(888) 908-0143
English Spanish

What are the Differences Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana Usage?

By Dr. Rohan Patankar

What are the Differences Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana Usage?

Since 2015, medical marijuana has been legal in Texas, while recreational marijuana remains illegal. Now there is a list of medical conditions that can qualify individuals to receive a medical marijuana license.

With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical usage, it has many wonders about the difference between medical and recreational marijuana. Some might be especially nervous since, for many years, marijuana has been socially construed as being an illicit substance.

The aim of this article is to clear up some of the confusion. This article will get into the different ways marijuana affects the brain and body, medical uses of marijuana throughout history, and the differences between medical and recreational weed.

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain and Body?

The marijuana plant itself is composed of over 100 different chemicals called cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid reacts with the body a little bit differently. However, two of these cannabinoids are more well-known than the others: THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Cannabinoids look a lot like certain chemicals that your body is already producing, and those chemicals regulate appetite, memory, movement, and pain. For that reason, researchers have believed that cannabinoids can function as a sort of supplement to those processes.

To date, the most peer-reviewed evidence for the use of medical marijuana is around its ability to reduce chronic pain, nausea, vomiting and spasticity.

Medical Usage Throughout History

Marijuana is a naturally occurring plant that has lived on this plant for as long as any other natural animal, mineral, or vegetable species.

For this reason, civilizations and individuals have had different practices involving the marijuana plant for centuries.

The first records of medical marijuana usage occurred in China in 2737 BC. Records indicate that Emperor Shennong, a pharmacologist, wrote a book of medical treatments, including marijuana as a treatment for absent-mindedness, rheumatism, constipation, and gout.

As far back as the 2nd century, ancient Egyptians recorded using cannabis to treat cancer. Ancient Greeks would dress the wounds of people and animals with cannabis to reduce inflammation. From there, medical marijuana usage spread to the Arabic countries and onto India.

In the mid-1800s, an Irish doctor uncovered medicinal marijuana in India and brought it back to England for treatment of certain conditions. Once the plant reached England, it spread throughout Europe and later to North America.

Within the United States, cannabis was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) as an acceptable medicine from 1851 to 1941, but synthetic medicines soon replaced it. A Marihuana Tax act was passed in 1937, and people began to forget about its medicinal uses, and it dropped off of the USP.

Recreational Usage

Recreational usage began to increase in the 30s, and by the 50s, possession became a punishable offense. It was not until the 2000s that marijuana began to be decriminalized and eventually legalized in some states.

Recreational use of marijuana (or any substance) is more geared toward achieving the “high” state of being rather than a relief from pain. Any person’s motivation for seeking the high will differ, but the end result is the same.

How Medical Marijuana Differs from Recreational Marijuana

THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana, so when there is a higher THC content in the marijuana, it can produce more of this “high” sensation. By comparison, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, which is why medical marijuana has a higher CBD content so that it does not affect users in the same way, while it does provide pain relief and a calming effect.

In Texas, medical marijuana requires a doctor’s prescription for those who qualify, whereas recreational marijuana is still illegal for anyone. In Texas, medical marijuana can be purchased from dispensaries.

If you are considering using medical cannabis in Texas, contact DocMJ to find out if you qualify.