How good is medical marijuana compared to street quality stuff?

Just curious. How does medical marijuana stack up quality wise to what you can buy on the street?

According to this paper from the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, in 2003 there were 27 states (including DC) with some sort of medical marijuana provision. Many of these states have only authorized therapeutic research programs, and only 6 of those are operational. 13 states have physician prescriptions. Of those 13, 1 has specified NIDA as the only legal source, 4 have authorized pharmacies, 7 specify home cultivation, and 1 is silent on the issue.

So, in those last 8, the supply is as good as you can get, basically. There are hundreds of strains for which seeds are available on the Internet. One state relies on the National Institute for Drug Abuse, which is widely reputed to provide a terrible product, and reluctantly at that. The “pharmacy only” states, AFAICT, do not specify a source, and I don’t know if any marijuana is actually available there.

I hasten to add that just because a state has a legal provision for home cultivation of medical marijuana does not mean that those who do cultivate it are safe from prosecution. It’s a tangled web.

I don’t know about other states but here in California there are tons of medical marijuana dispensaries and the rules are really lax (if you have the card you can get up to some obscene amount, like an ounce a week - way more than anyone could possibly consume). So a lot of the stuff “on the street” is just medical marijuana being sold off for a profit by people who got cards one way or another. Caveat: I’m not insinuating this is how all or probably even most of the illicit traffic originates, but it’s a pretty common practice.

According to the guys I work with (I’m in California), it’s all one-hit shit. That’s all you can buy. As far as I understand it (getting salient information from a guy who’s snapped a few bongloads requires patience and finesse, and the quality of the information can oftentimes be tenuous at best) it’s all bud; the growers just throw the leaf material away or make hash out of it.

I saw a TV documentary about ten years ago (It may have been 60 Minutes or 48 Hours) where some consumers of medical marijuana complained about how lame it was. Maybe things have gotten better in the meantime?

I’m curious about this: when the provision of marijuana for medical purposes came into being, the ‘quality’ of the dope then was certainly far removed from the stuff that is available on the streets nowadays. So, if someone is using THC for medicinal purposes, why should it matter to them that they are getting the ‘old’ stuff as opposed to the new-fangled genetically-enhanced shit?

Like, if the old stuff worked to alleviate their pain, cancer or glaucoma, why should they be wrangling over the new stuff?

I don’t get it. :confused:

As someone who has sampled it from both types of sources, I can tell you that through either channel, you can choose from a range of quality levels. Better stuff costs more. Prices from the dispensary and private dealers are comparable. Bottom line: no difference.

It will be interesting to see what happens to prices should California legalize the drug in November.

Don’t know anything about medical marijuana, but there have always been different qualities available, depending on who you knew & how much you were willing to pay.

The meme that all the old stuff was weak & all the new stuff is super weed was invented so ex-potheads could “Just Say No” to their kids. Rather than communicate honestly with their children about drugs, they can just preach absolute abstinence. (And when their kids discover pot is no big thing, they might decide that their parents are liars & other drugs will also be relatively harmless.)

So the old -weak / new-strong claim is an urban legend?

It’s identical. People who sell to dispensaries generally also sell to illegal dealers.

It’s probably more of a suburban legend.

I disagree with a lot of the information I see above (not just the quoted post). However, I think that it’s probably because I live in the Northeast and most of the comments seem to be about California.

So, according to my “sources” it’s no myth that there are stronger strains now than there used to be back in the 60s. The amount of information and technology available to growers is miles away from where it used to be. My primary sources on this are a bunch of aging musicians I work with -some of whom quit for a decade or so before starting again and some who never stopped.

I found this article that actually contradicts me. However, the article actually contradicts itself by pointing to this graph that clearly shows a steady increase in the potency of marijuana seized over the years.

Oddly enough folks seem to want to refute this data by saying that the stuff seized in the 70s was not representational of the actual potency of marijuana out there. I think this is bull, and besides there is still a steady climb upwards from the 80s through today.

And back to the OP, which has barely been addressed for some reason, while “street” marijuana will always range from complete crap to the most potent stuff around, medical marijuana strains are always highly potent. So you’re basically guaranteed good stuff by shopping around medicinally.

However, as has been said, some of the medical stuff has shown up on the street, so the best stuff on the street is medicinal. Although, some growers can match the potency of medicinal strains now, so the best stuff available uh… over the counter… is starting to match up to the prescription strength.

Also, potency is important to talk about, but so is quantity. If you smoke enough crappy street weed you’ll have about the same result as smoking the medicinal stuff.

It’s kind of like asking which Vodka will get you more drunk: watered down Majorska or straight Grey Goose? If you drink enough of the Majorska, you aren’t going to care.

So are all the growers hard at work developing strains that provide the medical benefits without getting the users high?

What does this mean? You can only smoke it once? (And how would smoke-it-twice work?)

I think he means that it only takes one hit to get the user high. I was confused by the wording too.

You inhale one puff, instead of 2 or 3 or 4 or 50000.

I don’t have the expertise to say this with certainty, but it’s my understanding that researchers trying to remove the “high” feeling are tinkering with the final product, not the plant. In other words (someone please correct me if this is wrong), smoking the plant will still get you high but taking the pill (or whatever) will not.

Yep, one hit to get you wasted, as opposed to the 10 – 15 hits of the old brown Columbian stuff we had back in the 70’s. Kids these days have it so damn easy.

Don’t you mean “to treat the symptoms of your properly diagnosed medical condition”? :wink: