What is the Difference Between Recreational vs Medical Weed?

If you are a weed user, you should understand the difference between recreational vs medical weed. The differences are crucial in ensuring you stay on the right side of the law. They will also help you follow guidelines when buying weed and talking to your doctor about your medical needs.

medical doctor holding cannabis leaf and bottle of cannabis oil

This article will explore the difference between recreational vs medical weed, so you know where you stand.

Recreational vs Medical Weed

The main difference between recreational weed and medical weed is a doctor’s prescription. If a doctor prescribes weed to a person, they will purchase medical weed. If the weed is not prescribed, it’s recreational.

A person can use weed to address a medical symptom, but if it’s not prescribed by a doctor, it is not considered medical weed.

The recreational vs medical weed situation is most prevalent in states where medical weed is legal, but recreational weed is illegal. In those states, weed can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription.

Does Recreational vs Medical Weed Matter in a Legal State?

You may wonder, does recreational vs medical weed matter in a legal state? After all, anyone can buy weed for their medical needs with or without a prescription. So, what’s the difference?

Many states that have legalized weed continue to offer medical marijuana programs. Weed purchased for medical purposes has three main differentiating factors as follows:

  • Lower Sales Tax: Recreational weed buyers must pay a 10%- 30% sales tax. Medical weed has lower tax rates. Some medical users don’t have to pay tax at all.
  • Medical-Only Dispensaries: Some states have medical-only dispensaries or medical-only dispensary hours. These locations offer expanded product selections. Their budtenders are trained to offer advice on the best products for specific medical conditions.
  • Age Restrictions: Recreational marijuana is restricted to adult purchase. You must be 21 or over to buy weed products at a recreational dispensary. Medical marijuana can be purchased by people of any age with a prescription.

Recreational vs Medical Weed: Is There a Difference in Quality?

Medical marijuana, inflorescences of shinki herb plant with judge's gavel, law concept

Recreational vs medical weed are not necessarily different in quality. However, it is not unusual for medical weed to have lower THC content and higher CBD-to THC ratios. They are formulated as such so medical users can consume weed and still go about their daily tasks.

Furthermore, recreational weed is subject to more rigorous testing standards. People who use medical weed are more likely to find the products they use are as pure and potent as advertised.

Are Recreational vs Medical Weed Possession Laws the Same?

Recreational vs medical weed possession laws vary from state to state. However, in general, medical users are permitted to purchase and possess more weed than recreational users.

For example, in California, recreational users can purchase up to 28.5 grams of non-concentrated cannabis, 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, and 6 grams of immature plants per day. Medical marijuana patients can purchase 8 ounces of medical cannabis a day.

What About CBD?

CBD is a cannabis constituent that does not get you high. However, many states still see it as a cannabis product. As such it is not legal in every state.

Just like THC, there is a difference between recreational and medical CBD. You need a medical card to purchase CBD legally in certain states. You are also eligible for the same taxation, location, and age restrictions.

How Do I Get a Medical Marijuana Card?

Doctors write prescriptions, and medical marijuana on a table cl

Now that you know the key differences between recreational vs medical weed, you may be tempted to find out if you can get a medical card. After all, it qualifies you for tax benefits.

The key to getting a medical card is your doctor’s approval. If your doctor feels you might benefit from using medical marijuana, you can move forward with the process.

The next step involves signing up on your state’s medical marijuana registry online. You will be required to prove that your doctor has recommended marijuana for the treatment of your medical conditions.

The application will then be submitted to your doctor for final confirmation.

If all goes well, you must pay a fee to obtain your medical marijuana card. Costs vary depending on your state. You may also get full or partial coverage through your insurance.

This brings up another key difference. Recreational weed is never covered through insurance.

Now you know the differences between recreational vs medical weed. Recreational weed is used for pleasure. It is not covered by a doctor’s prescription. It comes with higher taxes. It is illegal in more states.

Medical cannabis can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription. It is used for medical needs. Individuals can take advantage of lower taxes and increased wellness. They are not subject to many legal restrictions.

This information can guide your purchasing decisions and help you remain on the right side of the law.

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