Since the Federal Government of Canada’s historic move to legalize cannabis use across the country, the question that remains for many Canadians is “How is recreational cannabis different from medically prescribed cannabis?” According to the Ontario Medical Association, nearly half Ontarians do not know the answer to this question.

One of the main differences is the intent behind recreational use and the medical use of cannabis. Recreational use of cannabis is targeted towards the public. Recreational users are granted access to a variety or strains, flavors and cannabinoid strengths (THC, CBD). The recreational lines may also come to include products such as beverages, edibles and other methods of consuming cannabis. Medical cannabis users however, are often looking for something specific to alleviate their symptoms and have access to only fresh or dried cannabis as well as cannabis oils.

While the majority or products available through the recreational lines of cannabis contain higher THC levels, medical cannabis users are commonly prescribed higher CBD strains, containing little to no THC. This is due to the therapeutic effect that high CBD can have on a vast array of medical conditions.

The College of Family Physicians of Canada recommends that physicians who prescribe cannabis prescribe high CBD strains with little to no THC. This is to limit the risks and adverse effects associated with high THC content including sedation and cognitive impairment. The maximum recommended medicinal THC content is 9% THC.

Dr. Kevin Rod recommends that his patients use only high CBD strains during the day to better manage their symptoms. For evening and nighttime use only, Dr. Rod suggests using the higher CBD strains or using a balanced strain that contains no more than 9%-10% THC.