The difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana

Turning the Page on Old-Era Misinformation on Cannabis

Some anti-marijuana sentiments can be mind-boggling, with blurry lines between fact and fiction. A favourite tactic of marijuana opponents is to emphasise an extreme difference between medical and recreational marijuana. Over the years marijuana has had a massive range of public opinion, with people regarding the drug and anything from a magical, cure-all substance to an evil, dangerous material.

Despite efforts being made towards emphasising facts and curbing the stigma on the drug, there’s still a whole lot of work to be done in order to weed out the misinformation. Several initiatives are beginning to take that role, including a recent move to purge the DEA of inaccurate information.


The fact that various strains of marijuana can be cultivated for specific reasons has been used as a basis for propaganda. Source


What is the difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana?

Given that there is a big difference in legislation depending on whether marijuana is intended for recreational or medicinal purposes, it would be easy to imagine that the policies are referring to wildly different strains.

In actual fact, there isn’t any essential difference between the strains used for medical and recreational purposes. There may be a greater emphasis on the methods used for cultivating marijuana for both uses, with each method focusing on modifying the contents of certain chemicals within the plant such as cannabinoids.


The plant that yields all the medical benefits is also basically the same one used for recreational purposes. Source

However, the bottom line is that they're all still the same plant. The cannabinoid profiles used for treating various conditions are the same as those used for recreational purposes. This is due to how the different chemicals within the plant interact with each other, especially the interplay of THC and CBD effects.


The Remarkable Synergy between THC and CBD

The two most important cannabinoids present in marijuana are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CB (Cannabidiol). THC gives users the “high” that many users seek, particularly recreational users. THC also helps stimulate appetite, fight insomnia, and alleviate nausea, making it perfect for many chemotherapy patients. It has also proven highly useful in treating certain types of cancer. THC can also alleviate ocular pressure, making it of great benefit to glaucoma patients. In addition, THC can be used to enhance bladder control for patients of Multiple Sclerosis, and promotes the regeneration of nerve tissues.

CBD complements THC to counter some of THC's negative effects. CBD enhances mental alertness to counter the low feeling that THC can induce. CBD also enhances the feeling of contentment to cancel out THC's potentials to induce paranoia and anxiety, and so CBD has proved highly effective in bringing calm to people with psychotic episodes. CBD stimulates the creation of bone cells, inhibits bacteria growth, minimises blood sugar levels and reduces blood pressure.

Regardless of the strain cultivated, the presence of these two cannabidiols makes it technically impossible to classify strains into recreational and medicinal categories. Although the proportion of cannabidiols present in each strain can be varied to enhance certain properties, these properties are still present in appreciable quantities in recreational and medicinal strains. Even the history books describe marijuana as a medicinal herb used for self-medication by many peoples in various parts of the world.

With this in mind, it's easy for opponents to argue that there may be other motives behind the delineation of medical and recreational strains in regulatory policies than the drive to ensure the proper use of the drug.


Following the Money in the Marijuana Industry

It's apparent that the motive behind the push for law-makers to treat medical and recreational strains differently is mostly related to taxation. Various state governments impose taxes based on these perceived differences between recreational and medicinal strains. For instance, while allowing for no extra tax on the purchase of medical marijuana the Colorado government have imposed a 10% tax on recreational marijuana strains, in addition to an extra 15% tax which the product's price is already subjected to. In Oregon, “medical” marijuana strains can be purchased tax-free, but the recreational strains attract up to 25% tax.


Getting Facts Straight

In order to foster the progress made in the marijuana industry, it's critical to cut through the noise to the truth about different strains of marijuana and their properties, by encouraging transparency and facts. To win the war against mis-information on marijuana, we need to shed definitive light on the gray areas around the presumed differences between medical and recreational marijuana. Misinformation often spreads fear and leads to unfair, inaccurate policies. The truth about marijuana strains will show the plant as being both useful and enjoyable for many people, with a wide range of beneficial properties that can help users – regardless of the strain they choose.