It’s impossible to have a conversation about cannabis nowadays without making a distinction between medicinal and recreational use. Those who are still hesitant about the benefits of the drug are always quick to point out that medicinal marijuana should not be treated as recreational marijuana, which always leads to the question: is there really a difference between the two or is it more of a matter of intent?
Well, yes, there is an actual difference. Even if wanted to use recreational marijuana to self-medicate, it wouldn’t work because there are fundamental chemical differences. So that dude who keeps claiming he only uses the stuff to relax, sleep and treat his anxiety yet he keeps buying it from a random dealer? He’s full of it. Medicinal marijuana needs to be bred as such so that people can get the actual benefits they are looking for.
The difference between the two strains depends on the concentration of the cannabinoids, THC and CBD. THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” feeling, the more THC the more of a high users will get when smoking. CBD, on the other hand, actually controls the psychoactive effect of THC; it’s what it’s known as non-psychoactive, so it reduces anxiety and even the paranoia typically associated with recreational use. If a strain of cannabis is high on THC, it’s good for, well, a high. If it has a higher concentration of CBD, chances are, it’s medicinal.
Thing is this explanation often leads to another question: how would you even know which one you’re getting? That depends entirely on when you’re buying from. In practice, if you don’t research your dispensary or find someplace trustworthy where you can buy marijuana, you have no way of knowing. It’s not like you can go home and chemically analyze the strain you bought. And just smoking it and judging what it has based on the effects, will just lead to anecdotal results and it isn’t really a responsible approach.
The responsible thing to do would be to only buy through official dispensaries and thoroughly research them and their products before you commit to anything. For starters, a good dispensary should be working under the law and have easy to verify credential. Then, they should be able to tell you exactly what strains they’re selling and provide all the information you require. Finally, they wouldn’t be selling you medicinal marijuana at all unless you actually need it. Cause that’s another thing, responsible use, means you can’t self-medicate.
While most good, trustworthy dispensaries would have no issue recommending and selling certain strains to help with mild sleep issues or general anxiety, they shouldn’t really be recommending anything to solve any major problems. Things like chronic anxiety, depression or paranoia, are conditions that need to be treated in a doctor’s office, not a dispensary. What’s more they certainly shouldn’t be treated with recreational strains without supervision from a psychologist or a doctor. All in all, medicinal use goes far beyond the intent of user, it should be prescribed by a medical professional and bought at a reputable source.