Article by Doctor Frank, Civilized
A lot of people nowadays are wondering, ‘Is medical marijuana different from recreational marijuana?’
I’d like to answer that with a simple and definitive ‘no.’ All marijuana has medicinal value. Even if you are using it ‘recreationally,’ you are still getting the benefits of consuming non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD.
However, this question is a bit messier than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Here are three issues that make medical marijuana distinct from cannabis grown for the current ‘recreational’ market.
Even though cannabis doesn’t know whether or not it is being used for medical or recreational purposes, the law says that there is a distinction between the two. In some ways, this makes sense. After all, isn’t a person using cannabis to alleviate the symptoms and effects of cancer or epilepsy different from a person using cannabis purely for the psychoactive effects?
While there’s some merit to this argument, I would like to refer you to the argument in the introduction of this post: all cannabis consumption has some medicinal value. Moreover, I feel that splitting the market in this way is arbitrary, and will only lead to both messy policy and messy taxes. Saying one cannabinoid is more medical than another overlooks the ‘Entourage Effect’ — that cannabinoids work in tandem with one another to do their job more effectively.
A two-tier tax system for cannabis can also create a sort of perverse incentive for people to get a medical marijuana card, which weakens the case for those who are in genuine need for medical marijuana, thereby playing into Big Pharma’s hands.
The two-tier system also makes scientific research a bit more difficult as labelling one set of strains ‘medical’ and another set ‘recreational’ means that certain gene pools are neglected and even prevented from being studied properly. Should the government start saying “Charlotte’s Web is medicine, but Master Kush is recreational,” researchers and breeders will take note and focus mostly on one group of genetics, even if they understand that the actual difference between the two is arbitrary.
2. Growing Conditions
Medical marijuana is often grown in more controlled conditions, as a more consistent product is necessary. There will also likely be more oversight concerning the pesticides, feeds, hormones and conditions used to grow cannabis. Environments will have to be spotless in order to decrease the risk of mould, bacteria and other pathogens.
Whether similar regulations will be applied to ‘recreational’ marijuana remains to be seen.