What Is The Difference Between Medical & Recreational Cannabis?

Medical cannabis legislation has already been passed in various US states, with many others expected to follow suit soon. Some states have even legalized the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.

So, the question arises – is medical and recreational cannabis the same? If not, then what exactly is the difference between the two? Let’s dive in!

What is medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana/cannabis is basically prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional to patients with one or more of the qualifying conditions stipulated in their respective state laws.

It’s used in the treatment of the qualifying condition(s) to relieve related symptoms and help improve the quality of life of the person.

What is recreational marijuana?

On the other hand, recreational marijuana/cannabis is used for recreational purposes in states where it’s legal to grow, sell and use it by adults over a particular age, irrespective of whether they have any medical condition.

Difference between medical & recreational marijuana

Even though both medical & recreational cannabis is generally the same, the key difference between these products lies in their CBD & THC levels and the presence of terpenes.

Other differences may involve the quality of the products, availability, shopping experiences, and state specific laws.

THC & CBD Levels

THC and CBD are the cannabinoids present in marijuana that are responsible for the well-known effects we associate with cannabis.

While THC usually helps patients with nausea, insomnia, anorexia, etc., CBD assists individuals suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and more.

Their levels differ depending on the product type, whether it be edibles, tinctures, topicals, concentrates, etc.

Consult your healthcare provider regarding which medical cannabis product type would be suitable for your consumption. In the case of recreational marijuana, speak with the budtender for cannabis product suggestions.


Websites such as weedmaps.com can help you locate the medical/recreational cannabis dispensaries in your neighborhood.


Many US states don’t test medical/recreational cannabis for the presence of any contaminants in them. Thankfully Missouri has strict quality rules and oversight for cannabis products. So make sure to check proof of testing on products before buying them, or ask the budtender for details regarding them.

Shopping Experiences

In most instances, medical cannabis patients in the US have zero or very little taxes to pay when they buy products at state-licensed marijuana dispensaries.

They are also generally permitted to purchase & possess more amounts of marijuana than those allowed to recreational users.

Documents required for purchase typically include a government issued ID document like a passport or driver’s license as well as a medical marijuana card issued by the state authority.

State Laws

Medical and recreational marijuana laws may differ from state to state in the US. Hence, it’s essential to be completely aware of the laws in your state to avoid breaking the law unknowingly.

Check whether your state has legalized the use of medical marijuana, the qualifying conditions, the process to get a medical marijuana card, etc. Stay updated on the laws to avoid any unexpected trouble.

Interested in buying premium quality medical cannabis products for the treatment of a health condition?

Apply for a medical marijuana card and buy 100% legal medical cannabis from our licensed marijuana dispensaries in Missouri. Call us at +1 (816) 775-2920 today.

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