Is There a Difference Between Medicinal & Recreational Marijuana?

Published: September 8, 2021

With all the changes with recreational and medicinal marijuana, we’re sure you have a question: Is there a difference between medicinal marijuana and recreational? Short answer: yes. There are a few differences between the two. We’re here to help debunk some of the questions you may have.


While marijuana is still illegal federally, both medicinally and recreationally, legality in each state varies. In states where only medicinal marijuana is legal, a medical ID card is required to purchase and possess marijuana. With that, the possession limits and at-home cultivation laws may be different in these states because states recognize that medical marijuana patients may require more cannabis than the average customer due to the severity of their medical condition.

Possession limits for recreational consumers may be smaller than those for medicinal consumers, and at-home cultivation may not be an option for recreational consumers either. Always be sure to check your state’s laws on at-home cultivation before you decide to try to grow your own buds.


Typically, medicinal marijuana contains higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) since they don’t provide the same high effects as THC-dominant strains and is more popular among medical marijuana patients. THC is responsible for marijuana’s euphoric effects, and although these strains can be used to alleviate pain, they tend to be more popular among recreational marijuana users.

While the THC vs CBD content may be different in medicinal and recreational marijuana, that does not determine if it is medicinal and/or recreational.

Usage Purposes

Medical marijuana is used by patients for therapeutic purposes for certain medical conditions that have been recognized by their state. It is typically reserved for legal medical patients who have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition, and in some cases are adults 21 and older. Recreational marijuana is typically used by consumers for personal reasons not related to a medical condition.

Buying Experience

State regulations may require that recreational and medicinal marijuana be taxed at different rates. While it varies state by state, a lot of states tax pretty heavily on adult-use marijuana. In addition, a medicinal patient’s experience will be a little different from a recreational user’s because they’ll have gone to docs visits, filled out some paperwork, and received a medical ID card prior to going to the dispensary. In addition, those with medical IDs are able to purchase cannabis from dispensaries that are exclusively for medical marijuana patients.

Figuring out whether medical or recreational marijuana is better for you is entirely up to you! Of course, if you live in a state where you’re required to have a medical marijuana ID card to possess and consume marijuana, we can help you with some tips on how to get a medical ID card. Definitely discuss with your doctor first though.

As always, if you need happiness delivered Doobie is your go-to!

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