Is There A Difference Between Recreational & Medicinal Cannabis?


With legalization of cannabis in Canada, many have been curious about what the difference between medical and recreational cannabis is.

Simply, the difference between medicinal recreational use is intent and how cannabis use is perceived by the user. However, legally there are significant differences in where you acquire your cannabis, and that is based on your intent.

At TOKE, we are a recreational, or adult use, cannabis retail store, and are not permitted to sell cannabis for medical purposes, nor are we permitted to dispense medical advice in any way.

What is Medical Cannabis?

In Canada, medical use of cannabis has been available legally since 2001, while in the USA, efforts towards legalization began in California in 1996. Now, medical cannabis is taking hold across the United States, and across the world, while Canada’s medical cannabis program continues to be utilized.

Many people who use medical cannabis use it as they would any other medication – with a dose, a dosage method, and the expectation for results and effects. Until The Cannabis Act passed, cannabis for medical purposes was accessed under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulation (ACMPR), which has now been absorbed under The Cannabis Act. As before, medical cannabis patients receive a medical cannabis document from a medical doctor, and then can purchase cannabis right from Canada’s Licenced Producers to fill their “prescription”. In some cases, patients are able to claim their medical cannabis on their benefits and receive reimbursement.

Medical cannabis is used to treat a number of medical conditions in Canada, and has been a generally accepted course for Canadians to medicate, rather than using pharmaceutical drugs, or as a compliment to their medical regimen.

TOKE does not provide medical cannabis, and if you are looking for a particular medical outcome, we recommend you connect with a local or online cannabis clinic to speak to a medical physician about obtaining your medical cannabis recommendations.

While we can talk about the certain effects of cannabis on a recreational level, unfortunately, we cannot talk about how cannabis can affect medical conditions and their symptoms.

What is Recreational Cannabis?

Recreation literally means to undertake activities that are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be “fun”. While cannabis can be fun, as it does produce uplifting and euphoric effects, it isn’t really used or experienced the way other recreational drugs, like alcohol, are experienced. Recreational cannabis users often describe their use of cannabis as “therapeutic” rather than recreational or medicinal.

One concern surrounding legal cannabis is the abuse of it. Cannabis is a plant that should be respected for its benefits and the way it can provide that “recreational” experience. The over-use or abuse of cannabis can result in effects that the plant is not intended for.

Legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada gives Canadian adults access to cannabis to suit their intentions. One thing remains true, though, and that is whether you’re using cannabis recreationally or medicinally, it is the same plant. This means that within recreational use, there is a strong potential to benefit from the medicinal and therapeutic properties of cannabis.

Exploring Safe Use of Cannabis

Everybody is different, and every body is different. Whatever your relationship with cannabis, it should be one that is deeply explored and practiced with intent and focus and safety.

Cannabis is a lot of things to a lot of people, and the “what” of cannabis to people isn’t exactly something that can be packaged and sold in a store.

Cannabis is a physical stimulant that interacts with the physiological functions of your body via your Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which we have talked about before as one of science’s best kept secrets.

Cannabis can alter your mental processes and may cause you to understand things in your life with a different perception. Your emotions can also be greatly affected by cannabis, as it is altering the way your brain is functioning.

For many, using cannabis can be a spiritual experience, where the soul is awakened, allowing the individual to explore various depths of themselves and the people and world around them. In the plant science world, cannabis works with the heart chakra, opening the mind and opening the heart, allowing us to feel empathy and compassion while creating a greater connection to ourselves and others. Cannabis can create an atmosphere of openness and vulnerability, that allows you to access, and articulate, how you really feel, thus sharing cannabis safely and lovingly within an important relationship.

Using Cannabis Safely

No matter what your intention, it’s important to know that cannabis is a substance that should be used with safety.

When understanding the connection between cannabis and mental health especially, it’s important to be aware of how cannabis works with certain parts of the brain. Some strains may produce adverse psychoactive effects, especially when used by those with complicated mental illnesses. Most psychological professionals will suggest that high-THC strains can exacerbate feelings of anxiety.

Explore Cannabis with TOKE

TOKE is a recreational cannabis retail store intended to help Canadians explore the legal cannabis that is cultivated by our country’s Licensed Producers. We are not authorized to provide cannabis for medical purposes, nor are we able to dispense or offer medical advice. To explore the recreational uses of cannabis, please feel free to come into TOKE to ask one of our knowledgeable budtenders about the various products we have, and rely on them to help you make the best decision for your cannabis intention.