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The Differences Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana

With the legalization of cannabis, it is important to know the types available on the market and how they are different from each other.

Legal marijuana is usually sorted as ‘medical’ or ‘recreational’. We can deduce from these labels that these are categories according to purpose or usage, but did you know that they have other differences as well?
Here are some ways that set medical and recreational marijuana apart from each other.


A cannabis plant has two main active ingredients, THC and CBD[SW1] , that are classed as cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) is the psychoactive compound that causes the high when consuming cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, alleviates anxiety and promotes relaxation without making you “high”.

For recreational cannabis, the THC content is usually higher, which means that this variety could induce more "high" compared to medical ones. Meanwhile, medical cannabis contains more CBD than recreational and consumption of this variety would not make you feel the high associated with its recreational counterpart. Also, since CBD is lower for recreational ones, this variety may have less therapeutic effects than medical weed.


Pot can be bought legally in dispensaries. But to purchase medical marijuana, you might need a medical recommendation, and a qualifying condition is needed to acquire this recommendation. The recommendation must be regularly renewed too, so the patient can purchase the dosage required for the treatment. On the other hand, anyone can buy recreational marijuana. You would only have to go to a recreational dispensary and buy the weed you need without being asked for a medical card or recommendation.

Age restrictions

States that have legalized medical and recreational marijuana have set age restrictions to purchase the drug. However, the age restrictions are different for each variety.

If you are buying recreational marijuana in a state where it is legal, you would need to prove that you are more than 21 years of age. To obtain recreational weed from a dispensary, all you need to do is go there, prove that you are over 21 using your driver’s license and buy the pot you need. In some states where cannabis is legal, you may even be allowed to possess and grow your own, as long as you are older than 21.

The age restriction for medical marijuana is different in that it is usually lower. People who are at least 18 years of age may purchase medical marijuana for themselves. Under certain circumstances, even those who are under 18 may apply and be granted a medical marijuana card so they can buy weed for themselves. This may vary depending on the state though.

Where you buy your pot also matters. If it is legal in your state, it could be much safer to buy recreational cannabis from a dispensary instead of a dealer. You can never be sure about the components if you are buying unregulated weed and it could also be harmful for you. Meanwhile, medical marijuana cannot be purchased from the street and can only be obtained from a medical pot dispensary.

Meta Title: What Makes Medical Marijuana Different from Recreational Marijuana
Meta Description: You might already know that medical and recreational marijuana differ by their usage, but did you know they also have other differences?
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