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Can You Donate Blood If You Smoke Cannabis?

All around the globe medical communities are constantly running drives to get more and more people donating blood on a regular basis. Relying on the generosity of voluntary donors; every donation made has the possibility of saving a life. On average each donation affects the lives of 3 or 4 people, so blood donors can be considered to be heroes in their own right.

The cannabis community is often known for its generosity, so it’s no surprise that a common question being asked within donor clinics is “I have recently smoked/or I am a regular smoker of marijuana, am I still able to donate blood?” You may be surprised and relieved to know that the answer is yes, you can still donate.

Why THC Doesn’t Disqualify You from Donating

Health organizations only requirement is that you aren’t under the influence of marijuana whilst the transfusion is being made, with clinics being advised to turn anyone away who appears to be high. Bloodnetworks Northwest released the statement: –

Cannabis use does not affect a person’s ability to be a blood donor unless they are assessed to be under the influence as determined during the donor screening process. We cannot accept blood from anyone who is intoxicated with alcohol, cannabis, or prescription drugs because of the possibility of an unreliable history and the inability to give consent for the draw. The FDA does not require testing for THC either at registration or during testing for blood borne pathogens which all donated/collected blood receives.”

For regular cannabis users THC can stay in the bloodstream for up to a week after use, however this amount is reduced to very small concentrations after only three hours and blood that is donated with any amount of THC content has been proven to not get the recipient “high”. So just refrain from smoking for at least 3 hours before entering the clinic to be sure your blood isn’t declined.

What Factors Do Affect Blood Donation?

So now we know that smoking cannabis doesn’t prevent you from donating blood, but before you head down to the clinic then it is worthwhile checking the reasons that can stop you from giving blood.

The general advice from most clinics is that they will only accept blood from fit and healthy individuals between the ages of 17 and 65 that weigh more than 8 stone (or 50kg). There are certain factors that will prevent you from donating blood depending on where you are in the world, it is worth checking with your local clinic but these will range from:-

  • If you are feeling ill/taking medication or currently receiving medical treatment – If you have a cold or chesty cough it is advised to wait until you have fully recovered and if you are taking medication or antibiotics it is recommended to wait up to 14 days for them to clear from your bloodstream (it does depend on the type of medication however). If you have received any medical treatment in the past 12 months it is worth checking your eligibility;
  • If you are pregnant – You cannot donate blood if you are currently pregnant. You also may not ever be able to donate blood if you received a blood transfusion during pregnancy;
  • If you have had a tattoo/body piercing – Most clinics won’t let you donate if you have had a tattoo or piercing within the last 12 months. Some piercings are okay depending on where on the body they are situated;
  • If you have had an organ transplant or blood transfusion – The majority of countries and clinics require you to wait up to 12 months after giving or receiving an organ as part of a transplant or receiving a blood transfusion. Different transplants and transfusions fall under different categories so it is worthwhile checking with you doctor;
  • If you have left your country of residence within the past 12 months – This does depend on your current location and where you have travelled to. This rule generally applies if you have travelled to a country where malaria is prevalent;
  • If you have ever injected drugs – If you or a partner has ever intravenously used drugs then you will be unable to donate blood for life, even if it was a long time ago or you have only done it once. This includes recreational drug use, body-building drugs such as steroid and any injectable tanning agent;
  • If you have the following diseases – If you or a sexual partner you have had relations with is: – HIV positive, a Hepatitis B or C carrier, HTLV positive or has ever had treatment for syphilis.

Please note this list is exhaustive and will depend on the clinic you are donating to. It is always good to check any reason you may think will prevent you with your clinic prior to attending.


Reasons Why it is Good to Give Blood

For obvious reasons blood is beneficial to the recipient of a blood transfusion; not many people know however that there are multiple benefits to donating blood.

  • It saves lives – Quite obviously most people’s main reason for donating blood. Unforeseen accidents occur where an emergency transfusion is complete necessary to save somebodies life. Due to the differing blood types (A, B & O etc..) it is important that as many people are regularly donating blood as much as possible.
  • Improves mental/physical health – If the initial satisfaction of knowing you are doing a good deed to help saves lives doesn’t give you a mental boost then knowing that it has been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks, aide liver function and prevent cancer.
  • It burns calories – On average each donation with burn around 650kcal in total, the number of calories in the average meal.

The marijuana community is generally renowned for its peaceful and altruistic nature so it’s no surprise more people are donating blood than ever. I believe this amount could be increased if more people knew that they are able to donate only a couple of hours after consuming cannabis. So hopefully reading this has inspired you to donate yourself and to get any friends you have on board as well.