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What’s the Difference Between Recreational and Medical Marijuana in Ohio?

What’s the difference between recreational and medical marijuana?

If you’ve been considering getting a medical marijuana recommendation from a physician in Ohio, you’ve likely been wondering about the difference between medical and recreational marijuana. With more states legalizing the use of medical and recreational marijuana, there’s never been a better time to find out more. You might be feeling a little apprehensive as, like most people, you associate the word “marijuana” with illicit activities. However, there is a great wealth of evidence to show that cannabis can help in a variety of chronic medical conditions.

Defining Medical Marijuana

When we talk about marijuana from a medical aspect, we’re looking at each separate compound from the cannabis plant and how they correlate to alleviating specific symptoms. The compounds found in the cannabis plant are referred to as cannabinoids. Each cannabinoid interacts with its’ own brain receptor, thus creating different effects within the body. Medical marijuana focuses on the primary cannabinoids that promote symptom relief associated with specific medical conditions. The core cannabinoid in medical marijuana products is Cannabidiol, also known as CBD. CBD targets receptors in the brain such as the Vanilloid, Serotonin, and Nuclear receptors. When these receptors are activated by CBD, we can find the alleviation of symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, pain and inflammation. (1) For medical marijuana patients actively seeking this compound, most dispensaries carry what are known as marijuana strains that are high in CBD. These strains have been specifically bred for conditions such as PTSD, Anxiety, Multiple Sclerosis and other pain disorders, as well as Epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Some common strains that are high inn CBD are: ACDC, Remedy, Harlequin, and Sour Tsunami. You can speak with your local dispensary with what strains they carry that are high in CBD. Strains that are high in CBD generally have little to no psychotropic effects on the brain, meaning that you can receive the healing benefits without the feeling of being medicated, or “high.”

What Is Recreational Marijuana?

Recreational marijuana is generally geared towards strains that carry the Tetrahydrocannabinol
cannabinoid, known as THC. THC is the compound in marijuana that produces the “high” effect due to it
being a psychoactive compound in the brain. THC targets two main receptors in the brain, known as
CB1R and CB2R. Both of these receptors are actually known as cannabidiol receptors within our
Endocannabinoid System. When these receptors are activated by THC, symptoms such as insomnia,
nausea, pain and inflammation can be relieved. While THC carries many medicinal benefits, those who
use marijuana recreationally are after the psychoactive effects more so than the medical benefits.

Recreational vs. Medical Marijuana in Ohio

Most states only allow the use of medical marijuana, such as in Ohio. The benefit of being a medical
marijuana patient in Ohio is that if you have a recommendation for a qualifying condition, you can
purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary. The current qualifying conditions in the state of Ohio are as follows:

  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Positive status for HIV
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Tourette’s syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis.

Along with the list of current medical conditions accepted in the state of Ohio, the list should continue
to grow as other conditions are submitted for reviewal. Medical marijuana patients in Ohio will also
have access to products in the form of plant materials (flower), tinctures, oils, edibles and patches.

Why Choose Medical over Recreational?

Recreational users are limited to living in the select few states that allow recreational use, and there are
restrictions that come with being a recreational user such as you must be over the age of 21 to purchase
from a dispensary. Recreational users will also pay higher in taxes towards products and have limitations
on how much marijuana they can purchase at a time. Some states set restrictions on the amount of THC
and CBD that is in marijuana, whereas medicinal use allows for higher quantities to be purchased. Here
are just a few reasons why medical marijuana is preferred over recreational:

  • Most states only allow medical marijuana use

Unless you live in one of the handful of states that has legalized recreational marijuana, consuming marijuana recreationally is illegal.

  • No age restriction for purchasing products

Unlike recreational age limits, medical marijuana patients only need to be 18 years of age or older. Those under 18 require parental consent to see a qualified MMJ Doctor.

  • Variety in CBD products

Since medical dispensaries focus on the healing properties of CBD, there are often more products to choose from that don’t contain high amounts of THC.

  • Higher allowance on purchasing products

While recreational states generally limit the amount that can be purchased, medical patients and their doctors discuss the amount needed for symptom relief.

  • Costs usually don’t include taxes

Medical marijuana prices do not usually include the cost of taxes. Recreational states can charge as high at 15% tax on top of the cost of products.

  • Products usually contain higher amounts of CBD

Since recreational users prefer more THC than CBD, medical products provide a range in low and high CBD products.

  • Legal to consume products in state approved areas

Some states allow patients to consume products at work or school, while recreational users are restricted to only being able to consume inside their homes.

  • Delivery and discount programs offered through medical dispensaries

Medical dispensaries understand that this is medication, some work hard on discount programs and offer free or inexpensive delivery.

Most Importantly
As a medical marijuana patient, you also have the benefit of having a physician that is qualified to recommend marijuana. This means that you can openly discuss your conditions, symptoms, marijuana consumption and products with your doctor without the fear of being criticized or judged. Your medical marijuana physician should be able to identify which products could benefit you and monitor your progress on medical marijuana. As a patient, you have the chance to provide honest feedback to your doctor that reinforces your states decision to legalize medical marijuana and potentially expand on their laws to help others become patients as well. For more information on becoming a medical marijuana patient in Ohio, speak with one of our Patient Care Coordinators today!

References
1. https://www.projectcbd.org/science/how-cbd-works