Illinois Medical vs Recreational Cannabis – What’s The Difference?

Medical Cannabis VS Recreational Adult Use Programs

In Illinois, if you are a medical cannabis patient with a valid card, you save significantly on taxes when purchasing cannabis products. The current Illinois sales tax rate for recreational adult use is 10%. However, the sales tax rate for medical use is only 1%. Taxes on concentrated products can have taxes as high as 41% and savings that result from being a medical patient plus Illinois taxes can save you as much as 60% on products. In other words, the card can pay for itself after just several months and most doctors will approve you for up to 3 years. Think of it as a medicine membership that is accompanied with substantial tax savings like other medical discount programs.


To obtain a medical card in Illinois, you must be seen by a qualified marijuana doctor who can certify that you have one of the qualifying conditions set by the Illinois Department of Public Health. A few reasons why someone may seek out a card are to save money on taxes,  stronger strains of products since medical-grade cannabis, and most importantly guidance from a qualified medical provider on use as well direction for consumption and titration.

Patients usually get preferential treatment versus recreational users at dispensaries and can possess more cannabis than recreational users. Medical patients take precedence over rec users. Overall, getting a medical marijuana card has some great benefits that qualifying patients should consider taking advantage if they have a qualifying condition.

What is the difference between recreational adult use of marijuana and medical cannabis in Illinois?

In Illinois, recreational marijuana and medical cannabis are both legal but regulated separately. However, there are some essential differences between the two. Recreational marijuana is only available to adults over the age of 21, while medical cannabis can be prescribed to patients of any age with a doctor’s certified recommendation.

If you are 18 years old and have a qualifying medical condition you do not need parental consent to be authorized for your card. Many patients between the ages of 18-20 aren’t aware that they are allowed access to marijuana dispensaries without having to tell their parents or get their approval.

In most cases, they are afraid of discussing cannabis as a medicine with their parents and unfortunately avoid it altogether. Due to HIPAA compliance, medical providers are legally obligated to not disclose patient information even to the adult child’s parents. This advantage has been actually empowering many 18-20 years olds to take control of their healthcare and explore if medicinal cannabis is right for them as an alternative medicine.

Differences between Illinois medical cannabis VS recreational

Recreational marijuana adult use programs and medical cannabis patients programs each have their own pros and cons. Recreational marijuana is subject to limits on potency and THC concentration, while medical cannabis can be more potent and have higher THC levels. In order to get a medical cannabis card, patients must visit a doctor and either receive a diagnosis for a qualifying symptom or be previously diagnosed.

First, let’s describe what a medical cannabis card allows you to do:

A cannabis card certification allows patients to register with their state in order to legally enter a dispensary, purchase, and consume medical cannabis legally. To get a MMJ card, patients must first obtain a certification from a licensed physician. Once they have the certification, they can register with their state’s medical cannabis program. The registration process can vary from state to state, but most require patients to submit an application along with their medical records and proof of residency. After registering, patients will be issued a medical cannabis card which they can use to purchase medical cannabis from licensed dispensary operators.

Is it possible to get the same-day medical card risk-free in Illinois? 

Yes, it absolutely is with certain medical clinics in Illinois. Not all medical clinics are off same-day cards but 1body1life wellness cannabis clinic can approve you on the same day as your consult so that you can enter any Illinois dispensary with ease. 

In order to purchase recreational marijuana, customers must present a valid ID at a licensed dispensary. Medical cannabis patients must have a valid medical cannabis card in order to purchase their medicine. Medical cannabis can be used to treat a wide variety of symptoms.

A medical cannabis card has many different names, some of which have been created by the general public, patients, regulators, or the medical community.

What are some other popular names for a medical cannabis card?

Medical card
Marijuana card
Medical Marijuana Card
Cannabis card
Medical marijuana card
Cannabis Patient ID
Med card
MMJ card
Medical Marijuana Identification (MMID)
Weed card
Pot card
Chronic card
Grass card

Canna card
420 card
Indica card
Sativa card
Cannabis sativa card
Cannabis ID
Marijuana ID
Patient registry card
Cannabis patient ID
Marijuana patient ID
Medical Cannabis ID cards
Marihuana card

People can call them whatever they prefer but ultimately that doesn’t change what they allow a person to do and that’s to buy medical cannabis at a state-approved medical dispensary.

Since the cards are state issued they could also be used as a form of state-approved identification when necessary.  

If you are considering altering any existing medical treatments it’s imperative to discuss those changes with a healthcare provider first to be safe.

medical cannabis VS recreational Tips

Tips on how to get a medical cannabis card quickly:

  • Talk to your doctor first; If he isn’t certified to authorize approval of your card then find a cannabis doctor who is. In order to get a medical cannabis card, you will need to obtain a certification from a licensed healthcare provider. The doctor can help you determine if medical cannabis is right for you and can provide you with the necessary certification. You must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition or will need a diagnosis confirming a qualifying medical condition.
  • Educate yourself. Knowledge may lead to decisive empowerment in the decision making process. It is your body and how you treat it dictates its output results. Research your state’s program so you understand what is involved: Each state has its own medical cannabis program with different rules and regulations. It is important to research your state’s program in order to understand the process of applying for and obtaining a medical cannabis card.
  • If you don’t have a primary care physician, gather the necessary documents and/or medical records and set up an appointment with the medical cannabis doctors at 1bodylife Wellness cannabis clinic and get certified today.

Remember, your “health is your greatest wealth” and when you feel great most things in your life seem to improve. That being said, before making changes to your medical treatment consult with a physician and make sure you are honest about what you are experiencing. Do not alter your existing prescribed treatment without discussing with a qualified healthcare provider. It may be dangerous to do so. There is nothing to be ashamed about and as a matter of fact you should applaud yourself for taking action that can benefit your well being.

Article reviewed by:

Dr. Richard Koffler

Richard Koffler, MD

NPI Number- 1467557264

  • Dr. Koffler is a Physiatrist, specializing in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 
  • Graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in 1993 Dr. Koffler completed a one-year internship in internal medicine at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. 
  • Residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute at NYU Medical Center in New York City. Board certified in 1998. 
  • Trained in acupuncture at Helms Medical Institute at UCLA His medical practice incorporates proven conventional western medicine integrating eastern alternative practices. 
  • Medical Director of several medical clinics in NYC, Stamford CT, and Miami Beach, FL.

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