You have read about the science of cannabis, and you have heard from many sources that weed can work wonders to improve health, lower stress, and provide a multitude of other benefits. You might feel that it is finally time to dip your toes into this dank trend.
However, before you can buy some legal bud, you have an important decision to make: Will you buy medical or recreational marijuana? While state law could determine what options are available to you, here is some information on the differences between the two types to help you decide whether you need a medical cannabis license to partake.
The Differences Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis
It is important to understand the differences between medical and recreational products and services to ensure you have the right opportunities for your lifestyle and needs. All cannabis is not created equal — and neither are legal cannabis programs. Here are the two major differences between medical and recreational options:
The most noteworthy difference is in the type and quality of services available to recreational and medical patients. Though the experience might vary from state to state, in most places, a recreational marijuana shop functions similarly to a liquor shop or another retail space with an age minimum. You might need to submit your ID upon entering the dispensary, or you might be ID-checked during your purchase, but in either case, you are generally free to wander the shop and peruse the available goods at your leisure.
In contrast, medical dispensaries tend to operate much more like pharmacies. Often, budtenders trained in medical dispensaries work with patients on a one-on-one basis to understand their condition and offer products that suit their individual needs. As a result, when you visit a medical dispensary, you will need to bring your identification and weed card as well as any documents from your doctor about your health condition. Additionally, you should expect to spend some of your visit waiting your turn as the budtenders serve other patients. This can make medical marijuana dispensaries more accessible to beginner weed users but a little less convenient to those who don’t suffer from serious health concerns.
Potency Of Products
The other potential difference in recreational and medical products is the legal limit on potency. Some states set caps on the THC or CBD content of products available in recreational dispensaries to ensure that beginner users don’t have ready access to weed that is way beyond their tolerance. Though neither CBD nor THC causes long-term damage or death due to overdose, bad reactions can send users to the emergency room in a panic. Thus, limiting recreational dosage can keep populations a bit safer.
In contrast, many medical users build up a tolerance to THC and CBD rapidly. For these compounds to continue effectively managing their conditions, users need to increase their doses of THC and CBD — which means they need access to higher potency products from their dispensaries. Thus, most states permit medical dispensaries to sell exceedingly high-THC and CBD products though recreational dispensaries may be prohibited from doing so.
Reasons to Get a Medical Marijuana Card
Given these considerations, there are three good reasons to apply for a medical marijuana license in your state:
1. Only medical marijuana has been legalized in your state.
Many more states allow medical users access to marijuana. Because lists of qualifying conditions tend to be long and inclusive, you likely suffer from a condition that earns you access to weed in these states. If medical cannabis is your only legal option, it is the best option for you. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily hold true if you live in a state like Michigan, where recreational marijuana has long been legalized, and recreational dispensaries abound.
2. You are treating a health condition with cannabis.
Without a doubt, this is the best reason to pursue a medical marijuana card. Though recreational shops can provide some products and services to help you manage your health, medical dispensaries are better equipped to serve your health needs in every way.
3. You require exceedingly high THC or CBD content products.
Some recreational users have high tolerances, either naturally or due to long-term use. If the highest-THC and CBD products available in recreational dispensaries are no longer sufficient to provide a fun, enjoyable cannabis experience, it can be beneficial to gain access to products only available at medical dispensaries.
In states that have legalized recreational marijuana, getting safe, legal weed is easier than ever before. Still, you need to consider whether medical cannabis can benefit you, either in products or services available in dispensaries.