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Four Differences Between Recreational and Medical Cannabis

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Since 2020, recreational adult-use cannabis has been legal in Arizona. The introduction of the legal market has caused a lot of changes within our state, especially for medical dispensaries and providers, and these changes are not in favor of medical. Many may think that medical patients can just integrate into the recreational market, but that’s far from the case. In fact, there are some important distinctions between the two industries that you may not be aware of.


One of the biggest selling points of adult-use cannabis is accessibility: anyone over the age of 21 can purchase, consume, or even grow a limited quantity of cannabis. This means that you can just walk into a dispensary and grab some weed after work, on your way back from the gym, or as part of your daily errands. There are no application fees, no wait time, and no pre-approval process necessary.

Medical cannabis requires a physician’s prescription as well as a medical card, which is $150 every two years. The medical card allows you to possess and grow more cannabis than you can under regular adult-use laws. It also allows patients as young as 18 to register, and certain children under the age of 18 can access it with guardian supervision.


Did you know that medical cannabis is different from recreational cannabis? That’s right! Most recreational strains range from 16-22% THC, while medicinal strains tend to have higher CBD content. Strains like Charlotte’s Web, for example, are low in THC and high in CBD, often used to treat children with seizures.

Medical patients need less THC – it’s just a fact, and medical cannabis programs keep strains like this in circulation, ensuring their continued existence.

Quality Control

MMJ undergoes a much more thorough quality control process than recreational. Now, this isn’t to say that recreational isn’t safe or vetted, but it undergoes less stringent testing because it’s not intended to be used medically.


Another major difference between recreational and medical cannabis is the price point. For example, medical marijuana patients in Arizona pay 16% less for marijuana than recreational marijuana customers because they are exempt from the excise tax that is levied on recreational sales. Patients who use medical marijuana must still pay local taxes, but they also have the option of being reimbursed by their insurance, making the prices lower overall.

The distinction between medical and recreational isn’t strictly legal. Having access to both is great for a number of reasons, but the differences should remain in place for the health of medical patients.
If you’re an Arizona medical patient, get the best prices and the best kush in the state at NatureMed AZ. We offer patients 7-day delivery, daily deals, and an awesome variety of different cannabis strains. Visit our website or stop by our store today!

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