As more states begin the process of legalized recreational marijuana, people in the medical marijuana industry are wondering what their future will bring. If you no longer need a medical card, but just a regular government ID to purchase your strain of choice, is going through the process of finding a doctor really worth your time?
As it turns out, the answer is surprisingly — yes! From access, to dosage, to affordability, patients with a medical marijuana card will still see great benefits in sticking with medical vs. recreational marijuana. What are some of these great benefits?
Probably the best reason to keep an updated medical marijuana card is the inherent cost savings. Medical marijuana, though life-improving, is not covered by any medical insurance. Buying a recreational product comes with relative cost increases and a higher tax structure. So for many people, that little extra savings of overall lower cost and a reduced tax rate can mean the difference between having the affordability of being able to purchase marijuana for your health needs, and not.
Many medical marijuana states allow patients to grow their own medication. And more often than not, the amount a patient can grow is higher than that of recreational consumers. You’ll also find that for those suffering from severe ailments, there is more leeway to grow additional plants, as needed. Unlike some recreational users, patients use medical marijuana for their overall-wellbeing, therefore being able to grow their own preferred medical strains will offset their dispensary costs.
Once you have your medical marijuana card, you reap the benefits of continuous consumption and care. If you allow your card to lapse, you may have an interruption in your care and may be unable to find your particular strain in a recreational shop. It’s also possible you can will find your choice strain recreationally, but you’ll find it at an increased cost.
Recreational marijuana can only be sold to individuals over the age of 21. Yes, that’s a good thing for recreational users. But for minors with medical conditions for which medical marijuana can mean the difference between being functional or not, 21 is a long time to wait.
There are a variety of medical cards that will allow patients under 21 to legally access their medicine of choice to treat the symptoms of cancer, epilepsy, or other major health conditions. The 29 legalized states currently have laws that allow minors to use medical marijuana with a caregiver’s assistance, though the form of consumption (oil, edible, vape, etc.), the potency, and the dosages may vary from state to state.
Like with any medication, potency and dosage are incredibly important. Some conditions call for access to a higher-strength strain to relieve symptoms. In some states, recreational shops have strict potency limits, while medical marijuana dispensaries will most-likely have more leeway.
For example, Washington State law restricts recreational edibles to 10mg per serving, however some dispensaries offer 25mg edibles for medical patients. And the states of California, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon allow for higher potencies of medical marijuana, as opposed to their recreational counterparts.
We have medical marijuana to thank for easing the states (and the country) into recreational marijuana. But as we continue to progress, it’s important to remember how important the medical aspect of marijuana is and to not forget the patients that depend on it for a more functional and easier life.