The Basics: Medicinal Marijuana vs. Recreational Marijuana

When shopping Black Rabbit’s online dispensary, you may notice we often indicate in our strain descriptors which strains are excellent for alleviating specific pain symptoms. That’s because as often as cannabis users are turning to cannabis recreationally, they’re turning to the plant for medical needs just as often. In this post, we’ll go over the basic differences between medicinal marijuana vs. recreational marijuana and how cannabis helps offset pain.

Before we jump into it, friendly reminder that whether you need bud for fun or for pain, Black Rabbit does same day weed delivery around the GTA and weed delivery Canada wide.

Medicinal marijuana vs. recreational marijuana, what’s the difference?

Essentially, recreational marijuana is any form of marijuana consumed without a medical justification and primarily used to experience euphoric effects. Medicinal marijuana on the other hand is used to alleviate symptoms for numerous conditions such as but not limited to -chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and multiple sclerosis and can be used after obtaining authorization from a health care practitioner.

You might be thinking – does that mean medicinal marijuana is grown from different marijuana plants than recreational marijuana? The answer is no. By-products of medicinal and recreational marijuana whether in flower, tincture or edible form do indeed derive from the same plant, however the main point of difference is reason for use i.e. to purposely alter one’s state of being vs. symptom alleviation. Depending on the reason for use, users will either seek products either high in THC or high in CBD.


We know that cannabinoids are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in and secreted by cannabis flowers that have psychoactive effects and provide relief to an array of symptoms and we know that the two most commonly known and most abundant in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is the main psychoactive component in the cannabis plant and is primarily responsible for the mood altering activity that happens when you light up. CBD on the other hand has antidepressant-like effects because it impacts the brain’s natural receptors for serotonin – a chemical that is produced by the body’s nerve cells and impacts everything from emotions to motor skills, it’s also considered a natural mood stabilizer. While CBD is still technically considered psychoactive because it is a mood-altering substance, it won’t give you the traditional high that you might get from THC. Because of this, users of medicinal marijuana will often turn to strains or products richer in CBD minimizing intoxication and maximizing pain relief.

How does medicinal marijuana help with pain?

We go in depth for all the ways cannabis can help with various types of pain here but essentially it comes down to how marijuana interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex communications system found in the brain and body that is capable of interacting with the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The ECS is comprised of three main components: endocannabinoids – small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors, receptors – found throughout the body and functionally bind to endocannabinoids signalling to the ECS that an action needs to take place i.e. relieve pain and enzymes – responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function. When interacting with cannabinoids, all three components of the ECS work together, ultimately helping to regulate and bring balance to human functions such pain sensation.

Medicinal marijuana has some additional perks!

Because medicinal marijuana is used for, well medicine, there are certain benefits that its recreational counterpart doesn’t have. For example, medicinal cannabis prescriptions and cannabis seeds to grow your own medicinal marijuana are tax deductible as a medical expense. Also, many insurance companies have also started to cover medical cannabis under a Healthcare Spending Account for specific insured conditions such as chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and palliative care.

Our Black Rabbit Picks

If you think cannabis could be a good medical alternative for you, we always advise you reach out to your doctor to get the 411 on what would work best based on your needs. However, if your ailments are more bothersome than serious, check out a few of our recommendations below.

Sugarcane: this sweet, nutty hybrid is great for calming aches and pains. Even helps with lack of appetite too!


Black Diamond: suffer from minor bouts of insomnia? This indica hybrid tastes like berries and is heavy on the sedation.

Black Diamond

MOTA Green Cream: suffering from back pain because you sit at a desk all day? Cramps giving you a run for your money? This deeply hydrating cannabis lotion helps with muscle tension and inflammation.

MOTA edited

Same day weed delivery and weed delivery Canada wide

It’s worth noting here again that if you suffer from severe health conditions you should consult your health care provider for a medicinal cannabis prescription tailored to your needs. However, if you’re looking for some good old fashioned weed fun, check out Black Rabbit’s online dispensary and get your bud delivered to you fast, seven days a week. We are featured on sites such as BudHubCanada, Weed List, and Cannabis Ontario.

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