So you’ve decided to try weed, or marijuana, as an alternative method to combat your pain and discomfort from certain conditions. Regardless of which terminology you use: weed, marijuana, medicinal marijuana, cannabis, or recreational tree, to name a few. It all boils down to two things: it’s either going to be recreational or medicinal. 

But what’s the difference between the two? Is there even a difference at all? Yes, there absolutely is, and many people struggle to comprehend the differences between the two. That’s why Transformative Health has put together some information on deciphering the difference between medical and recreational marijuana. Let’s talk. 

Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

Although they’re both extracted from the same amazing plant, recreational and medicinal cannabis are far different than you would think, as far as product options, legalities, and yes, you’re buying experience. However, the most noteworthy difference is your bottom line, meaning what caused you to settle on cannabis.

Medicinal Cannabis

People who decide to opt for medical marijuana normally do so for its therapeutic properties in reference to certain medical conditions. The lack of uncomfortable and worrying side effects also play a role in deciding to try medical marijuana. Additionally, in order to purchase medicinal marijuana, you will need a state-issued medical marijuana card issued by a participating physician that you can then present at any state-licensed dispensary in your area. 

Recreational Marijuana — Quite the Difference

When you hear someone talking about recreational marijuana, they’re referring to weed that you consume for recreational reasons, not medicinal ones. Simply put: 

  • Medical cannabis is intended for medical patients diagnosed with a qualifying condition and possesses a marijuana card. 
  • Recreational cannabis is intended for adults 21 and older and serves as just what it says, personal recreational use to induce a head high. 

Many Options

A dispensary will have a plethora of options — as far as strains — to choose from depending on your individual condition, unlike recreational use marijuana where you pretty much get what they have.

Oftentimes, medical marijuana cardholders will have access to a larger array of dispensary items due to their medicinal value. This is because those with certain medical conditions may require more potent products and different consumption methods. 

In A Legal Sense

Legally wise, medical vs. recreational marijuana can be greatly different depending on your state laws. Additionally, it’s equally essential to acknowledge that, federally, marijuana is illegal in all forms except for hemp.

However, numerous states have undertaken steps to legalize cannabis. Also, one of the most noteworthy differences between medical and recreational marijuana seems to be; what amount is considered legal in terms of at-home cultivation and possession limits laws. 

This is due to states recognizing that medical marijuana patients often need more cannabis than the recreational customer, attributable to the severity of their medical condition. You will need to possess a medical marijuana card. 

On The Experience

Finally, the experience of a medical marijuana patient compared to the recreational customer is entirely different. 

At the dispensary, recreational consumers can show their state-issued ID and skip the waiting room, whereas medical patients will need to show their MMJ card and work with a budtender, as MMJ cardholders often receive priority treatment at dispensaries. 

Which is Best for Me?

The difference between medical marijuana and recreational is too debatable to compare directly. If you use cannabis to control your symptoms, you should opt for medical marijuana. On the other hand, if cannabis is something that you enjoy doing in your leisure time to enhance relaxation and euphoria, stick with recreational marijuana. 


Once you’ve figured out your needs and decided that medical marijuana may be worth a try, or you would like to learn more about medical cannabis or alternative healthcare, schedule your appointment with Transformative Health today. We can provide you with the answers you need, and we look forward to working with you.

Transformative Health provides a holistic stance on health care in a way that relates to your physical, mental, and spiritual health.