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How is medical marijuana different from regular marijuana?

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Although the word ‘cannabis’ is most often associated with a soft drug, it is worth distinguishing between recreationally used cannabis and medicinal cannabis. What is medical marijuana? What are the similarities and differences between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana? Why should medical marijuana not be equated with dried marijuana for smoking?

What is medical marijuana? 

Medical cannabis, or medicinal cannabis, is produced from the dried cannabis plant (or fibre hemp Cannabis Sativa L.). Thanks to its high content of active substances, cannabinoids, when used properly it has a beneficial effect on the human body. It exhibits analgesic, sedative and calming effects. It can be used to treat psychiatric disorders (depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), as well as conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease.

What is the difference between medical cannabis and regular cannabis?

Many people wonder whether medical cannabis is the same as the popular dried cannabis for smoking. The answer is – no. Firstly because of the different variety of cannabis from which it is extracted, and secondly because of the different way in which the dried product is produced.

Hemp unequal: cannabis seed vs. cannabis

The main difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana lies in the type of cannabis from which the former is extracted. Medical marijuana is dried cannabis seeds, while recreational marijuana is dried cannabis (Cannabis indica).

Production under control

The production of medical cannabis is strictly controlled. The level of soil contamination with pesticides and heavy metals is supervised. In addition, cannabis extracts are standardised in terms of THC and CBD content. This means that each dried sample is expected to contain the same specific percentage of both compounds.

THC and CBD – what are the differences?

THC and CBD are cannabinoids that are found in hemp. Depending on the type of hemp and the specific product, the THC and CBD content of the dried can vary. Aurora’s popular dried hemp is Cannabis Flos THC 20% CBD 1%, but the same company produces a dried product with a minimal amount of THC (Cannabis Flos THC 1% CBD 12%), or more recently a newcomer to the market: Cannabis sativa L. Red. No 2 with THC 19% and CBD max. 1%. 

THC and CBD have a similar molecular structure to endocannabinoids, compounds that occur naturally in the human body. Both CBD and THC can have beneficial effects on the body, although their properties are different.


CBD, or cannabidiol, is a completely safe substance. It is devoid of psychoactive properties and therefore its use is not controversial. Products containing CBD, such as hemp oils, dietary supplements, teas or cosmetics are becoming increasingly popular and are widely available, e.g. in shopping malls. The most important properties of CBD include:

  • pain relief (especially in migraine);
  • improving sleep quality;
  • stress reduction;
  • antidepressant action (by increasing serotonin levels in the body).


THC, or 9-delta-tetrahydrocannabinol, has primarily psychoactive properties. However, when used properly, THC also shows beneficial effects on health. It has analgesic, antiemetic and appetite-stimulating effects. Medical cannabis with small amounts of THC can be used, among other things, to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy.

Both medical and recreational cannabis contain THC and CBD, albeit in different concentrations. In addition, other substances with therapeutic effects, such as terpenes and flavonoids, are present in medical marijuana. Terpenes enhance the beneficial effects of CBD. Flavonoids are particularly positive substances for the body and are credited with properties such as strengthening blood vessels and preventing cardiovascular disease. They also have anti-cancer and anti-allergic effects.

How to buy medical cannabis?

In theory, a prescription for medical marijuana can be issued by a doctor of any specialisation (except veterinary medicine). However, medical cannabis can only be purchased in some pharmacies in Poland.Many doctors remain sceptical about medical cannabis therapy. Often they also do not have sufficient knowledge of cannabis therapy. For this reason, those interested in medical cannabis will find the quickest help at cannabis medicine dispensaries and clinics such as Carenabis. Do you have questions about medical cannabis? Not sure where to look for reliable information? Write to us!

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