Can You Donate Blood If You Smoke Weed?
This question comes up a lot, since us pot smokers are inherently generous people, but it still seems to be a wonder: can you donate blood if you smoke weed?
Straight to the point: Yes. That is correct, you can smoke weed and give blood, but there are some caveats and some misconceptions to the whole ordeal itself, since donating blood is not something for everyone. Among all the other things seemingly floating about in wonder when concerning the question can you donate blood if you smoke weed, first things first: ask your freaking doctor. I know potheads, cannabis consumers, and medicinal weed users all probably feel a level of laziness or mistrust (given high levels of paranoia attached to weed consumption), asking your medical professional should be the number one, first priority before you do anything else—yes, even before rolling up a second joint to smoke.
Deducing the necessities in blood donation is a simple process that can easily be done by purveying any documents provided by the Red Cross, or any other donating services out there, or as I said earlier, by asking your doctor. The most common of deductions by many specialists in the field is, simply put, you can be a marijuana user and still give blood, you only must not be high when actually donating. Digging far deeper into these claims, let's unravel just what these necessities for donating blood are, and how they come into effect when discussing this very question: can you donate blood if you smoke weed?
American Red Cross
Since many have begun to see marijuana as medicine, it comes as no surprise that the American Red Cross would raise the very same question, can you donate blood if you smoke weed. Found in a Common Questions about Donating Blood pamphlet:
"While the Red Cross does not encourage the use of controlled substances, marijuana or alcohol use does not necessarily disqualify you from giving blood as long as you are feeling well. If you have EVER injected any illegal drugs, you can never give blood." – American Red Cross
There's also the Eligibility Requirements found on the American Red Cross web page that gives a complete diagnosis of what you need, health-wise, in order to be allowed donation procedures. You can also email them if you have any added questions on the donation of blood and their overall procedures.
Blood Donating Companies
Other than the Red Cross, there are actually many different blood donating services and companies that have also raised this very same question. More than not, their responses have seemingly mirrored those of the Red Cross, like Cascade:
"Blood Banks do not test for THC. Unfortunately, I cannot provide any advice to give a cannabis user who would like to make a donation. Sorry I could not help you more." – Cascade Regional Blood Service
There's also the likes of Bloodworks Northwest:
"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." – Bloodworks Northwest
So, can you donate blood if you smoke weed? The answer is yes, but not unless you are actually high amid the process. Or, in other words, don't go to your next blood drive high as a satellite, or they will immediately kick you out!
Showing Up High
Relatively frowned upon by practically every single donation service, arriving at the facility baked out of your mind is just an easy no-no when asking can you donate blood if you smoke weed. It's totally fine if you do it regularly and completely safe to donate, as you've read above, but showing up high or even drunk is not acceptable.
For one, you're intoxicated when high, which means your overall ability to discern concepts extremely diminishes. There's also the possibility for an increased form of "hypotension," which I will discuss later on. Simply put, if you're high on marijuana, you won't be eligible to donate. But, wait, what are the eligibilities in the first place?
Being a pothead might be one of your concerns in questioning can you donate blood if you smoke weed, but what about the actual necessities for blood donation? Well, to begin with, you have to be at least 17 years old, weigh over 110 pounds and, most obviously, be in good health (like an avid blood pressure, for starters).
The trouble with Mary Jane is that the whole "good health" thing may come into question. Yes, while the variety of blood donation companies do explicitly state that marijuana use is not of their major concern, one's health (beyond the simply blood-related) goes hand in hand with the selection process following your donation. So, in all actuality, you can give blood being a pothead, but will your blood actually be used is still up for debate...
America's Blood Centers
However, this major consideration in what can prevent you from donating blood may actually not even be of concern at all. An affiliate of the wide-ranging America's Blood Centers, Bonfils Blood Center in Denver, says:
"The purpose of testing donated blood is to detect infectious diseases that are transmissible by transfusion. Donated blood is not tested for THC."
This means that, while the testing processes to put into question your blood work's overall discrepancies, THC is not among them. That's a good thing when wondering can you donate blood if you smoke weed, since blood banks are the major places that then decide if your blood is even of use. The blood center goes on to say:
"Bonfils Blood Center, as is the case with many other blood centers across the industry, does not defer donors for marijuana use unless the donor is visibly impaired or has another condition for which he/she is using medical marijuana such as cancer which would preclude him/her from donation."
One of the more obvious disqualifying factors in donating blood is if you have had any history of narcotic abuse, such as if you've injected any illegal drugs. IV drugs, in particular, are immediately considered disqualifying attributes for donees, but can you donate blood if you smoke weed? Yeah, just don't show up to the facility high.
Beyond this, a few more things can necessarily disqualify you from donating, like a tattoo applied within the past year, in addition to international travel within the past 12 months. If you're pregnant or just had a baby, donating blood is out of the question, but other than these various stipulations you're pretty much good to go.
In the evolution of cannabis consumption, one particular factor of note that has yet to change entirely is how cannabis can lead to what's called a "white-out," wherein a user loses focus, balance, and may even faint upon extreme marijuana use. Now, this isn't at all holistically dangerous, unless of course you're experiencing this due to a combination of marijuana consumption and blood donation.
You see, donating blood can also lead to the same feeling, "orthostatic hypotension," which pertains to the rapid drop in blood preserves your body holds, in addition to your remaining in a lying position for a long period of time. When wondering can you donate blood if you smoke weed, take this into heavy consideration, as while it may not seem all that dangerous, it can be highly injurious and should simply be avoided at all costs.
Aftermath of Donation
If any blood banks do end up diagnosing your blood as non-usable or unaccepted after donating, don't take this wrong way, nor think it's a negative sign in answering can you donate blood if you smoke weed, because it means a variety of things all not simply negative.
First of all, if you do smoke marijuana on a continuous and regular basis, the liver's enzymes may not have metabolized and transformed the psychoactive THC into the non-psychoactive 11-nor-9-Carboxy-THC, which takes several hours. Also, repeating the concerns of hypotension, if you feel dizzy or faint at all after donating blood: sit, relax, and drink lots of water, plus consume sugar. If you're an athlete as well as a pothead, don't go doing physical activities after donating, because this could lead to extreme injury.
When gazing at the blood donating concepts in overseas countries, like the UK and Australia, much of what we know about this question, can you donate blood if you smoke weed, is sort of up in the air. Australian Red Cross states as follows:
"Maybe. It depends on the type of drug and how and when it was taken. If you have ever injected drugs not prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, even once, you’re not eligible to donate."
In the UK, however, while the guidelines do state not to give blood if "you have ever injected, or been injected with, drugs," intoxication upon arrival is unspecified. Both Australia and the UK offer little in the form of specifically mentioning marijuana, but it may also depend on the particular bank, as well. Both countries' guidelines do, however, disallow alcoholic intoxication, which may in itself also include marijuana, but again it all depends on the donation company and particular country.
When to Donate
Though it may not directly involve the question of can you donate blood if you smoke weed, wondering when exactly is best to give blood is extremely necessary for grappling with the entire donating process.
For starters, American Red Cross states that the best thing to do is to go during summer months, as very few people actually donate during this time, since vacation times and such come into dispute. So, instead of smoking that fat ass blunt on the sun-drenched roof of your home, drag you and you friends down to the nearest donation spot and give some blood. One donation can save up to three lives, which is enough incentive to get out there and be a hero.