Differences Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis - Sweedsy Differences Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis - Sweedsy
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Differences Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis


Before 2012, cannabis was available in certain states only to those with qualifying medical conditions. Colorado and Washington changed the game by becoming the first states to legalize recreational cannabis. Today, recreational marijuana begins to be available to general public. Therefore, many have a question: what’s the difference between medical and recreational cannabis?

Shopping experience

Medical and recreational shops offer similar experiences. Medical marijuana patients have to present their ID and a valid medical cannabis card. Some medical dispensaries provide a waiting room where patients have a private appointment to ensure privacy and discuss personal needs with a budtender.

Recreational stores are not permitted to provide medical advice to customers. However, you can still shop at them with a medical marijuana card. Some shops are “dual-licensed” which means they can serve needs of both types of customers.

If you’re a medical marijuana patient and have some particular questions, medical dispensaries and dual-licensed shops are your best option. Budtenders there are trained in assessing and finding a right product for specific medical needs, so it pays back to find a dispensary with trained professionals where you feel comfortable to discuss your health condition and ask questions regarding different products.

Product selection in medical dispensaries and recreational shops tends to be very similar. You will quickly find edibles, tinctures, strains, and concentrates.


Medical patients, however, may have access to certain perks not available for recreational customers:

  • Lower costs and tax breaks
  • Products with higher THC potency
  • Higher quantity restrictions
  • Legal access for minors with certain medical conditions
  • Medical patients can grow cannabis at home (in certain states).


A greater percentage of Americans support medical cannabis. It’s not the case with recreational adult use, but there are some changes as well. Some healthy adults may benefit from marijuana for relieving daily stress and anxiety, and a growing number of people discover that. It may drive cannabis legalization further, and stigma around recreational cannabis will gradually disappear.

(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)


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