Differentiating Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis

Cannabis has been considered the devil’s lettuce by the government for years. But, thanks to certain states legalizing its use, people can finally enjoy the bud without worrying about the Feds. Now, you can shop for marijuana in dispensaries; and, the ones you can find are split into two categories: medicinal and recreational.

While the difference may seem like semantics, it does have social and legal purposes behind it. Here’s what you should know about the two.


Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main ingredients of cannabis. The latter contains psychoactive chemicalsthat are responsible for making people feel euphoric and relaxed.The former, on the other hand,has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-anxiety, and antipsychotic properties.

While both medical and recreational marijuana contain CBD and THC, the contentratio differs in the two. You can buy strains that have the health benefits of cannabis without making you feel “high.”Meanwhile, if you’re more into the psychoactive sensation, then those with higher doses of THC are better.


In most parts of the US, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA. As a result, unless you have a medical license that approves its use, you’ll be fined or even jailed if you’re found having it in your possession.

That doesn’t mean everything’s bleak for recreational users. In the recent decade, laws governing cannabis have become ratherlax. In fact, certain states have now legalized recreational marijuana; these are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington, D.C.

Requirements in Buying

Planning to head over to a cannabis dispensary and buy a couple of strains? Here are the things you need to have first:

Recreational: For you to enjoy marijuana recreationally, you need to buy and use it in 1 of the 10 states where it’s legal. You also have to present an ID that shows you’re 21 years old and above when purchasing from one of the approved dispensaries.

Medical:On the other hand, you can use medical marijuanaacross the 50 states. But, youneed to earn a license for it. Here are the requirements for having one:

  • Proof of a recognized medical condition
  • Proof of trying conventional treatments, but to no avail
  • Prescription from a state-certified doctor
  • $200 for examination
  • Be on the Compassionate Use Registry

You’re also required to buy your medicinal cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary. If the card you’re given has an expiration date, you’d need to renew so you can continue the use.

The difference in medical and recreational cannabis lies in its intended use. But, either you’re in it for fun or your ailment, it’s still best to buy it from a state-approved source, like a cannabis dispensary in Illinois.