What's the Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana?

Matthew KNorton Chiropractor New York, NY

Dr. Matthew KNorton is a Chiropractor practicing in New York, NY. Dr. KNorton specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating conditions associated with the neuromusculoskeletal system, while improving each patients functionality and quality of life. Conditions treated include sciatica, neck pain, and arthritis pain,... more

You’ve probably heard by now about the existence of medical marijuana therapy for pain. Maybe the first association when you think of cannabis is not actually medicine. But medical marijuana is a proven method in treating and relieving chronic pain and many other diseases.  

However, what is the difference between treatment and recreational use? Is rolling a joint enough to solve your problems with health? Let’s observe the difference because there is one and it’s pretty big.

When Did Humanity Discover the Value of Medical Cannabis?

In the 1990s, marijuana farmers were constantly experimenting with different sorts of marijuana to achieve better psychoactive qualities which depend on the level of THC. Their other aim was to improve organoleptic abilities of cannabis such as its smell, flavor, and even looks.

In the 2000s, medical properties of marijuana’s component called cannabidiol (CBD) were discovered. This was the time of the beginning of cannabis’s selection due to its medical effects. Since then, there is a strict difference between recreational and medical types of cannabis.

Marijuana for recreational use has distinct psychoactive properties. They are excellent in changing your perceptions and state of mind. But can hardly be helpful as for something more than relaxation. Medicinal marijuana has therapeutic abilities proven by scientific research.

What Makes These Two Types of Cannabis Different?

It all boils down to the level of CBD. Medical marijuana contains more CBD. Of course, recreational marijuana also has it, but the amount is much lower– about 1-2%. When we compare it to the medicinal type which has 8% of CBD, the difference becomes obvious.

And what about THC? It’s quite the opposite here – medicinal marijuana contains very small amounts of it. There are some with higher levels of THC but their appointment depends on the individual patient’s issues.

For example, low-THC medical marijuana is used successfully for the treatment of epilepsy and inflammation. Sometimes, the patient doesn’t need a changed state of mind – for example when it’s an elderly person. In such cases, more CBD and less THC is preferred.

What about the kinds that are rich in both components? They are helpful if a patient has problems with sleep or mental disorders like depression or frustration.

Both sorts undergo a certain control but in the case with medicinal type, it is much more strict and precise. The medical type must be grown, dried, and packed with keeping all the necessary sanitary standards and undergo special testing to be sure it doesn’t contain pesticides.

Can You Prescribe Medical Marijuana to Yourself, If You Know the Amount of THC and CBD?

No. Only your doctor can prescribe you medical marijuana treatment therapy. Even if you are aware of the components, multiple individual issues are important in the appointment of medical cannabis, and only your doctor knows how it will work in your individual case.