The Difference Between Recreational and Medicinal Marijuana Use

medical pot

There are various conflicts going on right now in state legislatures, shifting public opinion and the authority of the federal government in the prohibition of marijuana. The DEA has it scheduled as a class 1 narcotic like heroin, though most users, past users and even some non-users, along with medical professionals would tell you they don’t really belong in the same league. Weed is like Aspirin compared to even alcohol or certainly heroin. Though it does have some negative aspects, no question, depending on how it is consumed (smoking versus vaping or eating, use by those with allergens, those with mental illnesses, etc.). There are always aspects of any drug or substance that has potential side effects or risks associated with it.
Medical marijuana legislation that directly opposed the DEA began in California, however the Drug Policy Alliance looked at states like New Mexico in advocating for sensible drug laws regarding marijuana, even decriminalizing it for those that were using it recreationally. Two states then passed recreational laws, Colorado then Washington. DC followed. Oregon also passed law. Minnesota, Michigan, Massachusetts and several other states have passed medical bills and several other states are proposing such.

So what’s the difference legally?
Legally speaking? We are not attorneys or experts in the law, but the conflict within the existing laws doesn’t make matters easier. The White House has worked with the US Justice Department to gradually shift priority away from small time drug offenses and has urged states to follow suit. Still many police union rank-and-files would like to see the drug laws continue to be enforced. Politically, this makes matters difficult for politicians who are lobbied and often meet with law enforcement members. However, more public awareness and shifting opinion means that, politically, it may get easier to decriminalize or even pass less harsh sentences for pot smokers. Eric Holder, top man at the Department of Justice shifted priority in sentencing to high level offendors.

Recreational smoking or ingesting just to get high may still be prohibited altogether in your state, depending on where you live. That may or may not (more likely it may) change in the near or distant future. Its future is uncertain, but the shift appears to be less in favor of outright prohibition. Dispensaries, both medical and recreational, deal with this uncertainty on a regular basis.

What is the difference generally?
Marijuana smoking for recreational purposes is the basic act of using it in order to get high, to explore the psychoactive effects on one’s mind and body. Some users react differently to marijuana and become slightly paranoid due to an increase in anxiety. These effects are minor compared with the severe delusions that meth users often experience from drug use. The feeling marijuana users associate with this effect is called euphoria. THC is the active ingredient. Marijuana begins working on the neurons in your brain and mimicking synaptic connections that produce blissful feelings. Then the user becomes drowsy in most cases, has fragmented thoughts and so on.

Medical weed, on the other hand, is known to be used with cancer patients to alleviate pain and prompt hunger for those too sick to eat. It also has been recommended for epilepsy patients as well. It is typically sold at dispensaries or collectives that are state regulated for such purposes but still federally illegal technically in the US. Prescriptions are sold to members that use a special patient ID card typically.