Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana

Medicinal use of cannabis is often CBD-based. CBD is the chemical substance in cannabis that you find in oils and edibles for promoting relaxation and other health benefits. Recreational use will most likely be THC-based. THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive substance in cannabis.

When you purchase a cannabis product, it’ll have other cannabinoids besides CBD and THC. However, CBD and THC are the well-researched compounds believed to have the most medicinal benefits.

In the world of cannabis, there’s always one term or the other to keep up with and understand. Here, we want to discuss medical marijuana vs. recreational marijuana.

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana

Both medical and recreational marijuana come from the same plant. So, there is usually little difference in legalities, experience, and product options. The most notable difference here is your reason for using them.

People who use medical marijuana do so because of the therapeutic benefits they get from it. To purchase medical marijuana, you need to have a medical marijuana card issued by your state. A doctor has to recommend that for you before you you’re allowed to get the card.

With your medical marijuana card, you can walk into a licensed dispensary and shop. There are no other requirements except visit a store, look at the products on the shelves, and make a purchase.

On the other hand, recreational marijuana is somewhat different. People, in this case, consume marijuana for recreational purposes, not medical. Recreational marijuana is also referred to as adult-use cannabis. That means marijuana for people aged 21 and above.

Some states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana. So, you can visit a store and buy it whenever you want. However, you need to go with a valid ID.

Ultimately, medical marijuana is for patients with qualifying health conditions. Recreational marijuana is for adults 21 and above who need it for personal reasons.


Medical marijuana vs. recreational marijuana legalities differ by state. However, it’s important to note that on a federal level, marijuana of all forms is illegal. Whether it’s medical or recreational, it’s still illegal.

As you probably know, many states have taken steps to legalize marijuana. In some states, medical and recreational marijuana is legal. In other states, only medical marijuana is permitted, while some do not allow any form of marijuana. It’s important to check your state’s marijuana laws before buying.


One significant difference between medical marijuana vs. recreational is quality. The cultivation, growing, and manufacturing processes determine if the plant is for medical purposes or recreational.

Marijuana plants that are for medical uses undergo more thorough processes. They’re examined for toxins like pesticides since these products are safer for patients to consume.

The processes for medical marijuana differ from recreational marijuana. Although no one wants to consume an unsafe product, that’s how it is. Companies take great care when cultivating marijuana for medical purposes.

Product Availability

The products available to you depend on your state. For most states in the US, there are more options available for medical marijuana than recreational.

Because of the medicinal value marijuana provides to these patients, medical card holders have a broader range of products. Also, some medical conditions require more potent products.

Furthermore, recreational dispensaries provide limited options because they don’t want non-medical users to access those potent products. Keep in mind that it might be different in your state. You can check your state’s cannabis law.

Also, check the dispensary’s product line and see the options available before visiting. This gives you an idea of what to expect.


People with medical marijuana (MMJ) cards can grow marijuana at home. This is one of the advantages of having an MMJ card. Although not all medical programs allow cultivation, most of them do.

For instance, people with an Alaskan MMJ card can grow and gift six cannabis plants. However, you can only have three plants growing at the same time.

In Arizona, MMJ cardholders are allowed to grow up to twelve plants. You can always check your state’s laws to see if you can benefit from these programs.

Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational: Which is better?

So, which is better between medical and recreational marijuana? The answer to this question depends on your needs and personal preferences.

If you need marijuana for a health condition, then medical marijuana would be the best option. On the other hand, if cannabis is something you want to take to enhance relaxation, recreational marijuana is a perfect choice.


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