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The Difference Between Medical Marijuana & Recreational Marijuana

Louisiana has had its fair share of controversy with cannabis, from heavy penalization for cannabis possession to concerningly high prices for patients who are registered for a medical marijuana certification.

Louisiana offers a comprehensive medical marijuana program that allows cannabis flower, concentrates, and edibles to be legally purchased by medical marijuana patients.

To become a medical marijuana patient, a person must first be diagnosed with a qualifying condition for medical marijuana in Louisiana, and then receive their medical marijuana certification from the state.

Once certified, patients can legally purchase cannabis from any of the approved pharmacies that sell medical marijuana in Louisiana. In contrast, recreational marijuana states may be similar in that people can legally shop at pharmacies for cannabis, but many of the similarities stop there.

In this article, we’ll cover the differences between medical and recreational marijuana, how they differ, and why it matters for medical marijuana patients here in Louisiana.

Recreational Marijuana vs Medical Marijuana

Benefits of Recreational Marijuana In Louisiana

Although recreational marijuana is not yet available in Louisiana, having a state recreational marijuana program in place has some pretty obvious benefits.

For starters, individuals wouldn’t have to have any specific medical condition to buy recreational cannabis.

Contrast that to the current situation, where you can receive your medical marijuana certification online and from the comfort of your own home, but still need to have a qualifying condition that a doctor believes could benefit from cannabis is permitted.

Another pro for recreational marijuana is expansive competition. When cannabis is legal recreationally, regular citizens can create marijuana businesses much easier than medical marijuana companies, and this helps drive prices down and improves quality by increasing the competition amongst cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.

Recreational Marijuana Cons

Just like anything, recreational marijuana also has its cons.

For starters, recreational marijuana can suffer from a lack of regulation, causing inaccurate testing, or lack testing altogether. For patients dealing with serious conditions, regulation and testing are critical for accessing medical-grade cannabis.

Another con for recreational cannabis is that it can often lean heavy on THC, and sometimes companies might steer away from medicinal benefits and focus more on psychoactive effects, as many recreational users prefer products with the maximum amount of THC.

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the psychoactive effects of cannabis, for medical marijuana patients, the medicinal value is what they are seeking, so they benefit from cultivators focusing on this aspect.

Another con for recreational marijuana can be availability, especially early on in the programs. When medical states decide to make recreational marijuana legal, they run the risk of opening currently operating medical dispensaries to recreational patients, which can cause severe inventory problems and limit access to those who need it most; the medical patients.

Recreational marijuana can be great once a comprehensive program is running smoothly, but without the right legislative precautions, it can cause disruptions to patients seeking to medicate with cannabis.

Medical Marijuana Benefits In Louisiana

Medical Marijuana Pros

Medical marijuana’s most obvious benefit is that it increases access to alternative medicine for patients suffering from a wide-range of conditions.

The main goal for medical marijuana is to focus attention on the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana, and that can certainly benefit both recreational users and medical marijuana users, but the necessity for medical marijuana patients is much more pressing.

Medical marijuana can also offer higher possession limits for patients, like Colorado, where recreational consumers can possess up to an ounce of cannabis, while medical patients can possess up to 2 ounces.

Access to medicine by minors is also another pro for medical marijuana states. In cases where children suffer from conditions like severe seizures or cancer, medical marijuana allows access to these products for qualified patients who might not be able to access the same medicine under recreational laws.

Lastly, medical marijuana is often priced more reasonably.. With recreational marijuana, taxes are usually higher, and many retail products can be at a higher cost than medical marijuana as well.

Medical Marijuana Cons

The clear con for medical marijuana is the potential for limited access for qualifying patients.

Though Louisiana has an expansive list of qualifying conditions, you need to be diagnosed with a condition to be approved, so this might leave out some patients that don’t meet the criteria, but would otherwise benefit from medicinal cannabis.

Another negative for medical marijuana is competition. Because there are fewer growers permitted to cultivate marijuana, there will not only be fewer options, but less competition as well. This de-facto monopoly limits competition, reducing the quantity of product offerings and preventing prices from falling faster as dispensaries compete for market share.

It’s sometimes the case with medical marijuana programs that at-home cultivation is prohibited, such as in Louisiana, which can also be a con for medical marijuana programs.

Medical marijuana in terms of composition or quality, is supposed to be identical whether it’s recreational or medical cannabis. Potency is not usually any higher or lower on one end or the other, though there are benefits and downsides to both medical and recreational marijuana programs.

Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification

Medical marijuana is available in Louisiana! Qualifying patients can receive their medical marijuana certification from the comfort of their own home and begin purchasing legal cannabis once approved. Louisiana offers a comprehensive line of cannabis products, including cannabis flower, edibles, and concentrates.

Being a medical marijuana patient offers you legal protections to possess medical cannabis and having a cannabis certification is the only way to ensure you are following the law in Louisiana.

Beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today, and you can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.

For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


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