The difference between recreational and medical marijuana

Published Aug 16, 2019 01:00 p.m. ET
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Marijuana became legal for recreational and medicinal use across Canada in 2018. So one begs the question why do I need a medical marijuana card when I can purchase marijuana at the local dispensary?

However, the difference is undeniable, as medical marijuana can be purchased only through a Licensed Producer who obtained the license from the federal government of Canada. Medical marijuana is often available at a lower price than recreational weed. Another benefit is the ability to claim your medicine at tax time, as some private insurers are covering the use of cannabis in their insurance plans.

The registering with an LP is a relatively simple endeavor. A doctor must recommend the use of medical cannabis. When this is achieved the registration with an LP to purchase your medicinal marijuana is a natural next step. Your purchase will then be sent in the mail, and the cost of medical marijuana for some Canadians can come reduced due to compassionate pricing that is offered by some LP.

The marijuana plant produces numerous different strains of medical marijuana that are high in CBD. CBD is the non-intoxicating agent in the marijuana plant. For medicinal use, the most popular strains of the marijuana plant for medicine usually have a 2:1 or 1:1 CBD/THC ratio.

Medical marijuana users have access to products who’s qualities assist in reducing inflammation, assist in the healing process, and elevating moods.  Help with pain relief insomnia issues, and anti-seizure qualities are also medicinal benefits provided by the marijuana plant. These are some of the other attributes that medical cannabis can provide. Cannabis research indicates that the use of recreational cannabis can provide benefits from the interaction with the bodies endocannabinoid system. This can provide countless health benefits

Ultimately marijuana, either medically or recreational sourced, comes from the same marijuana plant.

LP's who supply medical cannabis in Canada, have been subjected to rigorous testing of their products. This ensures the accuracy that is on the labels of the products they sell, and you are purchasing.

Contrary to the legal consumption of recreational marijuana use, there is no age requirement for medicinal cannabis use. Medical marijuana is available with the aid of a physicians’ prescription and guidance from a health practitioner with no age requirement.

The Cannabis Act allows for the growing of four plants per household; the exception to this rule is Quebec and Manitoba. That does not mean everyone in a house can grow four plants — instead, the law states per household. The medical marijuana user who needs more than four plants for their medicine can apply for a personal production license.


Consumption of your medical marijuana can be smoked/vaporized anywhere that smoking tobacco is allowed, which can include outside of buildings, parks on the sidewalk, and designated smoking areas. It is good to note that the medical cannabis user has more leeway than the recreational user. It would be wise to always have your medical cannabis document with you at all times.

Recreational cannabis users can legally purchase their cannabis from online retail stores like the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) or at provincially regulated retail stores.

Recreational marijuana laws can be a bit confusing for the marijuana user who enjoys using smoking as a way to enjoy their cannabis. The Cannabis Act allows for smoking marijuana anywhere that tobacco smoking is allowed. However, there have been changes in the laws. The Yukon Territory, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and the NWT have revised the laws allowing the consumption of cannabis which have restricted marijuana use to private residences.

It comes down to the differences in medicinal and recreational cannabis being the intent of the user. Recreational users are more apt to be looking for the psychoactive ingredient THC in their purchases. THC produces a great euphoric experience. Recreational users of the marijuana plant may also benefit health-wise from their consumption of the herb.

Recreational marijuana users have been known to purchase their cannabis through the grey market area from non-licensed retail cannabis stores. The problem with this method of buying herb is the products are not regulated, and quality assurance is not present. The licensed cannabis retail stores must purchase their regulated and quality assured product from Health Canada approved Licensed Producers.

When purchasing from these retail stores, one must keep in mind that the advice for therapeutic use is not available. If you are looking to self-medicate with recreational weed, the information is best when provided by a qualified medical doctor.

Whether you are using medical marijuana for health reason or you enjoy the experiences of indulging in a delicious perfectly rolled joint for recreational purposes, ENJOY!!!

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