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Recreational Cannabis, Two Joints PreRolled Bud Lab Banner

With recreational cannabis about to become legalized in Canada, it’s a great time to look at how medical and recreational cannabis differs. As Canada gets ready for legalization, terms like “recreational” or “adult-use” have become the commonly used terms for personal cannabis consumption that isn’t exclusively for medical purposes.

Beyond the distinction of consumer intention, other differences exist between medical and recreational cannabis.

Shopping Experience

When it comes to the shopping experience itself, medical and recreational shops tend to offer similar experiences. Qualified medical marijuana patients present both their ID to prove they’re legally old enough to purchase cannabis, as well as their valid medical cannabis card.

Oftentimes, recreational stores are not permitted to provide medical advice to customers, although you can still shop at them as a medical patient. They may also offer discounts and tax breaks to medical patients.

Medical dispensaries are best equipped to answer patient questions, especially those that provide education opportunities for their budtenders, such as seminars and certifications. Don’t be afraid to explore multiple dispensaries until you find one with a well-trained staff that you connect with.

As for product selection, there tends to be very little difference between medical and recreational menus. At either store type, you’re bound to find the shelves full of various edibles, drinkables, vaporizers, topicals, strains, and concentrates.

Different Stores, Different Perks

Medical patients may receive certain perks not available to recreational consumers. These generally include:

  • Lower costs and taxes
  • Higher THC potency limits
  • Higher quantity restrictions
  • Legal access for minors in approved medical cases (e.g., cancer or epilepsy)
  • Medical patients may be allowed to grow their own cannabis (or are permitted a higher plant count than recreational consumers)


Social stigma and perception further bolden the dividing line between medical and recreational cannabis, as a greater percentage of Canadians support medical cannabis than recreational adult use.

Using cannabis for enjoyment is still somewhat taboo in the public eye, although you don’t need to be suffering a severe disease to find wellness benefits in casual use. A consumer might first fall in love with the easy access to a variety of high-quality strains, only to discover an infused topical that works wonders on a chronic condition.

As new products and medicines with a wide range of benefits come to market, it’s easy to become fan of both recreational and medical cannabis. And it’s only a matter of time before laws come to reflect that.

Bud Lab is Canada’s foremost online dispensaries. We’re developing into a go-to destination for marijuana enthusiasts, as well as beginners who are just learning about the benefits cannabis has. We offer incredible product and strain variety. To check out what we have in-store, simply visit us online at budlab.co! We look forward to hearing from you!

For assistance with any of products, please reach out to a Bud Lab Customer Success Manager!

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