How can using recreational vs medical marijuana affect your drug test results? Since the legalization of medical marijuana in 31 states, many people have turned to marijuana to combat pain or other medical conditions they suffer from. This may cause a problem for these people as it’s a known fact that most employers frown upon any form of illicit drug use.
So, where does that leave those who use marijuana for medical purposes only as opposed to those who used the weed for recreation purposes? Before we talk about the drug testing, let’s look closely at the main differences between recreational and medical marijuana.
Main Difference Between Recreational and Medical Marijuana.
There are two main chemicals that are associated with marijuana: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Both chemicals are present whether you’re using marijuana for medical purposes or for recreation. The main difference is chemical concentration levels.
- Recreational marijuana often contains very high THC levels, which is often desired by users. Why? That’s because THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana.
- Medical marijuana has much higher concentrations of CBD and low levels of THC. In some medical marijuana strains, THC levels are so low that they have almost no psychoactive properties whatsoever.
- However, there are some medical marijuana strains mainly used as an alternative to standard pain killers, that have THC levels comparable to recreational marijuana. As result, medical marijuana users might test positive for THC on their drug tests.
It is imperative to remember that THC is what shows up on drug tests, not CBD.
Employers are not worried about CBD levels. However, they do worry about how their employees might act under the influence of THC.
Detailed comparison Recreational vs Medical Marijuana.
|Recreational Marijuana||Medical Marijuana|
|Effectiveness||Effective but could be altered chemically||More effective, guaranteed to work|
|Effective time||Depends on dose and route||Depends on dose and route|
|Side Effects||Psychoactive||Anxiety (rare)|
|Approx price||$85-$100 per ounce||$200-$400 per ounce|
|Availability||Less available||More available|
4.1. Theoretically, both recreational and medical marijuana are equally effective. Sadly, the quality of recreational marijuana can’t always be guaranteed. You’re better off buying it from a well known dispensary in order to guarantee that it hasn’t been tampered with. Medical marijuana is tightly regulated. So you know you’re getting good quality.
4.2. Effective time varies according to how you take marijuana and how much you take. For instance, smoked marijuana will work faster and last shorter than digested marijuana. It all comes down to your preference.
4.3. There are a few side effects of using marijuana and very little risk of addiction. Psychoactive effects are the main side effects of THC. But it can be argued that someone using recreational marijuana for medical purposes might be seeking these effects so they’re not really a disadvantage. Medical marijuana, as well as recreational, has been associated with anxiety. But that’s not a common complication.
4.4. When it comes to price, we have a striking difference. Medical marijuana often costs over twice as much as recreational marijuana. Part of this has to do with its regulation and guaranteed high quality. But its high price becomes a problem for some people who are starting to think they should forget about their medical marijuana card and go recreational.
4.5. A point in favor of medical marijuana, however, is its availability. You can get a medical marijuana card if you’re over 18 and there are plenty of dispensaries available. In order to purchase recreational marijuana you have to be over the age of 21 and dispensaries aren’t as widely available.
When applying for a job you’re very likely to be drug tested. There are 4 different kinds of drug tests you might be required to pass: urine, blood, hair, and saliva. The most commonly used, as you may already know, is the urine drug test.
If you’re using marijuana for a medical condition and have a medical marijuana card you should have nothing to worry about (unless you’re doing other drugs). However, you might face employers who have a ‘zero tolerance’ drug policy – including medical marijuana.
If you’re a recreational user, you defiantly need to worry about your upcoming drug test and stay clean before your test.
Saliva Drug Test.
In order to pass a saliva drug test, you’ll need to abstain from using recreational and medical marijuana for 24-72 hours. Using marijuana less than 24 hours before your test will most likely result in a positive drug test result and disqualify you from getting the job you’re applying for.
Blood Drug Test.
The time that THC is detectable in the blood is variable. It could become untraceable in your blood only in 6 hours after using marijuana. Then again, it could test positive for up to 3-7 days. It all depends on how often you use marijuana since it gets stored in the bodies’ fat tissues.
DUI tests are based on blood tests because they want to know if you’re intoxicated at the time. They don’t care about THC that’s been in your system for weeks. Unfortunately, most companies don’t use blood tests.
Urine Drug Test.
The most widely used drug test by prospective employers is the urine drug test. This is because it’s easy to administer and is highly accurate. If you only use marijuana occasionally (i.e. up to 1-2 times a week), then your urine will remain positive for THC up to 4 to 7 days from your last hit. For moderate users (2-3 times a week), it’ll be up to 10-12 days.
People who use marijuana daily can expect their urine to show up positive for THC from 35 to 90 days.
These numbers are irrespective of how you consume marijuana: smoking, vaping, ingesting edibles, etc.). Regardless, marijuana will enter your blood system and be stored in your body fat. It will slowly be excreted back into the blood and filtered out through your urine.
Hair Drug Test.
Hair stores THC metabolite – THC-COOH the longest. If tested, your hair will show up positive for marijuana for up to 90-180 days after your last use. Luckily, with a help of proven effective hair cleansing methods like Macujo and Aloe Toxin Rid Treatment, your chances of passing the hair drug test are reasonably good.
You can check it out for more details in our post “How to Pass a Hair Drug Test for Marijuana – 3 Effective Methods that Can Help You!”.
All of the numbers presented here aren’t set it stone. The reason is that there are many factors involved. Your metabolism affects how quickly your body eliminates THC and as will as the dose. Medical marijuana can be expected to last a shorter time in the body because it has lower THC levels. In addition, if you have a medical marijuana card you have nothing to worry about.
Thank you for reading this post “Using Recreational vs Medical Marijuana – How This Can Affect Your Drug Test Results?” We hope this will help you identify where you stand when it comes to drug tests and help you know the major differences between medical and recreational marijuana.
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