Medical Cannabis or Recreational Marijuana – Which one is right for you?
Roughly 4.7 million Canadians have been using marijuana for both recreation and for medical reasons. Everyone comes to this decision differently and with different expectations. With Canada’s recent legalization it seems like the right time. Do you hop in the car and hit the dispensary? Do you know what kind of marijuana is right for you? Do you know how you want to feel? Do you have health issues that will influence your decision? There are so many things to consider. Among them is weighing the differences between medical cannabis and recreational marijuana. This post explores the benefits and drawbacks of both.
Medical marijuana is grown in a more controlled environment than traditional recreational marijuana. Licensed producers in Canada produce under specific regulations that guarantee the cleanliness of equipment and production premises. The product quality is further ensured by regular testing for contaminants to both fresh and dried marijuana and cannabis oil. Simply put – the marijuana therapy you choose will have the desired quality.
While recreational marijuana still offers therapeutic benefits, you may not be getting the best product available. Recreational growers who are not licensed are not governed by any sanitation guidelines and cannot guarantee equivalent quality. Furthermore, the use of pesticides and numerous other chemicals may be used to promote various components from seed to harvest.
Medical marijuana LP’s must also have a quality assurance staff member on site. The quality assurance representative is trained and highly specialized to approve the quality of marijuana seeds and plants, as well as cannabis oil.
I like knowing what’s in my weed. You?
THC CBD Strains & Terpenes
The ratios and combinations of THC and CBD, when combined with a variety of strains and terpenes, are almost endless. Which is great news! You can explore the health benefits that each variant boasts. Medical marijuana is firmly regulated and tested to ensure that the ratios of CBD and THC are correct. If you are exploring new strains to find your ideal medical cannabis treatment, then you’ll need to track your progress as well. If you’re working with a medical practitioner, then follow-up consultations and feedback are essential to your experience.
Recreational marijuana is typically THC heavy which is great if you want a euphoric or “high” sensation but if you are opting for the proven medicinal benefits of cannabis then you’ll need medical grade marijuana. Medical cannabis with high CBD content offers relief for individuals who have suffered through debilitating illnesses.
A few of the more impressive health benefits of CBD oil include:
- Analgesic (pain reliever)
- Reduces anxiety
- Anti-seizure properties
- Sleep disorders
But this is not a complete list. The health benefits of cannabinoids are so substantial that research exploring future treatment applications for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases is well underway. Medical cannabis is proving to be a source of hope for patients who have exhausted traditional forms of treatment or who suffer from diseases that don’t have known treatment options.
Medical cannabis obtained through prescriptions qualify as an eligible medical expense for Canadians. When you purchase cannabis from a licensed producer you can claim your expenditures at tax time. The Canada Revenue Agency confirmed this back in 2015 but it is a little known fact that should be widely understood by all Canadians. You would have difficulty claiming your expenditures for recreational marijuana because the CRA qualifies the deduction as a health related expense. A recreational marijuana producer or distributor cannot give you medical documentation to prove your tax deduction. When you have a prescription or card for medical marijuana your medication purchases are tax deductible.
Medical marijuana from a licensed producer must be sold in tamper-evident and child-resistant containers. Furthermore, labeling and medical documentation accompany the medical cannabis to final delivery. This helps online canna clinic patients understand dosage and ensures that they are administering the medication appropriately.
Licensed producers are also required to have security on-site protecting staff, crop, and facilities. When your medical marijuana prescription is processed – it is completed under surveillance ensuring all safety protocols are met.
Recreational marijuana growers who are not licensed do not operate under safety protocols enforced by the Canadian Government. Ideally, Canadians would be able to trust all marijuana growers but unfortunately, there are still producers who operate in a grey market and your money could be going towards organized crime. Medical cannabis is not only safer for you to consume but it also ensures the safety of the people who work in the industry.
If you are a medical cannabis patient, you can travel within Canada carrying more of your prescribed marijuana than a recreational user. The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) outlines that a medical marijuana patient can carry up to 30 times your daily limit to a maximum of 150g. While a recreational marijuana user may only travel with a maximum of 30g. Your liquids must still be limited to 100ml to stay within security requirements. Remember to pack your medical marijuana and your marijuana prescription, any corresponding medical documents and or your cannabis card in your carry-on luggage – as you would with any of their prescription medication. Happy trails for medical cannabis patients!
Access & Availability
Despite recent legalization in Canada and the undeniable science proving the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana, for many people there remains a stigma surrounding its use. Due to the prohibitive history surrounding cannabis, it can be a controversial topic. There are organizations fighting for causes like amnesty, human rights, insurance coverage, compassion pricing, and the list goes on. In fact – whether you live in B.C., Alberta or anywhere to P.E.I., there is most likely a Cannabis Club somewhere nearby. These groups work hard to expose myths surrounding marijuana use and educate Canadians. Until marijuana use is acceptable and applauded by the majority of our citizens some need a safe and discreet way to pursue cannabis therapy.
Recreational marijuana is available at dispensaries. Unfortunately, this means you will need to physically go to a location near you to procure your marijuana. If you want to keep your marijuana use private, then this could be problematic. Alternatively, a medical marijuana authorization allows you to deal directly with licensed producers to have your marijuana medication shipped directly to you in a plain package. Furthermore, if you suffer from mobility issues like many veterans or your anxiety keeps you close to home, then having your medical marijuana prescribed and ordered online is the difference between feeling better or not.
There are benefits to both recreational and medical marijuana. However, in today’s economic and social climate it appears that medical marijuana is a safer, more accessible and reliable choice. Not only is your journey to wellness supported by your practitioner but you will gain a better understanding of what works best for you. The follow up offered by medical marijuana specialized practitioners is unmatched industry wide. Whether you choose recreational marijuana or medical cannabis, it’s important that you make an informed decision.
UPDATE: Supply & Demand Amidst Legalization
Being registered with the medical program allows you to order your marijuana directly from the producer. Essentially this removes unnecessary delays with Government recreational protocols. Licensed producers will ship the medical cannabis directly to patients across Canada. Less time in transit and fewer delays result in better prices and fresher product for medical marijuana patients. You’ll also be interested to know that the Government taxes recreational marijuana at a higher rate than medical marijuana.
You may have noticed that a large majority of the dispensaries in your city remain closed despite legalization across Canada on October 17, 2018. This is due to several factors but primarily demand. Supply shortages in the first two weeks of legalization were widespread and are expected to continue (If not worse) for the first 12 months. Licensed producers are more likely to retain their better products that they can command a higher dollar for and sell those directly to their customer at retail prices instead of selling them at wholesale to the government. With better margins servicing consumers directly, we predict that most LPs will reserve their higher-end products for their “buy direct” medical patients. Greenhouse and other substandard product will be submitted to Government resellers to stock their recreational websites.