Recreational Cannabis Strains & How They Differ From Medical Weed

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For centuries, people all over the world have consumed cannabis for a variety of reasons. The first uses were probably for religious and medicinal purposes, but at some point, people must have realized that if weed made them feel good, they didn’t have to wait for a religious ceremony or sickness to partake in this magical herb. So, the recreational use of cannabis gradually spread around the globe, making it the most popular of ‘illicit’ substances.

According to UN data, 3.8% of the global population, or almost 160 million people, use marijuana. In some nations, consumption rates are significantly higher. In the US, about 18% of people used marijuana at least once in 2019 according to the CDC.

A significant part of all those people consumes the drug recreationally. So, what exactly is recreational cannabis and how does it differ from medical weed?

What Is Recreational Cannabis?
If you ingest a substance to have a good time, it’s recreational use. In the case of cannabis, people usually look for one of the following recreational effects:

  • Novelty – Unusual sensations and ideas, distorted perception (especially of time and space), loss of control (giggling fits, poor coordination, inability to focus, forgetfulness). That’s what people often call a trip – one that you take for the sake of new experiences or something to process and remember later (fondly or not). Novelty is mostly what first-timers and casual smokers seek.
  • Stimulation – The right kind of weed at the right dose can put you in a party mood, making you talkative, upbeat, active, and eager to have fun. It doesn’t make you lose inhibitions as much as alcohol, but it can be a nice social lubricant nevertheless.
  • Enhancement – Recreational weed is famous for amplifying life’s simple pleasures, like eating food, having sex, listening to music, or watching movies. Even chores that you otherwise find boring seem like something meaningful and enjoyable when you’re high on weed.
  • Pleasurable feelings – From a warm and fuzzy sensation in your body to an all-pervading euphoria, when even sitting still and doing nothing seems like fun.
  • Good mood – When the world seems dull, a toke or two of the right strain of herb will make you realize that that’s the same world you found so joyous when you were a little kid. The next thing you know, you’ll feel this sense of joy at a most profound level.

What’s The Difference Between Recreational & Medical Cannabis?
If you go through the list above item by item, you can easily imagine some medical use for any of them. For example, elderly people who are too set in their ways can benefit from novelty, those with social anxiety can come out of their shells thanks to mental stimulation, people with a poor appetite will enjoy food, and those who find it difficult to concentrate on a task will be more focused and functional. And of course, a pleasant body buzz and an elevated mood are an important part of healing many afflictions of the body and mind.

The bottom line is that the same effects that give weed its recreational value can also help you deal with many medical conditions, as the same chemicals (most importantly, THC) that make a great recreational strain have documented therapeutic effects. Good recreational marijuana has antiemetic properties and helps people deal with the sickness related to chemotherapy. It relaxes muscles and relieves spasticity in MS patients. It eases pain, especially neuropathic pain. And although this indication is controversial, some patients with sleep disorders smoke a joint before going to bed.

CBD Isn’t The Whole Story
Some people mistakenly believe that medical cannabis is all about CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is indeed a chemical compound with unique health benefits. Because it’s practically non-psychoactive, it’s been a subject of intense research over recent years. Scientists tout its anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties and its ability to relieve anxiety, among other uses. So, a high level of CBD in a weed strain is a huge plus when choosing a herbal medicine.

However, all this doesn’t mean that only a high-CBD, low-THC variety can be called medical marijuana. As we’ve shown, THC has unique therapeutic benefits as well, and when, for example, researchers test CBD’s ability to kill cancer cells (which will probably turn out to be true), they find out that CBD works more effectively in combination with THC.

On the other hand, CBD can contribute to the recreational value of a cannabis strain because it mellows out the effects of THC, making the experience more pleasurable and relaxing. Just as any substance can be poison or medicine depending on the dosage, one strain of weed can be medical or recreational depending on what you intend it for.

Some Of The Best Recreational Strains
If all you’ve grown so far are CBD-rich medical varieties and you want to try something that most people ingest simply to relax and have a good time, you can start with any of the following amazing high-THC genetics.

We start our list of recreational cannabis strains with a dominant Indica, as the heavy-handed relaxation of body and mind that this weed produces is many people’s idea of ultimate fun. This 25% THC variety is also quite trippy; it may distort shapes and sounds and make you see fractals when you close your eyes. If you’re looking for an evening alone but full of happy relaxation, look no further than LSD.

Strawberry Amnesia
Most people would agree that if you want to party, you need pure Sativa or Sativa-dominant genetics. And what’s better than the potent and exotic Strawberry Amnesia? Uplifting, social, and giggly, this smoke hits fast and hard and lasts long due to its 22% THC and almost no CBD to moderate its unfocused giddy energy. It’ll keep you on your feet for hours – perfect for meeting new people, starting conversations, dancing, and just goofing around.

Bruce Banner Auto
With Bruce Banner Auto, every day feels like a holiday. This is a wake-and-bake type of smoke to lift your mood and sharpen your senses, allowing you to power through the most boring workday with robot-like relentlessness and an all-too-human silly grin. This autoflower is equally great as a nighttime smoke because it’ll give you a second wind when you feel all beat and listless after a long day.

Gelato’s charm goes way beyond the sensational flavor that made this strain a hit in American dispensaries. This balanced Indica/Sativa hybrid creates an equally balanced effect with blissful body relaxation and laser-like mental clarity. Smoke it with friends, and you won’t run out of things to talk and laugh about as long as these dessert buds last. And since they pack a staggering 25% THC, someone in your company is sure to space out and fall asleep.

Royal Gorilla Automatic
If THC is what makes great recreational weed and its levels depend on the amount of resin, imagine how potent the most resinous genetics in the world can be. Royal Gorilla Automatic is an excellent representative of the Gorilla Glue family. Her buds are covered in trichomes so abundantly that resin all but drips from them. Besides THC, it contains tons of delicious terpenes with the smell of diesel fuel and roasted coffee beans, knocking you down with its sheer power. It’s the best weed to smoke while lying on the couch in front of the TV. Just don’t forget to set the off timer – you’ll probably drift into blissful sleep before the movie’s over.

We hope it’s now clear to you what constitutes the perfect recreational cannabis and why the strains on our list are very close to the ideal. However, we suggest that you check out some of our other lists, such as the talkative or uplifting collection. The first one will introduce you to weed strains that’ll give you an authentic motormouth experience, while the other will make you replace the customary morning coffee with a pick-me-up marijuana variety that’ll fill you with energy, creativity, and inspiration.