What’s The Difference Between Recreational and Medical Marijuana?

We are living in an unprecedented time for marijuana. Thirty US states have now legalized marijuana in some form, with eight states legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes and the majority of states allowing medical marijuana. However, many of us still think of marijuana as a little bit naughty. It can be a little confusing to understand what’s what when it comes to marijuana, particularly as laws and attitudes towards it are changing all the time. We’re here to break down the differences between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana so you can understand exactly what it all means.

First, let’s take a look at recreational marijuana. Recreational marijuana has had a troubled history, particularly in the United States. The majority of states had banned marijuana by 1937, and in the 1980s Ronald Reagan introduced minimum mandatory prison sentences for drug crimes, essentially grouping marijuana in with drugs like heroin. By 2012, some states had begun to legalize recreational cannabis, but it is still not widely available legally.

Meanwhile, medical marijuana is now legal in most states, and its acceptance is growing by the day. Marijuana has been used in Arabic medicine since the 8th century and goes back as far as 2500 BC in Chinese medicine. Scientific studies have found that medical marijuana is extremely effective at reducing chronic pain and pain caused by medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and neuropathy. It can also be used to treat nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and many more medical and psychological issues. To obtain medical marijuana, you need to live in a state where it is legal and attend an approved doctor who can give you a recommendation or card if your issues warrant it.

But how exactly do they differ? The main difference is that medical marijuana usually contains more cannabidiol (CBD) and recreational marijuana usually contains more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the main psychoactive chemical compound in marijuana, and it is what is responsible for giving the user that “high” feeling. CBD, however, is not psychoactive, so it will give you many of the medicinal benefits of marijuana without altering your perception or behavior. This means that recreational marijuana will generally have more noticeable effects on your mind and the way you think and feel emotionally, while medical marijuana will often change and heal the way that your body feels without significantly affecting your mind. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but this is the main difference. On top of that, in states where medical marijuana is legal, you need to be over eighteen years old to obtain it. However, even in states where recreational marijuana is legalized, you have to be older than twenty-one to buy it.

Both medical and recreational marijuana serve important purposes, and we’re learning more about each of them every day. You can ask an expert, like our experienced budtenders at Northern Lights Cannabis Co., if you want to learn more about which kind of marijuana can work for you. We have a wide variety of products available for medical and recreational users, and we’re always happy to guide you through the process of finding the right option for you.


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