quality assurance. 


While the two types of marijuana have the same growing method, there is a vast difference in quality between them because of how they’re cultivated.

Medical cannabis is grown indoors where the climate conditions like air, soil, temperature, and light are controlled. Great care is taken to ensure it is pesticide free so that the final product is safe for patients to consume. 

The cultivation and production of recreational cannabis are slightly different as they can be done indoors or outdoors. While it is a strict process, it doesn’t follow the stringent procedure of medical cannabis. Hence, medical cannabis is more pure and consistent in quality in general.

Variety of Purpose

Medical cannabis has a low THC content and a high CBD content, meaning its psychoactive ingredient doesn’t create a high in the patient consuming it. For this reason, medical cannabis is considered safe for elders and children suffering from severe or terminal illnesses. 

Medical cannabis is also safer and purer as compared to recreational cannabis. It treats several illnesses like:

  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures
  • Heart diseases
  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Spasms
  • Blood pressure
  • Symptoms arising from cancer treatment
  • Sclerosis
  • Glaucoma
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Nausea

While medical cannabis relieves the above problems, it can have side effects. Some side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Increased appetite
  • Hallucinations 

If you experience these symptoms, you should contact your physician immediately. 

Difference in Shopping Experiences

You will likely have drastically different shopping experiences while shopping for medical and recreational marijuana products. Medical marijuana products are considered scheduled drugs and can only be bought with a valid medical prescription in the prescribed quantity. 

Most of the time, medical marijuana must be purchased from a clinic. However, in some cases, dispensaries may have a dual license, especially in states where recreational marijuana is legalized. Patients can purchase medical marijuana from a local weed dispensary in such scenarios.

Only doctors can provide medical advice and recommend medical cannabis products. Weed dispensaries don’t have the authority to diagnose a patient.

Shopping for a recreational marijuana product is different because you only need to be of legal age. You don’t need any other proof. You can choose a product you want from the dispensary or simply ask a weed connoisseur at the shop to help you with your purchase.

Age Restriction

Adults over the age of 21 years can purchase and consume recreational marijuana. The minimum age requirement for purchasing medical marijuana is 18 years. If a patient below the age wants to purchase medical marijuana to treat an underlying health condition, they will need the legal permission of a parent or a guardian.

However, regulations for getting a Medical Marijuana Card differ from state to state. 


Medical cannabis follows strict rules for quality and consistency. It is closely monitored by testing the soil and plants and checking the growing method. It is illegal to use several industrial pesticides while growing medical cannabis.

Medical cannabis has standardized operations and grows in a controlled environment. But on the other hand, recreational cannabis growers can get away with differences in quality and yield, which may arise due to unpredictable conditions like soil, light, water, air, or temperature.

Body and Mind

No matter what your marijuana needs are, Body and Mind is committed to providing you with an excellent consumer experience. If this blog still leaves some of your questions unanswered, our in-store staff will be more than happy to guide you through our premium products and the eligibility criteria for purchasing them. 

We have award-winning, premium-quality cannabis strains for recreational purposes. We have oils, edibles, and concentrates so that you can shop for your favorite products in one location.

If you are trying out recreational cannabis for the first time, our compassionate and knowledgeable staff in the store will help you. They can answer any doubts and queries about our products and make recommendations based on your expectations.

You can visit us at any location or order cannabis products online from our vast menu.

Body and Mind
Body and Mind October 13, 2022

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