Are Cannabis Users Allowed to Donate Blood?

by Haley Mills · February 10, 2023

Are you a cannabis user wondering if you can donate blood? Learn the facts about cannabis use and blood donation. Explore our page to see if you qualify and what restrictions may apply.

can you donate plasma if you smoke weed

If you are a medical marijuana patient or recreational user, you may be wondering if it’s okay to smoke weed and give blood. Read below as we discuss the ins and outs of donating blood and using cannabis products.

Can you donate blood if you use cannabis daily?

You can donate your blood if you consume cannabis. Although many cannabis consumers may think they cannot give blood after smoking weed, nothing prevents you from becoming a donor due to cannabis use.

The Red Cross website explicitly states, “The use of cannabis does not disqualify an individual from blood donation, but potential blood donors cannot give if their use of cannabis impairs their memory or comprehension.” This statement is in regards to legal or illegal use.

Before volunteering at your local blood drive, it could be a good idea to switch to high-CBD strains like Cannatonic, Harlequin, or ACDC. The lower levels of THC may make you a better candidate for giving blood donations.

The American Red Cross website also states that potential donors must not be under the influence of weed while offering donated blood for a potential blood transfusion. Clinics will consider you ineligible if you appear under the influence of cannabis.

Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?

Plasma makes up approximately fifty-five percent of our whole blood volume. Blood plasma is an amber-colored liquid without blood cells, composed of water, vital dissolved proteins, glucose, clotting factors, electrolytes, and other blood parts.

Plasma is essential to the immune system and is critical in blood clotting. Plasma donations help treat clotting disorders, liver disease, cancers, blood disorders, issues with red blood cells, and immune deficiencies.

Your immune system protects the body from disease and infection by attacking harmful germs in the body, like bacteria and viruses. Your immune system has a unique way of telling which objects are foreign and then destroys them accordingly. However, with an autoimmune disease, your immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy organ and tissue cells. Over eighty autoimmune diseases can affect relatively any part of your body and plasma donation can help strengthen immune systems and save lives.

Like blood donations, using marijuana does not disqualify you or contaminate plasma. While various restrictions may prevent you from donating plasma, such as a recent tattoo or surgical procedure, you can still donate plasma if you smoke weed.

The Basics of Autoimmune Diseases

There is no exact cause of autoimmune disorders, and even with all of the studies, they are still reasonably mysterious to the medical world. They tend to pass along genetically from generation to generation, meaning some people are more likely to develop an issue. Viruses, certain chemicals, and other environmental factors can trigger autoimmune diseases in some people.

Being a cannabis user does not disqualify you from donating plasma. While various factors may prevent you from donating plasma, such as a recent tattoo or surgery, you can still donate plasma if you smoke weed.

Autoimmune disease symptoms depend on the part of your body that’s affected. Many types of autoimmune diseases cause inflammation symptoms like redness, swelling, heat, and throbbing pain. The symptoms of autoimmune diseases can flare up and then go dormant. During a flare-up, the symptoms may get severe, and you may have a remission.

Autoimmune diseases can be challenging to diagnose. There’s usually no specific test to show whether you have a particular autoimmune disease, and many autoimmune diseases have similar symptoms, so it can take many doctor visits to find out precisely what is wrong. Seeing a specialist is recommended.

How long should I wait after smoking to give blood?

There is no specific period that you should wait to donate blood or plasma after consumption. However, you cannot donate while your memory or comprehension is impaired by weed. If you are a cannabis user in good health who is not experiencing cognitive impairment, you can donate blood.

Do blood banks test for cannabinoids?

Blood banks are not generally in the habit of testing for THC, or any cannabinoid for that matter. Although you should never show up to have your blood donated while high, no rapid THC drug test can tell if you have the drug in your system.

The Red Cross reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require blood donation centers to test for THC. While THC in your bloodstream won’t directly disqualify you, any visible psychoactive effects of THC could. So, use responsibly and use after your blood bank appointment, not before.

What is a detox cleanse?

While you don’t have to detox, you may want to before donating and that’s okay too! Essentially, a detox cleanses the body of something, in our case, THC. By ceasing the use of weed for an amount of time, the body can naturally flush THC from its system. However, there are ways to speed up the process. Read on to find out more.

This weed detox process can vary in difficulty, depending on usage and genetic factors. The cannabis detox process may present adverse symptoms for daily consumers, including irritability, headaches, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and appetite suppression.

Can I visit a blood donation center after using synthetic marijuana?

Per the Red Cross, the FDA does not have universal guidelines regarding synthetic cannabinoids and leaves decisions about accepting donations from these users to local blood centers. The short answer, they recognize these centers are better positioned to make the call on whether potential donors cannot give blood.

Requirements for Donating Blood & Plasma

A disqualifying factor that may inhibit you from being a blood donor are:

  • Piercing or tattoo within the past twelve months
  • Recent pregnancy or childbirth
  • Recent or current steroid use
  • Weigh less than 110 pounds
  • Have a fever or illness
  • Low iron levels or anemia
  • Traveling to a malaria-risk country within three years
  • HIV or hepatitis infection
  • Under age 16
  • 56 days between appointments

Other Ways to Help If You Can’t Donate

There are many ways to help out besides directly giving blood.

Host a Blood Drive

Blood drives are vital to blood donation, so you could plan and host a blood drive. All you need is ample open space and a way to recruit other qualified blood donors.

Host a Virtual Blood Drive

You can even organize a campaign for a virtual blood drive. Using social media, you can send blood donation invitations to friends and family all over the country. 

Volunteer at a Blood Drive

Check in with your local Red Cross and ask about volunteer opportunities. They may need snacks or beverages donated, or someone will work the check-in stand. 

Make a Financial Donation

Donations to your local blood banks are always appreciated and encouraged. 

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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