September 23, 2021

CBD: Medical Vs. Recreational Use

From reducing seizures to relieving pain, many have found the benefits of CBD life-changing.

Cannabidiol is popular among researchers who are exploring the potential of cannabinoids for medical treatments. And today, CBD does exist in medication form.

However, the vast majority of CBD products out in the world are for personal and recreational use.

Let's take a look at both of these forms of CBD — how they’re different and which type of CBD might be right for you.

CBD In Medical Use

Medical CBD refers to CBD prescription-only medications that have been approved for treating specific conditions. These medicinal CBD formulations are different from the OTC CBD products you can find for recreational use. In the US, prescription CBD-containing products require approval and oversight from medical agencies — such as a state’s medical marijuana authority or the FDA.

Personal-use CBD products are widely available, but are not regulated as prescription medications. Instead they’re considered wellness aids and are regulated by cannabis laws in your state.


There’s only one CBD-based prescription medication that has received FDA approval. This isolate CBD (meaning it contains no THC or other cannabinoids) product is called Epidiolex.

Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD drug out there. First approved for use in 2018, Epidiolex started out as a controlled substance. Since 2020, it is no longer classified as a controlled substance, making it much easier for doctors to prescribe Epidiolex and for patients to refill their prescriptions.

Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex are all types of rare epileptic disorders that may be treated with Epidiolex. These diseases produce frequent seizures in infants and children and can be resistant to treatment. This remarkable new drug can greatly reduce the number of seizures patients have.

Other CBD Meds

Sativex (aka Nabiximols) is another medical cannabis product — though it has not received FDA approval in the US. It is approved by the medical regulatory systems in Canada, New Zealand, UK, and much of the European Union. Sativex is a THC and CBD combination that is intended to treat pain associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The FDA has also approved three synthetic cannabis-containing drugs:

  • Cesamet (Nabilone)
  • Marinol (Dronabinol)
  • Syndros (Dronabinol)

These three medications contain a synthetic form of THC. Cesamet and Marinol are drugs that treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Syndros is intended to treat weight loss and anorexia related to AIDS complications.

Lastly, many states have medical marijuana programs that allow doctors to give you a “marijuana card.” This authorizes you to buy cannabis-containing products from a dispensary. Note that these products are not FDA-approved. But if you live in a state that offers medical marijuana programs, it may be the only way you can access cannabis products like CBD — including CBD products that contain high levels of THC and other cannabinoids.

Incorporating CBD Into Your Medical Plan

If you have a condition that falls under the treatment categories for Epidiolex, you might look into this medication. Aside from that, there is currently no other medical CBD oil for sale, nor is there a medical hemp oil that's been FDA approved.

That being said, there are a lot of other ways to safely incorporate other CBD products into your daily wellness routine.

If you're looking for more of a stress reliever or overall wellness product, you may find that recreational CBD products could help you out. CBD products have helped many people find relief from common ailments like pain and anxiety. Just keep in mind that other CBD products exist as general wellness products, and are not regulated by the FDA.

If you want to look at incorporating OTC CBD into your medical plan, talk to your doctor about your options. For more info on safely using CBD, check out our guide on How to Safely Use CBD With Your Medical Treatment Plan.

Personal/Recreational Use Of CBD

There are many reasons why people take CBD. It’s truly amazing how many different uses there are.

CBD has a lot of research supporting its effectiveness in pain and anxiety relief, sleep support, and more. Many people are taking their wellness into their own hands and trying CBD products for themselves.

Here are some common reasons people take CBD:(1)

  • Reducing chronic pain
  • Relieving stress and anxiety
  • Alleviating nausea
  • Improving sleep
  • Boosting overall wellness

For instance, someone might like the ease of taking CBD softgels daily for an overall wellness boost. Someone else who experiences chronic joint pain might find relief in a topical product like a CBD cream.

Where To Find Recreational CBD Products For Sale

You've decided you want to try CBD for yourself, so where do you find CBD capsules and CBD tinctures for sale?

You have a few options to choose from.

You may find some CBD products for sale in health and beauty stores, or you may need to seek our cannabis dispensaries. The availability of the brick and mortar variety of stores will depend on the CBD laws of your state.

You can also opt to do your CBD shopping online. The great thing about online CBD shopping is that you can get federally-legal CBD shipped right to your door!

Plus, researching a brand's safety and reputation is incredibly easy nowadays in the digital era. Reputable brands will have all their safety and quality info clearly displayed on their websites.

Here's how you can safely choose a CBD product for recreational and personal use.

How To Choose A CBD Product For Personal Use

While you won't find a medical CBD oil for sale (since those are prescription-only), you can still find safe and high quality CBD products for personal use.

Here's how to choose a top-notch CBD oil for yourself.

  • Choose pure and clean CBD. USA-grown hemp is subject to rigorous standards of growth. Opt for organic hemp as well to avoid heavy metals and pesticides in your CBD oil.
  • Lab-tested purity. Know exactly what you're getting in your CBD product through a certificate of analysis. The COA demonstrates the retailer does third-party lab testing to prove there's no junk you don't want in your CBD products.
  • Try nano-optimized CBD. High bioavailability maximizes the effectiveness of your CBD.

Medical Vs. Personal CBD Use: In Sum

CBD is a beloved product among health enthusiasts. It's no wonder why — CBD products are an alternative and natural way to help manage pain, anxiety, and many other wellness concerns without the side effects many prescription drugs have.

Epidiolex is the one FDA-approved prescription CBD currently out there, and has very limited criteria for treatment usage. There are other natural and synthetic CBD medicinal products in research, development, and/or available through medical marijuana programs.

A wide range of CBD products used for personal wellness are available, though. When you're shopping for CBD, it's important to do your research on the retailer and product offerings so that you get what you need from your CBD product. And, of course, only buy the best CBD products available.



  1. Caporuscio, J. (2020). 7 benefits of CBD oil. Medical News Today.



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