Just a few decades ago, cannabis users around the world had to obtain marijuana products through the black market. Medical research has helped soften the stance of lawmakers around the world to allow medical and recreational use of marijuana.

Currently, marijuana is legal for adult-use in 11 states and medical use in 33 states. As the legalization trend continues in the United States, new consumers are left wondering about the difference between the medical and recreational cannabis markets.

What’s The Difference Between Recreational and Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is reserved for medical patients that have one or more of a state’s list of qualifying conditions that vary by state. Medical patients must receive a medical prescription from a licensed physician to apply for a medical cannabis card. Cards have varying expiration dates and require renewal to continue to medical benefits.

Recreational marijuana, however, only requires consumers to have a state photo ID proving they are 21 years old or over. Recreational cannabis has different laws than medical cannabis. Both types of cannabis, however, contain a high amount of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other therapeutic compounds found in the cannabis plant.

In terms of social stigma, medical cannabis is viewed more favorably than recreational cannabis. Recreational cannabis use, however, allows users to find novel delivery methods, products, and doses that can be used for a variety of wellness purposes.

Choosing Between Recreational and Medical Cannabis

Choosing between recreational and medical cannabis can take some careful research into state laws and regulations. In most states, medical marijuana patients enjoy lower prices and no excise taxes on cannabis products. Patients must, however, pay an application and renewal fee to obtain their medical cannabis card.

Minors looking to treat a medical condition with marijuana are better suited for medical cannabis programs. Medical cannabis laws provide access to qualifying minors with the assistance of a parent or legal guardian as a caregiver. The recreational market only caters to those over 21 and over only.

In some states, only medical cannabis patients are allowed to grow cannabis, while recreational consumers can only buy from licensed dispensaries. Furthermore, medical cannabis has fewer THC, dose, and cultivation limits if a medical condition requires it.

Where To Buy Recreational and Medical Cannabis

Many medical cannabis shops have earned a retailer license for adult-use sales. Medical marijuana users should turn to medical-only or dual-license shops. Medical consumers must present a photo ID and a medical card to enter the facility and purchase cannabis.

Recreational marijuana dispensaries offer a more traditional shopping experience compared to the clinic-like experience of a medical shop. Recreational users can enter a licensed retailer by presenting a valid ID to security, after which, they can proceed into the main showroom full of glass displays of the cannabis products and helpful budtenders.

Medical and recreational weed offer consumers a potent and pure experience, albeit, with a few minor differences. While both markets sell marijuana, one is more geared toward medicinal purposes, thereby requiring unique considerations to improve patient safety. Both types of cannabis, however, are tested for contaminants and potency to ensure maximum consumer safety.