Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis

Infuzes Team Posted 4 years ago

Although cannabis continues to gain increasing popularity, there are many myths and uncertainties around this industry and its products. The main question that confuses most prospect or current consumers is what makes medical and recreational cannabis different? In this article, we will try to shed light on this issue.


The first thing we should clarify about using cannabis is it recreationally or medicinally,  there is no wrong way to consume marijuana. You should not be afraid of chemical addiction like in the case with opioids, also it is virtually impossible to overdose on, unlike while experimenting with substances. As you can see, cannabis is arguably one of the safest drugs to try, especially in a state-legal market where testing ensures the safety and purity of the product.

There are a lot of reasons and even more ways to make cannabis a part of your lifestyle.

Reasons for use

Nowadays, medical marijuana is an effective treatment of choice. Patients use it to relieve such diseases and conditions as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Epilepsy
  • certain Cancers
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain,
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

Cannabis is a real stockpot with a variety of compounds, providing different therapeutic benefits. The two most famous compounds are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). In general, medical marijuana strains have higher levels of CBD content, while recreational marijuana strains generally have higher levels of THC content. Recreational cannabis is used to intentionally change one’s state of consciousness, often producing feelings of happiness and exhilaration. At the same time, CBD-rich cannabis, while not psychoactive, is known for fighting physical pain and discomfort. Combined together, these cannabinoids can even achieve synergy through a theory known as the “entourage effect”.

Shopping Experience

Purchasing medical cannabis calls for the need of an individual to have a medical cannabis recommendation based on qualifying conditions, and that is the underlying distinction between recreational and medical cannabis. Anyone can buy recreational cannabis over the required minimum age. No medical card is needed for this.

When it comes to the shopping experience itself, you won't notice the difference between medical and recreational shops. Qualified medical marijuana patients present both their ID to certify the achievement of the legal age, as well as their valid medical cannabis card. To ensure the privacy of their customers, some medical shops may have a waiting room where patients are called in one at a time.

If talk about recreational stores, it should be mentioned that they have no right to provide medical advice to customers but you can still shop at them as a medical patient.  Some "dual-licensed" shops can meet the needs of both recreational and medical consumers. They may also have discounts or tax breaks for medical patients. Look for medical dispensaries and dual-licensed shops who provide educational opportunities for their budtenders, such as seminars and certifications. In this case, you have more chances to get professional advice and high-quality services. Feel free to explore multiple dispensaries until you find one with a well-trained staff that you connect with.

Quality and Limits

For some unknown reasons, people believe that medical marijuana patients are provided with prime, higher quality goods, while recreational marijuana consumers are deprived of such a privilege. Of course, it is a myth which has no real evidence. Nothing is different between the products offered; everything is grade “A”. At either store type, you’re bound to find various edibles, drinkables, vaporizers, topicals, strains, and concentrates.

In terms of purchase limits, it doesn't make a difference if you medicate or just want to get lifted; you have the exact same restrictions: an ounce of flower or a â…› ounce of concentrates (oil, wax, and shatter) per day. There is no official system that controls dispensaries in regards to how much cannabis you purchase per day, so, technically, you could go to every dispensary and purchase up to an ounce and nobody would stop you. But remember, you can only carry what the law states, so if you plan to go from shop to shop, make sure that you don’t have more than the max amount permitted in your possession or you risk going to jail.

The following review is focused on the major differences between medical marijuana patients and recreational consumers.


Medical patients may receive certain perks not available to recreational consumers. These generally include:

  • Lower costs and taxes
  • Higher THC potency limits
  • Higher quantity restrictions
  • Legal access for minors in approved medical cases (e.g., cancer or epilepsy)
  • Medical patients may be allowed to grow their own cannabis (or are permitted a higher plant count than recreational consumers)


One more thing that diversifies medical and recreational marijuana is the tax rates. 32% of the recreational product's cost is taxes, a large portion of which going to the city’s Rainy Day Fund. A lot of the recreational taxes are built into the retail price (such as the 15% cultivation tax), so you won’t notice it all outlined on your receipt. What you will see on your receipt for users is 18.25% taxes and for medical users, it will be 8.25% taxes. Although the difference of 10% may seem unfair at first sight, you shouldn't forget that some people require medical cannabis for serious illnesses and medical conditions in order to improve the quality of their lives due to pain and discomfort, cancer, epilepsy, PTSD and for many other reasons. If you think about it in this way, then the big tax rate should not confuse you. Eventually, we should take delight in the legalization of recreational adult use, as it simplifies the entrance of marijuana in your everyday life.


Social stereotypes and the lack of information further bolden the dividing line between medical and recreational cannabis, as a greater percentage of Americans support medical cannabis than a recreational one. This is not surprising since marijuana was in the shade for many years and using cannabis for enjoyment is still somewhat taboo in the public eye. At the same time, you don’t need to be suffering a severe disease to find wellness benefits in casual use. For example, when a state legalizes recreational cannabis, a consumer might first fall in love with the easy access to a variety of high-quality strains, only to discover an infused topical that works wonders on a chronic condition. Or, a healthy adult may find that a low-dose tincture helps alleviate daily stress and anxiety. Every day more and more new, high-quality and beneficial products come to the market and it's easy to become a fan of recreational or medical cannabis or even both. And it’s only a matter of time before state legislation comes to reflect that.

These are the similarities and differences between medical and recreational marijuana. Explore the cannabis industry with us!