Stopping Recreational Marijuana Use from Blocking the Needs of Patients

Stopping Recreational Marijuana Use from Blocking the Needs of Patients

In recent years, recreational marijuana has become increasingly popular and legalized in various states across the United States. However, this newfound popularity may be a cause for concern for medical cannabis patients. It is feared that recreational marijuana may crowd out medical cannabis and prevent patients from getting the care they need.

Medical cannabis effectively treats various conditions, including pain, anxiety and nausea. Patients are bound to suffer through their conditions without access to such amenities. In that case, stopping recreational marijuana use from blocking the needs of patients is a must.

The questions are: Is it really an actual problem we’re facing right now? Furthermore, are there any differences between medical and recreational marijuana? Finally, how do we prevent this fear from materializing?

We’ll answer them here.

Trends in Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana Use

Recreational marijuana has just been recently legalized in some U.S. states, whereas medical marijuana has been around longer. It should be safe to presume that medical marijuana should overcome recreational sales. However, currently available data tell a different story. We see an inverse trend in medical and recreational marijuana use, as reported by Ruth Fisher in her Medical Cannabis Primer.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, the impact of legalizing recreational marijuana caused the sales of medical marijuana to decline. The data was observed in four states: Colorado, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Their graph demonstrates the decline occurred right after the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Why Recreational Marijuana is Taking Over the Cannabis Market

Adult-use recreational cannabis is becoming more popular and has greater appeal to citizens than medical marijuana. One plausible reason behind this trend is that since adult-use use is legal in many states, recreational users no longer need medical certifications to purchase cannabis. Moreover, it’s more convenient and affordable to buy from recreational dispensaries.

There’s just one problem. There is a growing fear that as adult-use cannabis begins to gain momentum, medical cannabis stocks may be depleted. Dual-licensed dispensaries will likely shift their resources, shelf space, and product variety away from medical users.

If this continues, medical marijuana users may run out of options for their medication. Stopping recreational marijuana use from blocking the needs of patients is more important than ever. But how exactly do we do that?

But First… Is Medical Cannabis Different from Recreational?

The answer is yes. Medical cannabis is different from recreational marijuana in terms of property and process of acquisition.

To obtain medical cannabis, patients must first receive a recommendation from a licensed physician. Medical cannabis patients are also usually registered with their state’s medical marijuana program. This allows them to purchase medication from dispensaries specifically designed to cater to patients’ needs.

In terms of property, medical use marijuana is primarily CBD-based (cannabidiol), which is the property of cannabis that has medicinal value to users. This is the element tweaked and adjusted for medical marijuana users. On the other hand, recreational marijuana is heavy on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound of cannabis. This gives off the feeling of high.

As you can see, recreational marijuana is not an advisable replacement for medicinal marijuana. Now, how exactly do we prevent recreational from running medical out of business?

How to Stop Recreational Cannabis from Squeezing Out Medical

  1. Preservation of medical marijuana samples in dispensaries. If medical cannabis demand remains competitive, dispensaries will have all the more reason to keep shops open. Otherwise, they could get a dual license if the state permits it.
  1. Increase awareness of usage. Increasing public awareness of medical marijuana vs. recreational can encourage patients to seek professional help before visiting dispensaries. Otherwise, dispensaries leave it up to patients to choose their own medication if they have no professional guidance.
  1. Improve the standardization of medical marijuana. Unlike prescription drugs that have over 20,000 classes individually standardized, medical cannabis doesn’t receive the same treatment. A standardized process should allow dispensaries to differentiate routes derived from the 700 known cultivars. That would greatly help patients with their specific needs.
  1. Improve dispensary inventory. Some patients visit dispensaries only to discover their specifically required medication is unavailable. This common problem should be solved through a state-wide mandate.
  1. Augment pricing and convenience problems. Currently, medical marijuana is more expensive to buy and much more of a hassle to obtain than recreational use. If the process is streamlined, more patients may be compelled to seek medical marijuana.

Stopping recreational marijuana use from blocking the needs of patients is a prominent problem. If it remains unsolved, the medical marijuana industry may close, forcing patients to seek recreational marijuana for their needs. This is a huge problem.

Learn more about this issue through Ruth Fisher’s primer on medical marijuana. Ruth Fisher was also recently a guest on the Medwell Health YouTube Series “Medwell Unscripted” where she discussed Understanding the Power of Medical Dosing.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from her and other Medical Marijuana Educators by subscribing to our YouTube channel!

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