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Does Medical Marijuana Card Show Up on Background Check?

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in LawFebruary 09, 2021

medical marijuana 

Legalized marijuana is a controversial subject for many. States vary widely in their position on legalized marijuana, even for medicinal purposes. Years ago, the question was easy, possession of any amount of marijuana for any reason was a crime and in some cases a misdemeanor and in others a felony charge.

What is Medical Marijuana?

Since the partial legalization of marijuana, medical marijuana has helped thousands of patients deal with cancer, relieve pain and other symptoms due to treatment or conditions requiring the healing effects. Doctors in many U.S. states can legally write a prescription for the purchase and use of medical marijuana for various illnesses, conditions, and treatment programs. 

Medical marijuana is no different than the kinds used for recreational enjoyment. All marijuana is made up of more than 100 chemicals called cannabinoids. According to WebMD “Each one has a different effect on the body. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the main chemicals used in medicine. THC also produces the “high” people feel when they smoke marijuana or eat foods containing it.”

Current studies are researching whether to use medical marijuana for other issues like:

  • Crohn’s disease.

  • Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Multiple sclerosis (M.S.).

  • Cancer.

  • Eating disorders.

  • Appetite loss.

  • Nausea.

  • Seizures.

  • Epilepsy.

  • Glaucoma.

  • Muscle spasms.

  • PTSD.

  • Schizophrenia.

  • Other mental health issues.

More research is needed before the FDA or the DEA will change their stance on medical marijuana. However, initial research shows promising results with the easing of pain, lessening nausea, and relaxation. Other noticeable positive effects are reduced inflammation, reduced anxiety, stimulation of the appetite, and killing cancer cells or slowing the spread or growth of cancer cells. 

How to Use Medical Marijuana?

You can take medical marijuana in a few different forms. The first and most obvious is that you can smoke it. Some shops also sell it in gummy or candy form. You can purchase it and inhale it through a vaporizer, apply it to your skin in an oil or cream, or put it under your tongue. The effect takes longer if you eat it or apply it to your skin. If you smoke or inhale it through a vaporizer, the effects are instant. 

medical marijuana effects

Although medical marijuana has many positive effects on those patients who take it, there can be some adverse effects as well, such as:

  • Depression.

  • Dizziness.

  • Low blood pressure.

  • Hallucinations.

  • Bloodshot eyes.

  • Speeding heartbeat.

  • Paranoia.

How Many States Have Legalized Medical Marijuana?

About two-thirds of U.S. states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical use. Although it is used to treat various illnesses and conditions, the FDA has only approved medical marijuana for two types of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

The U.S. federal government and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still view marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, akin to heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Therefore, regardless of state laws, the federal government views possession as a crime. There has been talked in the DEA about reclassifying the drug to a Schedule II like Ritalin and oxycodone. 

There is also the question of perception. Many view medical marijuana cardholders are addicts who are simply abusing the system. When the truth is that very ill people use medical marijuana to ease their pain and suffering, and it has been shown to help quite a bit with various ailments. 

If you use medical marijuana for your health and apply for a job that requires you to undergo a background check, should you be worried that it will show up and your personal medical information will be shared with total strangers?

Do Medical Marijuana Cards Show Up on a Background Report?

Thankfully, medical marijuana cards are treated like other medical records and are subject to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws. Therefore, unlike your driver’s license number and other licenses, certifications, permits, and cards, a medical marijuana card will now show up in a background check.

Medical marijuana cardholders do not have to worry that their personal medicinal use of medical marijuana will be exposed in any kind of background check. This not only applies to employers but also government agencies and law enforcement, so you don’t have to worry about exposure there either. If you apply for a government job and they require a background check, your medical details will remain private.

Thanks to HIPAA laws, your health and medical information stay private, and only in extreme cases is it ever exposed to anyone other than you and those you have authorized. In some cases, researchers may be able to access your health information on an anonymous basis to compile statistics related to groups of individuals. However, rest assured, your personal information is safe and sound.

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