Did you know that California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. And, did you also know that it is one of the first states in the United States to approve recreational use of cannabis in 2016.
So, the first and obvious difference between the medical cannabis and recreational marijuana is that they were legalized 20 years apart from each other and they are regulated by different acts. Medical marijuana was legalized under the Compassionate Use Act aka Proposition 215. And, recreational cannabis is regulated by The Adult Use of Marijuana Act aka Proposition 64. So, this is a sign that most of the differences in consumption are a result of the differences in the laws controlling them.
Here are some of the differences :
Medical Cannabis Helpful for
Although there is still controversy about cannabis amongst different social circles, it has proven to be a gem in the medical industry. Different researches and trials have proven how it can be of effect in treating and managing some medical conditions. Here is a list of some the conditions managed by cannabis in California:
- Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
- Chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Multiple sclerosis
- Seizures (for example, epileptic seizures)
According to DCC (Department of Cannabis Control), your cannabis doctor can also recommend cannabis to manage any other chronic condition that’s either:
- Limiting your livelihood
- May cause problems to your safety, physical health or mental health
Medical Marijuana in California
To access medical cannabis in California, you need to have a state issued medical marijuana card. However, in California you can access cannabis without a card using a medical recommendation from a California Marijuana Doctor . Getting the recommendation is easier than what some people think. With the introduction of telemedicine, you can now talk to a physician online using trusted clinics like California Marijuana Doctor. If the doctor finds your medical condition eligible for you to use marijuana, the doctor will give you a recommendation.
However, it is safer to get a state issued medical marijuana card. And, once you get a recommendation you are halfway to getting a card. All you have to do is to apply for it from your city or county health department.
Unlike medical cannabis, recreational cannabis is taken mostly for fun. You do not need a medical recommendation or MMJ card to take recreational weed. And, you also do not need to be suffering from any medical condition to take it.
Different people take recreational weed for different purposes. Here are some of the reasons why someone can take recreational marijuana:
- For relaxation. Some strains of cannabis are known for their relaxation effects. So, after a long stressful day, someone may want to take cannabis to relax their muscles.
- For sleep. Some strains can do more than just relaxing your body muscles. They can help you to sleep.
- To keep oneself awake. Maybe you want to study for a major exam or you want to finish a work project. Some strains of cannabis can make your body very active.
- Cannabis can also help you to boost your appetite.
There are many reasons why someone can smoke recreational cannabis. Worst case, someone may rely on recreational marijuana because they were unable to get a medical marijuana card or a recommendation.
Dispensary and Retail Shop
One of the perks of having a medical marijuana card is that you get access to a dispensary. Dispensaries have a variety of cannabis flowers in terms of strains and potencies. And, dispensaries usually have knowledgeable agents who can help you in many ways.
Unfortunately, retail shops are not that resourceful. And the pricing of the cannabis products may be different for them. Medical cannabis patients are usually excluded from certain sales taxes. In addition, in case of any cannabis shortages, medical users are usually first preference. This means that the chances of dispensaries running out of cannabis products is very slim.
According to the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, you should be 21 years and above to be able to access recreational cannabis. Whereas you have to be 18 to be able to get a MMJ card. However, you can still access medical marijuana even if you are less than 18 years old but you will need a caregiver.
A caregiver is someone who takes care of medical cannabis patients who cannot take care of their medicine because they are minors, physically disable or too old to do that. Caregivers for minors are supposed to be chosen by the parent or the legal guardian of the patient. You have to be 21 years and above to be a caregiver.
Recreational users are not allowed to possess more than 28.5 grams of cannabis ( dried flowers) or 8 grams of cannabis concentrates. In addition, you are only allowed to grow six living plants of marijuana for personal use. Possession of more than that amount may lead to heavy fines or time in jail ( about $500 fine or 6 months in jail).
For medical users, according to Proposition 215, a patient is allowed to possess any amount that is necessary for their personal use. But, you have to make sure the amount is reasonable. And, medical users can grow more than 6 cannabis plants provided they have a recommendation from a doctor or physician indicating that they need more.
The laws surrounding adult use of cannabis in California are a bit stricter than those for medical use. And, medical marijuana patients seem to have more benefits than recreational users. That is why it is advisable for any cannabis patient to look for a CA medical marijuana card.