With marijuana just as easily available for recreational purposes as it is for medical use, users commonly question what exactly the difference is between the two? How is the marijuana you can get at a medical dispensary different from the marijuana that you can purchase for recreational use? Is there actually a difference?

As it turns out, there are indeed differences between medical marijuana and recreational weed, but there are a lot more similarities than differences, as most users have probably already suspected.


Massive Growth Predicted For Medical MarijuanaThe main difference between medical and recreational marijuana is how it is used. Medical marijuana is used to treat certain health conditions, or to ease the symptoms of others. It is also used for managing pain, inducing sleep, encouraging appetite, and easing the side effects associated with the use of cancer and AIDS medications. Cannabis has proven to be an effective treatment medication for conditions such as glaucoma, nausea, migraine, stomach ache, and certain respiratory diseases. It can also enhance focus and improve mental function, and ease the symptoms of certain mental and/or emotional conditions.

Recreational users of marijuana are commonly interested in its mood-altering and/or consciousness-expanding effects. It is also used to inspire creativity, enhance the imagination, and make certain activities more pleasurable. For some people, marijuana is used to enhance experiences and make them more memorable and more enjoyable.

Content and effects

Most strains of marijuana sold for medical purposes have higher cannabidiol or CBD content than tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. CBD provides a sedative and soporific effect, and it is largely responsible for the pain-relieving and body-relaxation properties of medical marijuana. For recreational purposes, a higher THC content is generally considered more desirable. THC provides much of the psychoactive effects of marijuana, and it is responsible for the pleasurable sensations and mind-expanding properties typically sought by recreational marijuana users.


dispensary jarsMarijuana sold for recreational use is generally much more expensive than marijuana sold for medical purposes. With the limited supply and much higher demand than anticipated resulting from legalization, prices of recreational marijuana continue to soar and are expected to get even higher. In Colorado, for example, recreational marijuana is commonly sold for $400 an ounce. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is routinely sold for about $200 an ounce. An eighth of an ounce of recreational marijuana – the amount most commonly sold – costs from $55 to $77, while the same amount of medical marijuana typically sells for $37 to $46.


In terms of quality, medical marijuana is generally better than recreational marijuana, given the specific needs and requirements of the medical marijuana market. Because many medical marijuana users suffer from serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, they require a much better quality of marijuana than recreational users, as free from contaminants and impurities as possible.

That being said, recreational users have become more informed and more discriminating over the years, demanding more potent and higher quality marijuana. Most of the marijuana sold in reputable dispensaries is therefore practically equal to medical marijuana in terms of quality.


Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are readily available in dispensaries in the legal states. The purchase of medical marijuana requires a medical prescription from a legitimate doctor. In states that have legalized recreational marijuana, only a legal ID showing proof of age (21 or over) is required in order to purchase marijuana.


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