Recreational Marijuana vs. Medical Marijuana

Posted By on Jul 17, 2015

An outline of the differences between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana, specifically to Denver, CO

Check out Jane Dro’s excellent comparisson of medicinal marijuana and
recreational marijuana:

Many questions regarding the difference between medicinal a.k.a medical marijuana and recreational cannabis have come to fruition with the passing of ammendment 64, which allowed for the recreational use and dirstibution of marijuana in all forms. What this effectively means is that marijuana is now fully legalized in the state of Colorado. Among other forms, pot can be sold as a bud, a concentrate, an edible and liquid. Though that’s what gets the spotlight there are a huge range of ancillary services that accompany this industry such as private smoking clubs/events, lodging, cultivation, technological solutions, laboratory services and financial workarounds (banking is a difficult grey area which is currently being tackled).

So, is there really a difference between the longer established medicinal cannabis and it’s younger recreational counterpart? Well… it depends what segment of the industry one focuses on, let’s explore further.

If you ask any marijuana connoiseur, who to many people’s surprise do not all look like a “junkie,” “hippie” or “stoner,” they’ll tell you that the marijuana plant itself is physically the same. Yes, whether you smoke weed in leisure or for medical reasons, the birth mother is one.

However, there are differences when it come to medicinal and recreational marijuana. This article will mainly focus on the product but research further to find out the differences in the laws, cultivation (recreational marijuana stores are usually short on supply whilst medicinal cannabis dispensaries are bountiful due to a difference in regulation. The bud differences are as follows:

If we are to focus on the end product itself and what the user typically requires and/or wants to experience, it can vary.

There are two main types of the cannabis plant, one is called the sativa and the other indica. The sativa has a higher ratio of THC:CBD whilst the indica contains a higher ratio of CBD:THC, and although there are over 400 chemicals in cannabis, these two compounds are the main indicators as to what experience and benefits a consumer will receive.


Anytime you visit a cannabis coffeeshop in Amsterdam or a weed dispensary, such as in Denver, you will be asked about your preference. If you haven’t go a clue, don’t worry, the staff are highly helpful.

Here’s a quick scenario to illustrate the questions a bud tender may ask:

Bud tender: “Sir/Madam, do you prefer a sativa or indica?”

Sir/Madam: “Why, em.. emm… ?!”

Bud tender: We’ve got you covered. Is this your first time at a Denver marijuana dispensary? How would you like to feel after consuming the cannabis? “Have you ever smoked before?  How long have you smoked for? When was the last time you smoked marijuana?

Medical marijuana users with ailments such as chronic pain, codexia, cancer and anxiety typically require the more CBD rich cannabis (The Indica). Indicas are very effective for overall pain relief, insomnia, spasms, migraines and axiety. It is usually dubbed the “night time bud” as it produces a pleasant heavy body effect and sleepiness. Let’s just say with a hit of this you won’t be leaving the couch any time soon. On the other hand, the THC rich sativa can aid with depression, axiety and due to it’s hunger stimulating effects, dietary problems such as anorexia.

When it comes to the recreational use of marijuana it’s down to personal preference and sometimes time of day. The C. sativa species is usually consumed in the day time as the high is more cerebal and users are not “couch-locked,” such as is with the anethesialgic effects of the C. indica species. However, with the exponential advance of cannabis genetics in the last 30 years, there is a wide variety of choice. Due to the manipulation and creation of new strains, weed can now contain a much larger THC:CBD ratio & vice versa. Hybrid strains can also offer a nice balance between the effects.

For more detailed information on the ins and outs of cannabis visit this dedicated cannabis page on wikipedia

Click the following link to play a fun quiz called “Which Weed Do You Need?” over at


Photo credit: High Times Magazine

Read more What to do in Denver.  Get your Dever cannabis cup tickets


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