Cannabis vs. Medical Marijuana: How They Differ

April is Cannabis Awareness Month

Cannabis is a product of the cannabis sativa plant that is used for its psychoactive and therapeutic effects.

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant.

The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant.

Legalization of marijuana for medical use or adult recreational use in a growing number of states may affect these views. Source: NIH

“Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day”.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Pediatrician, Public Health Administrator

Cannabis Awareness Month

National Cannabis Awareness Month is celebrated in April.

The cannabis culture has certainly taken a turn for the better because years ago, this would not be tolerated by law enforcement, but as more states pile on to join others in legalizing marijuana, it has become a popular topic of discussion.

In the cannabis industry and community, advocates are making it easy for people to become aware of the benefits of marijuana and have shed a positive light on cannabis so more people can reap the benefits of consumption.

Cannabis in Pennsylvania

Cannabis in Pennsylvania

How to apply for a medical marijuana card

Getting medical marijuana through Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program involves four basic steps:

  1. Register for the program through the Medical Marijuana Registry.
  2. Have a physician certify that you suffer from one of the medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana.
  3. Pay for a medical marijuana ID card.
Register for medical marijuana card

The first step to getting medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is to register. First, create a profile in the Medical Marijuana Registry.

This profile includes basic information such as your legal name, current address, and contact information. To register for the medical marijuana program, you must have a Pennsylvania driver’s license or an ID card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Get certified by a physician

Once you have registered in the Medical Marijuana Registry, the next step is to have an approved physician certify that you suffer from a qualifying medical condition.

Approved physicians also have access to the Medical Marijuana Registry and will submit their certifications directly to the system.

Approved Physicians

Physicians who recommend medical marijuana in Pennsylvania are required to register with the Department of Health. If your current physician is not registered with the Department of Health, you can find an approved physician here.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

Only patients suffering from one of the following medical conditions can participate in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • Anxiety disorders.
  • Autism.
  • Cancer, including remission therapy.
  • Crohn’s disease.
  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with an objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies.
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Glaucoma.
  • HIV / AIDS.
  • Huntington’s disease.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Intractable seizures.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Neuropathies.
  • Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain.
  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • Terminal illness.
  • Tourette syndrome.

“Marijuana (cannabis) has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions”.

American Nurses Association

Our Book Suggestions

Learn more about cannabis, medical marijuana, and the fight toward decriminalization.

The Medical Marijuana Dispensary by Laurie Wolf and Mary Wolf

Part reference, part cannabis cookbook, The Medical Marijuana Dispensary provides up-to-date, evidence-based information and research supported by medical professionals, established experts, and members of the medical marijuana community.

Authors Laurie and Mary expertly guide beginners through the three easy-to-navigate sections of this primer for new patients.

Cannabis: A History by Martin Booth

To some it’s the classic “gateway drug,” to others it is a harmless way to relax or provide relief from pain. Some fear it is dangerous and addictive, while others feel it should be decriminalized. Whatever the viewpoint, cannabis incites debate at every level, and the effect it has on every corner of the globe is undeniable.

In this comprehensive study, Martin Booth crafts a tale of medical advance and religious enlightenment; political subterfuge and law enforcement; cunning smugglers, street pushers, gang warfare, writers, artists, and musicians. And above all, Booth chronicles the fascinating process through which cannabis became outlawed throughout the Western world, and the effect such legislation has had on the global economy.

Weed the People by Bruce Barcott

In 2012, Bruce Barcott, a pot skeptic: and middle-aged father, reluctantly voted for legalization. He woke up the next morning and wondered: What have we done? To answer that question, the award-winning author embarked on a journey into the strange new world of legal weed. The result is an investigative travelogue by turns humorous, insightful, and brilliantly observed.

Barcott meets botanists breeding new strains, investors chasing marijuana millions, marketers designing wholesome dope brands, scientists exploring how pot can heal and harm, and parents struggling to explain it to their kids. Filled with the pungent aroma of change, Weed the People is a provocative examination of one of the most significant cultural moments of our time.

Learn More About Cannabis Culture

Books, eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines covering medical and recreational marijuana use

This post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services.