Donating blood helps millions of people every year, and cannabis users are certainly among those who want to contribute to this noble cause. The good news is that those who smoke weed can donate blood, as long as they aren’t high at the time, and that blood banks aren’t required to test for THC in the bloodstream.
Why Donate Blood?
A blood donation is one of the most direct “gifts of life” you can give. It only takes about an hour to do but provides the ability to help those who are injured or sick in a number of ways.
According to the AABB, a global organization that focuses on developing standards and implementing systems in transfusion medicine and cellular therapies, blood donations are used in many ways. They include:
- Red blood cells are used for trauma and surgical patients
- Plasma from blood is used for patients who have blood clotting issues
- Blood platelets are also used to clot the blood when cuts or other open wounds occur, and “are often used in cancer and transplant patients.”
Smoking Weed and Blood Donations
The federal government does not require blood banks to test for the presence of THC in the bloodstream of donors. However, several blood banks told Leafly that people cannot come in to donate blood if they are under the influence of marijuana.
For example, a representative of Bloodworks Northwest said that using cannabis “does not affect a person’s ability to be a blood donor.” That changes if a person is “under the influence as determined during the donor screening process.” Blood banks 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 American Red Cross does not test for THC in the bloodstream of potential donors. The organization told Leafly it also does not accept blood from those who intoxicated, but that “legal or illegal use of marijuana is not otherwise a cause for blood donation deferral.”
Prohibitions Against Donating Blood
Clearly, cannabis users can donate blood if they are not currently under the influence of THC or any other substance.
The American Red Cross offers a detailed list of issues related to blood donations on its website. While cannabis use does not prohibit people from donating blood, the organization does provide a list of situations where you should never donate blood.
They include having ever had a positive HIV test, having “used needles to take any drugs not prescribed by your doctor,” or having had syphilis and gonorrhea in the past 12 months.
The American Red Cross recommends that donors get a good night’s sleep before donating. They also suggest a good meal and drinking plenty of fluids at least two hours before donating blood.
You can donate blood if you smoke weed. Just don’t be under the influence at the time. Also, make sure to read the American Red Cross guide on giving blood. If you meet the criteria, donating blood is a wonderful way to help your fellow human beings.