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2017 was the first full year Nevada had legal marijuana. Nevada’s party central Las Vegas alone received $700 million in sales throughout the whole year. But were these sales from medical marijuana or recreational marijuana?

Medical marijuana is marijuana cultivated specifically for different ailments.

You need a qualifying condition to buy medical marijuana. However, recreational marijuana is legal in Nevada, so any adult can buy and use marijuana in the state.

Is medical and recreational marijuana different? Do users consume either for different purposes?

There are some key differences even seasoned marijuana consumers may not understand. Here’s the difference between medical and recreational weed.

How Nevada Treats Medical and Recreational Marijuana

Nevada has different standards for medical and recreational marijuana consumers. Here’s a breakdown of both.

Medical Marijuana

As with all states, Nevada requires patients to obtain a medical marijuana card before purchasing medical marijuana. This is done by filling out an application and visiting a doctor to ensure you have a qualifying condition.

From here, the process of buying medical marijuana is similar to buying recreational marijuana. You visit a dispensary, tell the budtender what you want, and you walk away with your purchase.

Medical marijuana consumers can purchase 2.5 ounces of medical marijuana every two weeks.

Medical marijuana patients have an advantage that other states don’t have — patients from other states can use their medical marijuana card from their home state to purchase medical marijuana in Nevada.

In other words, you don’t need to only obtain a Nevada medical marijuana card to buy medical marijuana. You can have a card from Pennsylvania, Florida, or other states that issue medical marijuana cards.

Patients can also grow their own marijuana. They can grow up to 12 plants.

Unfortunately, health insurance doesn’t cover medical marijuana in Nevada.

Patients aren’t above the law for certain factors. For example, driving while under the influence of marijuana can result in a DUI. You also can’t use medical marijuana on the job, even with a card. If it’s necessary, ask your employer.

Recreational Marijuana

Recreational marijuana consumers don’t need a specific card to purchase marijuana. Adults 21 years or older can enter a dispensary and immediately buy marijuana.

There are some restrictions. Recreational marijuana users can only buy an ounce at a time. Public consumption is illegal, meaning you can only use marijuana in your own home.

Recreational marijuana users can grow marijuana in their own home. Their limit is six plants.

The Shopping Experience Is Different

One of the unlikely differences between recreational and medical marijuana is the overall shopping experience. Here’s what either consumer can expect.

Medical Marijuana

After you receive your medical marijuana card, you’re ready to purchase medical marijuana. But there’s a specific process to know.

First, you’ll have to bring your card to the dispensary. Next, you have to wait until you can meet one-on-one with the budtender.

While the budtender can help you select the best products, it’s best you do some research on your own.

Unlike recreational consumers, medical consumers use marijuana to treat their ailments or alleviate their symptoms.

All marijuana strains and products are different. Marijuana products are available in dry herb, concentrate, and even edibles.

Medical marijuana strains are formulated to treat specific conditions; i.e., a strain formulated for pain may not help someone who’s trying to relieve their anxiety.

When you know what you want, simply purchase your products with the budtender.

Recreational Marijuana

Purchasing recreational marijuana is similar to purchasing medical marijuana in Nevada. Depending on the dispensary, the budtender may need to take each patient one at a time.

It’s also best to research the marijuana products you want. Unlike patients, recreational marijuana consumers are likely purchasing marijuana to get “high.” It’s important you know which marijuana products you want.

For example, seasoned marijuana users may benefit from high-THC strains or potent edibles or concentrates. But beginners shouldn’t use these powerful products.

You should also know if you want to purchase an energizing sativa, a calming indica, or a hybrid of both types.

If you’re unsure, the budtender can always make recommendations.

From here, purchase your products and start using recreational marijuana!

The Difference Between Medical and Recreational Weed: Facts You May Not Know

While Nevada has its own process of handling medical and recreational marijuana, there are some additional differences between the two. Here are some further differences you should know.


Nevada charges an 8.25% tax on medical marijuana purchases. This number increases to 15% tax for recreational marijuana consumers.

Strain Differences

As mentioned previously, medical marijuana strains are cultivated for specific ailments. While these strains differ, they have one main aspect in common — they contain a high amount of cannabidiol or CBD.

CBD is the cannabinoid that helps treat many ailments and decreases the symptoms of these ailments. These strains may contain psychoactive THC, but the high CBD content will offset the “high” you’ll experience.

Recreational marijuana strains contain higher amounts of THC since users consume these products to “get high.”

Product Differences

The marijuana administration method also varies between both. For example, many patients would rather not smoke or even vape medical marijuana. That’s why medical marijuana is commonly sold as a tincture or an edible.

While recreational marijuana comes in many forms, users still prefer smoking it. This is either done with dry flower or marijuana concentrate.


Remember when we said recreational marijuana consumers need to be 21 years old? Medical marijuana consumers are only required to be 18 when signing up for their medical marijuana card.

Are You Looking for a Marijuana Dispensary in Las Vegas?

Now that you know the difference between medical and recreational weed, are you certain recreational marijuana is right for you? You need to choose the best dispensary that offers the highest quality cannabis products.

Our dispensary, Thrive Cannabis Marketplace, sells dry herb, concentrate, and other popular marijuana products. We also delivery, online ordering, and always have great deals. Take a look at our downtown dispensary menu.

Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us.