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What is the Difference Between Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana?


Many people nowadays use marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, because it is also a recreational drug, there is some confusion among many as to whether this is an acceptable practice or not. And is medicinal cannabis the same as recreational marijuana? If you are taking marijuana for a medical reason, will you get high?

What is Medicinal Marijuana?

Medical marijuana is the name given to parts of the cannabis plant that are used to provide relief for specific symptoms associated with various health conditions. A type of medicinal marijuana commonly used is known as CBD oil, or cannabis oil. This product is typically derived from the hemp plant and because it contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana that creates the high, it is legal.

CBD oil is often used to treat seizures such as those caused by epilepsy, reduce pain, and control anxiety. Doctors at medical cannabis pain clinic KindlyMD say that CBD may also help to relieve the pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.

What is Recreational Marijuana?

Recreational marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law and is not permitted for any purpose. It is also known as cannabis, hashish, weed, and pot and is typically used for enjoyment, although in some states THC is legal. It is worth noting that even though THC might be permitted in your state, it is still illegal under federal law, and so you could theoretically be prosecuted for possessing it.

Recreational marijuana is usually smoked. It comes in various forms and is mixed with tobacco and rolled into a joint. Some people put it in a pipe or bong, while others consume it in food or brew it as a tea. Marijuana induces feelings of sleepiness, relaxation, and happiness. It is because of these feelings that many people use recreational marijuana to help them deal with symptoms of various health conditions, such as anxiety and pain.

What are the Main Differences Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana

If you live in a state where marijuana is permitted, you can buy it from a dispensary. However, you will need to be over the age of 18 and will need a prescription or a medical marijuana card to get it for medical reasons. If you are buying it for recreational purposes, you must be over the age of 21.

Recreational cannabis contains more THC than medical marijuana, which itself contains a higher CBD content. So, if you are taking medical marijuana, you are unlikely to experience the same high that you would with recreational marijuana.

Are There Risks Associated with Marijuana?

According to the FDA, CBD has the potential to cause harm and can affect how other drugs work. This includes liver injury, and the FDA say that when CBD is used with other drugs or alcohol it can result in a higher risk of injury caused by drowsiness or sedation.

There is also the risk of federal prosecution, even if you live in a state where marijuana use is legal, as federal law supersedes state law.

Mayo Clinic says the possible side effects of medical marijuana are:

  • dizziness
  • slower reaction times
  • increased heart rate
  • increased appetite
  • memory problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • hallucinations
  • mental illness
  • potential for addition
  • negative drug-to-drug interactions
  • withdrawal symptoms.


Although medical and recreational marijuana come from the same plant, they differ in terms of the amount of THC and CBD they contain. In some states, marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use, but it is still an illegal drug under federal law and technically not permitted for any purpose.

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