Donating blood is one of the most honorable ways to give back to society. In order to ensure quality donations, medical extraction facilities closely adhere to guidelines that are designed to determine if a candidate is “healthy” enough to donate blood.
Many people assume that smoking weed automatically disqualifies them from donating blood. After all, marijuana compounds are known to linger in the bloodstream, and drug tests rely on the medium when checking for traces of the herb. But does this mean that cannabis enthusiasts can’t contribute to their local blood drive? The short answer is no (yes, you can donate blood).
Things to Consider
Before you fire up your bong and head to the nearest blood extraction clinic, there are some things you should consider. First, blood centers do not test for THC levels before the process, but you may be asked if you’ve recently used marijuana. Representatives may reject your donation or turn you down during registration if you’re visibly high. To prevent this from happening, try smoking weed a couple of hours after finishing the rigorous extraction process.
“Chances are the average person wouldn’t have much of a problem smoking cannabis after giving blood. However, cannabis does lower the blood pressure (hence the reason it is useful for treating glaucoma) and therefore, as you will have lower blood pressure after donating blood, some people will likely feel light headed, a few may well faint, or in certain cases (most likely those with low blood pressure issues before donating blood) have a seizure – all are caused by low blood pressure,” said Jake Elliot from Quora.
Next, for patients using medical marijuana to treat serious medical conditions, such as cancer, there is a possibility that one could get rejected for being ill (again, not because THC is present in your blood). On a side note, facilities test donated blood for infectious diseases that can be transmitted during transfusion. These prerequisites have been verified by both the American Red Cross and a donation center affiliated with America’s Blood Centers.
Blood Donation Barriers
There are several reasons why blood banks reject candidates during registration. Such instances include the following:
- Pregnant or gave birth in the past six weeks
- Tattoos: Up to 12 months for tattoos acquired from unregulated facilities.
- Injection of illegal substances: This qualifies as a lifetime ban from all forms of blood donation.
- Traveled to a country where malaria is prevalent (mostly African regions): One year, starting from the date of application. If you contracted malaria and have completed treatment, facilities may put your donation rights on hold for up to three years (American Red Cross standards).
Lastly, if you’ve ever used intravenous drugs on an unregulated, recreational level (for example, some athletes use IV for recovery), you would be disqualified from donating blood forever. This policy was created to prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis.
This post was originally published on June 23, 2016, it was updated on March 15, 2017.