In the past, the term “recreational marijuana” has generally been used to mean illegal use of cannabis for purposes to get high. Today, patients are able to use cannabis under the guidance of a doctor for treatment of specific diagnosis and sicknesses. They receive a medical marijuana card (because doctors are federally banned from writing a prescription for it) and their treatment with cannabis is called “medical marijuana.” Later, marijuana also became legal for “recreational” use in states like Colorado, which meant that patients could buy it legally but did not require a doctor’s marijuana card approval. This recreational use was considered to be for the purpose of getting high, not medical treatment, the same way as alcohol can be used to become drunk.

These two categories of marijuana can be mixed up and miscategorized. For example, patients who receive medical marijuana cards can use marijuana just to get high. Alternatively, patients who buy marijuana on the street illegally may be using it to treat their pain or anxiety in a self-medicating way. The interesting thing about marijuana is that the high it produces does not exactly feel good. In fact, it can feel uncomfortable and cause paranoia and rapid heart beating (palpitations). Still, many patients appreciate the high because it helps relieve anxiety and stress. It is also frequently used to induce sleep and allow a good night’s rest. For this reason, most cannabis is actually used as a medicine, even if it traditionally would be considered recreational.

In states that have legalized recreational marijuana and medical marijuana, the prices may be different. For this reason, patients often seek a doctor for a medical marijuana card. This allows them access to medical-grade marijuana (which is usually similar in quality to recreational marijuana) for lower prices than the alternative. This saves patients a lot of money. The cost of a doctor’s appointment is far less than what is saved by getting a marijuana card.