There’s been plenty of debate in recent years over the differences between medical and recreational use of cannabis. Moreover, this debate is growing further as more and more states adopt laws legalizing marijuana use for medical and research purposes.
Although medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, there’s still some confusion over the differences between the two types of cannabis use and how they affect you and your health in the long run. To clear up the matter, here are some differences between medical and recreational use of the cannabis plant.
What is Cannabis?
Cannabis refers to a group of plants that have psychoactive properties. These plants include marijuana and hemp. These plants are known as psychoactive drugs that can affect mood, behavior and induce sleep.
Marijuana has THC, which creates psychoactive effects like a feeling of ‘high’ and anxiety. On the other hand, CBD doesn’t create any psychoactive effects. Patients who are prescribed medical cannabis are usually given medicines with high levels of CBD and low levels of THC.
This is ensured to help with the disease without having to deal with THC’s side effects.
What is Medical Cannabis?
Medical cannabis is a potential therapeutic drug that has been claimed to effectively relieve chronic pain, nausea, and other health problems without providing dangerous side effects associated with prescription pills.
It is also often used as an alternative therapy for conditions such as ADHD and PTSD. The most important compound in medical cannabis is CBD (cannabidiol). It is extracted from the hemp plant and used in various products to help against certain diseases.
CBD products include edibles, capsules, gummies, and oil tinctures. All these products have different concentrations of CBD and also vary in mode of consumption. Medical cannabis treatments are administered through oral ingestion or topical application, which gives patients access to a variety of potencies depending on their condition.
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What is Recreational Cannabis?
You may be wondering if there is separate cannabis for recreational and medical use. Well, absolutely not. It’s just the mode of consumption that sets medical and recreational cannabis apart. Recreational cannabis is when people use cannabis for entertainment or intoxication.
Recreational cannabis is used in various ways, such as vaporizing concentrates and smoking flower joints and bongs. Nowadays, marijuana products include edibles and a wide variety of products like creams, capsules, and tinctures that promote wellness from head to toe.
These products can be found at most dispensaries, along with glassware, rolling papers, water pipes, vaporizers, and other accessories to help you get high.
Health Benefits of Medical Cannabis:
Many people use cannabis for medical purposes, but more often, it is used recreationally. Marijuana is used for recreational purposes, while hemp is used for medical benefits.
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule-I drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and is illegal at a federal level. Despite this, some states have legalized the recreational and medical use of marijuana.
Other countries have also legalized medicinal cannabis, Israel being one example. The health benefits are vast when it comes to marijuana, whether you are using it medically or recreationally. Medicinal marijuana is used to relieve chronic pain, muscle spasms, epilepsy, and other seizure disorders.
Doctors recommend medical cannabis to help alleviate nausea during chemotherapy treatments. It also combats post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms such as anxiety and insomnia.
Main Differences Between Medical & Recreational Cannabis:
There is not any physical difference between medical and recreational cannabis. The same cannabis plant that is used as medication can be used for recreational purposes. The only difference is THC and CBD levels and the accessibility of products.
THC Vs. CBD Levels:
Cannabis contains more than 100 chemical compounds, but CBD and THC are the two main compounds. Medical cannabis is considered beneficial only for its CBD contents.
The CBD present in medical cannabis is used to regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, which in turn provides relief from different health conditions, as mentioned above.
However, THC is responsible for psychoactive effects and is intoxicating in nature. It also has some serious side effects when consumed in large amounts. Medical cannabis contains large amounts of CBD and a very low concentration of THC (less than 0.3%). That’s why it is good and safe for use.
Recreational cannabis, on the other hand, contains more than 15% THC and very few contents of CBD. THC does have some benefits, but it does more harm than good. So, if you are buying a cannabis product for medical use, make sure to check its CBD and THC contents.
Accessibility and Cost:
As we have discussed earlier, medical cannabis is legal in 37 states compared to recreational cannabis, which is legal in only 18 states. So, depending on the laws of your state, medical cannabis can be more easily accessible than recreational cannabis.
Talking about the costs, medical cannabis, being a medicinal drug, is cheaper than cannabis for adult use. Also, government taxes are lower for medical cannabis and fairly high for recreational cannabis. So, if you need medical cannabis, you can access it more easily than a recreational one.
Smoking Vs. Vaping Marijuana:
One of the biggest differences between medical and recreational cannabis is in how they are consumed. Medical cannabis is often ingested in a pill or a liquid form that you can use through a syringe. At the same time, recreational marijuana is generally smoked as a joint or blunt (in states where it’s legal).
This difference in consumption methods makes sense because pills or liquids deliver an exact dose of CBD or THC, which lets patients monitor their dosages more closely than smoking would allow. In contrast, with edibles, you have to be careful not to over-consume by accident.
Another important distinction is whether products contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), which produce different effects on your body depending on what you’re looking for. THC is psychoactive and induces feelings of euphoria and relaxation, whereas CBD creates feelings of calmness without getting you high.
Both medical and recreational cannabis are the same products. However, their mode of consumption and medical benefits may differ. You will need a doctor’s recommendation to consume medical cannabis. On the other hand, recreational cannabis is only available for people over 21.
It is recommended to always consult a doctor before using any medical or recreational cannabis products.