As the laws surrounding cannabis change across North America, you may be wondering what the differences between medical marijuana and regular marijuana might be. The blunt truth is that there really isn't any difference between the two, as all marijuana (medical and recreational) comes from plants, naturally grown under the care of gardeners, and not manufactured in a lab.



The main difference between cannabis flowers you find in medical marijuana dispensaries and those you find on the street is the knowledge behind each strain's genetics and cannabinoid profile. Licensed dispensaries usually offer lab-tested results on their wide variety of cannabis strains, whereas marijuana you buy from back-alley dealers is typically a choice between just a few strains with usually little more than a guess about what variety of weed you're getting. For your convenience, we touch on the other differences between medical marijuana and regular marijuana here.


1. One of the main differences between medical marijuana and regular marijuana is your personal intent on using it. If you're consuming cannabis for recreational purposes, you may not care which strain you end up with, or you'll seek out cannabis strains with high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. If you're using marijuana for medical purposes, however, you'll want to know which strains are best for treating your specific symptoms.

2. The tax rates on medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are also different, and they are subject to the rules of each state. The tax rates may also differ at the city and county level.

3. Medical marijuana is usually listed as grown organically and under strict care, and while you may get the same knowledge on how the recreational marijuana is grown in dispensaries, there's little chance you'll know how cannabis you buy off the streets is grown.

4. Legal purchase limits for medical marijuana are different than for regular, recreational marijuana. These purchase limits also vary from state to state.

5. Medical marijuana dispensaries are different than licensed dispensaries that sell cannabis as a recreational item in states where it's legal. Medical marijuana dispensaries have strict rules about who can buy cannabis from their establishment, whereas anyone of age with a valid ID can buy recreational cannabis.