Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Is There a Difference?

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Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Is There a Difference?

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and grass for medical use is lawful in at least 30, you may be wondering if there is a difference between the two forms of cannabis. Will medical grade grass get you high? Is there any therapeutic benefit to recreational weed? We looked to experts for the answers, and this is what we found:

Scientists have identified hundreds of chemical compounds that exist naturally within the marijuana plant. Depending on which compounds are most abundant, a marijuana plant can produce flowers that smell like pine needles, blueberries, pineapple or even a skunk.

At least 60 of the compounds found in weed are unique to the cannabis genus. These specific compounds are known as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is of particular interest to medical researchers. CBD therapy already helps many people deal with health issues and may hold the key to an even greater number of therapeutic and medicinal treatments in the future.

Chemical differences between medical and recreational weed

Marijuana bred for recreational purposes delivers significant amounts of a natural compound called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This is the active ingredient in marijuana that gives you a buzz. If getting high is the goal, THC content is the thing to look for. If you seek medicinal value, opt for CBD-dominant strains.

Many, but not all strains cultivated for medical use are rich in CBD but much lower in THC. In fact, some cannabis is bred to deliver plenty of CBD and no THC at all. This refined medical weed offers a therapeutic benefit without making you stoned, explains HighTimes magazine.

Tax differences between recreational and medicinal cannabis

In Colorado, medical and recreational weed are taxed at different rates. Each dispensary sale of medical herb comes with a 2.9 percent state sales tax plus local sales tax that varies from county to county. Recreational sales include these state and local sales taxes along with a 10 percent retail marijuana tax plus an excess tax of 15 percent, says Colorado Pot Guide.

Legal buying age

In states where medical marijuana is legal, buyers must provide a recommendation as well as proof that they are at least 18 years old. States that have legalized recreational cannabis don’t require a doctor’s note, but buyers must be at least 21, according to DocMJ.

Uses for medical marijuana

Most medical marijuana consumed in the United States is used to alleviate pain. CBD may not be strong enough to manage acute pain such as you’d feel with a broken bone, but thousands of patients rely on medical cannabis to treat everything from anxiety to chronic pain to life-threatening conditions such as MS and epilepsy, explains Harvard University. At the time of this writing, medical cannabis and CBD products are used to alleviate symptoms of:

  •   Parkinson’s disease
  •   Endometriosis
  •   Fibromyalgia
  •   Multiple Sclerosis
  •   Interstitial cystitis
  •   Chron’s disease
  •   Glaucoma
  •   Epilepsy
  •   Irritable Bowel
  •   HIV wasting syndrome

Decide for yourself

Is medical or recreational weed right for you? Many people enjoy both. That’s why Northern Lights Cannabis Co. is pleased to present a splendid selection of both recreational and medical quality marijuana for your consideration.


Drury, A. (2018) What is CBD; HighTimes magazine


Grinspoon, P. (2018) Medical Marijuana; Harvard Health Blog []

Hutmacher, A. (2016) A Practical Guide to Help You Compare Med and Rec Marijuana; PotGuide


DocMJ (2018) What Is the Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana?



By | 2018-08-01T20:46:29+00:00 July 31st, 2018|Cannabis 101, News|0 Comments

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