The Differences Between Medicinal Cannabis and Black Market Cannabis

Exploring the key differences between medicinal cannabis and black market cannabis, including legality, safety, and intended use.

While some people might assume that there are no differences between medicinal cannabis and black market products, there are significant distinctions that are important for patients to understand.

Medicinal cannabis, as the name suggests, i used to treat specific health conditions under the supervision of a healthcare provider. They are produced and distributed through tightly regulated channels and are subject to rigorous quality control measures to ensure their purity and safety. These natural medicines are made from specific strains of the plant that are bred to contain high levels of certain compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that have shown promise in treating certain health conditions.

Quality & Regulations

New Zealand has the strictest quality standards and regulations in the world when it comes to regulating medicinal cannabis. As a result, the legal products available in New Zealand are some of the highest-quality natural medicines in the world. Black market flower, on the other hand, is often laced with other substances, such as pesticides, heavy metals, or even other drugs, that can be dangerous or even deadly.

Initially, the tough regulations meant there were only a handful of legal products available to patients. However, there are now plenty of medical cannabis products available for doctors to prescribe. Many of these medicines are now comparable to black market prices but are of much higher quality.


In terms of safety, there are major differences between medicinal cannabis and black market products. There is no regulation or testing on the black market, customers are essentially relying on their dealer or green fairy to be honest with how they grow and process their products. When these products were tested independently, the results were concerning. The contents of the products tested were vastly different to what the seller was claiming and most products did not provide an effective medical dose.

Plant Growth Regulators (PGR) are a real issue on the black market. Flower grown with PGR can potentially contain dangerous carcinogens. Check out this article here on how to identify PGR flower.

Medicinal cannabis is also available in a variety of forms, including oils, flower, and edibles, that make them easier to dose and consume. Black market flower, on the other hand, is typically sold in its raw, unprocessed form, which can make it difficult to measure and dose accurately.

Supported by doctors

Medicinal cannabis is prescribed by doctors which means you get a legitimate treatment plan, plus the support and care of a medical professional behind you. Your doctor will work with you to find the right medication and help you to understand the treatment but most importantly help to ensure your treatment is both safe and effective.

Self-medicating with black market flower or oils is much less likely to be effective as you do not know if you’re getting a therapeutic dose or if you’re using the right strain or cannabinoid for your specific medical condition. You should not seek or take onboard medical advice from unregistered suppliers like green fairies.


One of the key differences between medicinal cannabis and black market cannabis is their legality. Medicinal cannabinoids are legal in many parts of the world, including New Zealand but they are only available to patients who have been approved by a healthcare provider and have obtained a prescription. Black market flower, on the other hand, is illegal and is sold on the street without any regulation or oversight.

Why we recommend avoiding the black market

If you have a legitimate medical reason for using cannabis medicines or flower then there is no benefit to sourcing your medicine on the black market. Products may be cheaper but as sample testing has shown, black market products don’t provide an effective therapeutic dose.

Remember that even though medicinal cannabis and black market products are derived from the same plant, there are significant differences between the two. Medicinal cannabis is produced and distributed under tight regulation and is intended to treat specific health conditions, while black market products are sold on the street and used recreationally. Natural medicines are also subject to rigorous quality control measures that ensure their safety, while black market flower is often laced with dangerous substances.

Getting a prescription

Getting a prescription is no longer difficult and expensive for eligible patients in New Zealand. If you have been self-medicating for a legitimate medical condition, or you’re interested in learning more about medicinal cannabinoids, it’s worth having a conversation with one of our friendly doctors about transitioning to medicinal cannabis. Visit our homepage and click “Get Started” to begin the eligibility questionnaire and book your first consult.