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  • Medicinal Versus Recreational Marijuana Use: What’s the difference?.

    Blog by Fauzia Fayaz:

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    Marijuana, also known as cannabis or weed, is a plant that is primarily used for its psychoactive effects. It can be consumed in various forms such as smoking, vaporizing, as an edible, tincture, or oil.

    Marijuana has a range of medicinal and recreational uses.

    Medicinal marijuana refers to the use of cannabis as a treatment for specific medical conditions and symptoms. It is typically prescribed by a doctor and used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. In states where medicinal marijuana is legal, patients with certain medical conditions are able to obtain a prescription and purchase the drug at a dispensary.

    Recreational marijuana refers to the use of cannabis for non-medicinal purposes, such as achieving a euphoric state or “high.” It is typically used for personal enjoyment and is not prescribed by a healthcare professional. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, adults over the age of 21 are able to purchase and consume it. The primary psychoactive compound in recreational marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the “high” associated with its use.

    The primary difference between medicinal and recreational marijuana is the ratio of THC to cannabidiol (CBD). Medicinal marijuana typically has a higher CBD content and less THC, while recreational marijuana has a higher THC content. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. It is commonly used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. In contrast, marijuana is primarily psychoactive due to THC.

    Recreational marijuana use can cause a variety of short-term side effects, including:

    • Increased appetite (commonly referred to as “the munchies”)

    • Dry mouth

    • Bloodshot eyes

    • Impaired memory and concentration

    • Slowed reaction time

    • Increased heart rate

    • Anxiety or paranoia, especially in high doses or in those who are susceptible to these conditions

    • Dizziness or lightheadedness

    • Increased risk of respiratory problems if smoked

    Long-term marijuana use can also lead to more serious health problems, such as:

    • Chronic bronchitis and lung infections

    • Increased risk of mental health problems, such as depression and psychosis

    • Reduced cognitive function and IQ, particularly in heavy users and those who began using marijuana at a young age

    • Reduced motivation and ambition

    • Increased risk of addiction, with approximately 9% of users becoming addicted to marijuana

    Therefore, while marijuana may have some potential therapeutic benefits, it is not without risks and it is important to use it responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. 


    Are medical marijuana users different from recreational users? The view from primary care—Roy‐Byrne—2015—The American Journal on Addictions—Wiley Online Library. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2023, from

    Duarte, R. A., Dahmer, S., Sanguinetti, S. Y., Forde, G., Duarte, D. P., & Kobak, L. F. (2021). Medical Cannabis for Headache Pain: A Primer for Clinicians. Current Pain and Headache Reports25(10), 64.

    The Key Differences Between Medical & Recreational Weed—GoodRx. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2023, from

    Urits, I., Gress, K., Charipova, K., Li, N., Berger, A. A., Cornett, E. M., Hasoon, J., Kassem, H., Kaye, A. D., & Viswanath, O. (2020). Cannabis Use and its Association with Psychological Disorders. Psychopharmacology Bulletin50(2), 56–67.

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