Can You Donate Blood and Use Cannabis?
There are many reasons why people decide to donate blood, and its impact is immeasurable to helping others and potentially saving lives. People with severe injuries, transplant patients, and those battling cancer are in need of blood every day. If you have been considering becoming a donor, it’s important to understand any rules and requirements before donating if you use cannabis.
Many common questions that patients have about donating blood have been answered by the World Health Organization and Red Cross, but sometimes they will leave further restrictions up to the local donation centers if it hasn’t been specified in their requirements. Regardless if you are medical marijuana patient or not, not adhering to the following lists could prevent you from becoming a donor:
What Disqualifies You From Donating Blood?
- Donation frequency: Every 56 days, up to 6 times a year*
- You must be in good health and feeling well**
- You must be at least 16 years old in most states
- You must weigh at least 110 lbs
What Disqualifies You From Donating Plasma?
- Plasma donors should be at least 18 years old
- Plasma donors should weigh at least 110 pounds
- Must pass a medical examination
- Complete an extensive medical history screening
- Test non-reactive for transmissible viruses including hepatitis and HIV
- Follow a recommended diet including 50 to 80 grams of daily protein
Can you Donate as a Marijuana User?
In short, yes, you can donate blood no matter how frequently you medicate. There is no legal restriction on the ability to donate blood if you medicate, and the Red Cross does not test for THC. However, they do state that “potential donors cannot give if their use of cannabis impairs their memory or comprehension.”
Some donation centers will also prevent you from donating if you consumed recently enough for it to show up on a drug test, but it varies depending on the facility. Patients may face health issues that prevent them from being able to donate. For example, cannabis use can lower blood pressure, and you can be disqualified from donating if you have the possibility of passing out during the extraction process.
Additionally, cannabis can thin your blood, and excess blood loss can cause dizziness and could be problematic during the process of donating blood. There is no recommended wait time between medicating and donating blood, and no matter how often or how much you medicate, your donation will not cause the recipient to fail a drug test.
Marijuana Use and Plasma
If you have looked into becoming a blood donor, you may have also looked into being a plasma donor, which are just as important. Plasma carries water, salts, and enzymes. The main role of plasma is to take nutrients, hormones, and proteins to the parts of the body that need it. People who have severe liver disease or are prone to blood clots are the most in need of plasma.
Plasma donations may be more restricted for cannabis users, but typically disqualification happens when there’s potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens, getting a tattoo or piercing, or using non-prescription drugs. It is important to note that if you are a user of synthetic cannabis, you may be disqualified from being able to donate plasma. According to the Red Cross “there are concerns that some varieties of non-prescription synthetic marijuana have been found to contain certain anticoagulants known to contaminate plasma.”
The Bottom Line
The Red Cross ultimately relies on donor honesty when it comes to answers about their marijuana use. But, if you’re still unsure if you qualify to donate blood or plasma, contact your local blood donation center, since some have their own requirements. If you’re wondering how cannabis can help improve your holistic health, visit us at any of our 6 locations and our professional bartenders can help you get started.