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What is the difference between Medical and Recreational Marijuana?

Recreational marijuana can be compared to recreational consumption of alcohol. Many people like to use marijuana at the end of the day to take the edge off, the way one would with a beer or glass of wine. Or they might get high casually with friends or at a party because it feels good and it’s generally a low impact experience.

Medical Marijuana is used to counteract specific symptoms such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, or symptoms related to neurological diseases like Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis. A recreational user might get the munchies whereas a cancer patient may trigger a previously non-existent appetite- saving them from wasting away.

But valid use can overlap with abuse. Many who smoke marijuana casually find they are more relaxed, can sleep better, or feel better about themselves and the world when they use the drug, but don’t necessarily feel they are medicating. It is important to remember that daily use of any substance can be considered abuse. Whether you are medicating or using marijuana for recreation, it is important to ask yourself whether healthy lifestyle changes could reduce the amount you use. Because marijuana is a mild drug, it is easy to fall in to daily use and discover months or years later that your use of the drug is preventing you from healing or moving on from the symptoms or lifestyle you created which brought you to the drug in the first place.

Unless you are treating a chronic, incurable medical condition, I recommend taking a break from marijuana a couple times a year for a week or even a month in order to assess your abuse of the drug. If you can’t take a break you are technically drug-addicted and it is ultimately having a negative effect on your life.

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