Can you donate blood if you smoke weed?
Since tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive substance and despite being legal in many states, marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I substance according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.). Rules and regulations regarding cannabis use can become extremely confusing and sometimes contradictory for those who partake in the 420 lifestyle. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to do some research to see what is and isn’t allowed for those who enjoy cannabis products regularly. One common question is: “can you give blood if you smoked weed recently?” The short answer is yes. Most adults in good health that weigh at least 110 pounds can donate blood once every 56 days (six times a year). You can still donate blood if you are a user of legal or illegal cannabis, but there are some rules that can disqualify you from donating such as showing up to your appointment blazed (not a good idea anyway). The American Red Cross website states that “the use of cannabis does not disqualify an individual from blood donation, but potential donors cannot give if their use of cannabis impairs their memory or comprehension.” In other words, no hotboxing in the car, taking a bong rip, or eating an edible right before donating blood. Generally, it’s recommended to refrain from smoking for 24 hours prior to the appointment or a minimum of two to three hours.
If you’re using any form of synthetic marijuana, also called synthetic cannabinoids, K2, or Spice by prescription or recreationally, it’s best to call the donation center or clinic prior to your appointment. Decisions regarding synthetic marijuana lie with local centers and may differ from region to region. Always disclose any medications and drugs (legal or illegal) that you have consumed recently.
Does high-THC products like waxes or dabs disqualify me as a donor?
Cannabis concentrates (dabs) like shatter, budder, hash, rosin, THC oil, or crumble are much more potent than dry herb and have a very high percentage of THC. When it comes to donating blood, all cannabis products containing THC are treated equally and clinics or donation centers will not test your blood for this compound. It’s completely fine if you take dabs and enjoy cannabis concentrates as long as you’re not high or have impaired judgment during the donation process. It’s recommended to refrain from consuming any cannabis products the day of the donation or at least a few hours before and after donating both for the safety of the patient and the donor. Blood from a heavy cannabis smoker that is used for transfusion will not trigger a positive drug test for marijuana if the patient gets tested for some reason after the transfusion is completed. This is because THC levels in the bloodstream peak around the 10 to 15 minute mark after smoking and the compounds are eliminated entirely from the bloodstream after roughly two hours. Weed edibles take approximately four hours to clear the bloodstream. Donated blood from a cannabis user will not harm the recipient of the blood if the basic guidelines are followed.
What happens if I smoke right before blood donation?
Please do not smoke weed, eat an edible, take a hit from a vape pen, or dab right before donating blood. Follow the 24 hour guideline to ensure you’re able to save lives with your donation. Anyone who seems like they are under the influence of any substance, including alcohol, prescription drugs, or marijuana, will be turned away by the healthcare providers onsite and will be asked to reschedule their appointment. This is because your answers to the health questionnaire will not be reliable and you’re unable to give consent to donate blood while under the influence. Marijuana and nicotine also slightly increase heart rate and blood pressure, and narrows blood vessels, which can potentially cause negative symptoms for some donors with underlying health conditions or low blood volume. There are no questions about marijuana specifically on the health questionnaire and the blood donated is not tested for THC. Be honest with yourself and don’t lie about your marijuana use, especially if using synthetic cannabinoids, for everyone’s safety. While blood donations from those who smoke cigarettes or nicotine vapes is considered safe for patients to receive and the same quality as blood from a non-smoker, cigarette smokers should also refrain from lighting up the day of or at least a few hours before and after donation. This is because nicotine inhibits how much oxygen red blood cells can carry due to smokers having higher concentrations of carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) in red blood cells. Donors who look or feel sick will also be turned away and asked to return when they’re back to feeling 100% again.
How long do you have to wait to donate blood after using cannabis?
As noted earlier, donors should wait a full 24 hours after smoking cigarettes, using nicotine vapes, or consuming any cannabis products like dabs, edibles, or dry herb before donating blood. If this isn’t possible, the absolute minimum should be at least a few hours prior to the blood donation appointment. Never show up to donate blood while under the influence of any substance including alcohol or marijuana.
Should I use cannabis after blood donation?
No. It’s not recommended to smoke weed or use any cannabis products immediately after donating blood. One pint of blood is taken during donation, which the body will naturally replenish with time. This is why donors need to wait 56 days before donating again. Right after donation, a drink and snack are given to donors to replenish lost fluids and bring blood glucose levels back up. Using cannabis products may increase the risk of dizziness or other symptoms while your body is trying to rehydrate. Wait 24 hours or at least a few hours after donating before consuming cannabis again. It’s also recommended to drink extra liquids for the next day and eat iron rich foods to replenish stores. Also avoid alcoholic beverages and refrain from exercise or heavy lifting for the rest of the day.
Are blood donations tested for various cannabinoids?
No, blood donations are not tested for THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is in charge of determining blood and donor eligibility, not the D.E.A. They do not require any clinics to test for cannabinoids. As noted earlier, THC and other cannabinoids actually leave the bloodstream within just a few hours and if smokers are following the guidelines, there should be no traces of THC left in the blood at the time of donation.
Can I give blood if I take CBD?
Yes, you can! CBD use does not disqualify you from donating blood. Just be sure to follow the same rules that apply to cannabis use. Refrain from taking CBD 24 hours (or at least a few hours) before donating and do not show up under the influence.
Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?
There is no difference between the guidelines for donating plasma vs making a whole blood donation when it comes to cannabis. Smokers are also able to donate plasma if following the guidelines. If you use non-prescription (i.e. recreational) synthetic marijuana, contact your local blood clinic prior to your appointment to see if you are eligible to donate whole blood or plasma. Some recreational synthetic marijuana contains specific anticoagulants that will contaminate plasma and it’s up to the local clinic to decide if you’re eligible to donate or not depending if high levels of this contaminant is found in the region at the time of donation. Synthetic marijuana users that are unable to donate plasma may still be able to donate whole blood.
Now that you’ve read this article, you can stop asking, “can a smoker donate blood?” and start telling all your stoner friends to join you at the blood drive. After donating, why not celebrate with a brand new mini bong, dab rig, vaporizer, herb grinder, weed storage container, or another fun smoking accessory from the EF420 online shop.