8 FAQs Before You Donate Blood If You Smoke Weed

donate blood check

Donating blood saves lives. But did you know while there are some factors that can disqualify someone from giving blood? And smoking weed does not disqualify someone from donating unless high while donating. 

Approximately every two seconds a person will need blood, according to the American Red Cross. In the United States, about 6.8 million people participate in blood drives each year. Marijuana users should not feel discouraged from donating blood. Donating blood once can save up to three people. It can help people who need blood from a car accident or someone with sickle cell disease.

donate blood image of doctor holding phone
Cannabis smokers can donate blood without worrying about it getting tested.

Research shows that approximately 23.5 percent of the responding donors expressed that using any form of weed was acceptable to use before donating. Cannabis users can donate as long as they’re not impaired. 

Can I Still Donate While High on Weed?

People can still donate if they use marijuana. The question is “if you can go to the blood bank while high and still give blood?” Maybe you get anxious because of needles or just the thought of blood makes you uneasy and therefore you might want to get high before going.

But this is not recommended. Don’t give them your arm if you’re high. The blood bank might turn you away, so you must stay sober. It is safer to just not intake any weed that day if you want to give blood. 

How Long Do I Wait to Give Blood
After Using Cannabis?

There is no recommendation on how long people have to wait before each use. It is just recommended by the Red Cross, to not show up if your memory is impaired or are confused. 

As long as the person is sober then it is okay to give blood. It just depends on how long the weed high lasts for you.

Multiple factors might make your cannabis high last longer than you want. It could depend on how much cannabis is consumed or how strong the weed is. Other factors are the person’s metabolism or tolerance. The more weed they consume the longer the high lasts. That is also true for strong marijuana products.

So may be sparking up before isn’t a good idea.

How Strong Can the Weed Be?

The marijuana product you use can be however strong you want. It does not matter as long as it does not impair your memory or comprehension. Before you go to the blood drive, it was recommended to not smoke that day at all.

The tolerance a person has, and other factors might decide how strong you want your cannabis to be. People who use cannabis products are most likely to have a shorter weed high than someone who is not a regular user. 

A regular user will also have more tolerance for a stronger weed than someone who hardly smokes at all. Another factor that might contribute to a person’s decision is the method they decide to use marijuana. While some like cannabis flowers, others may prefer weed edibles or vapes.

If I Smoke Weed Will The Person Receiving My Blood Have THC In Their System, Too? 

If you are worried that the person receiving your blood will fail a drug test, the answer is no. It will not affect the transfusion recipient at all. While weed does not affect the transfusion recipient other substances will.

Medications That Disqualify Donation

Some medications prohibit people from donating — acne medications like Accutane, Absorica, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret, and Zenatane. Other medications like Finasteride and Dutasteride can also disqualify you. If you have psoriasis, you might want to check your medications and make sure you are not taking Soriatane. If you are and still want to donate, it is recommended to stop using it before doing so.

People who take blood thinners should also be awry before donating blood. If you are taking Arixtra, Coumadin, or heparin, it is recommended to wait seven days before you donate blood.

Will Blood Banks Test for THC?

The Red Cross will not test for THC. According to the FDA, it is not required to test for THC if someone donates and uses cannabis. Something that can be concerning is the use of synthetic cannabis. According to the Association for the Advancement of Blood and Biotherapies, there are several cases of severe bleeding for those who use synthetic weed.

Synthetic cannabinoids are known as fake weed, fake pot, spice, K2, KD, OMG, Matrix, or Mr. Happy. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Synthetic cannabinoids are made by humans using chemicals to create this “fake weed.” It is not recommended to take them when donating blood at all. The blood banks will not let you donate blood if you do use it. 

If You Used CBD Can You Still Donate? 

You can still donate if you have used any CBD product. You can also take it the same day as it does not provide a euphoric effect. 

CBD and THC are two compounds of the cannabis plant. THC is the compound that gives the consumer a high feeling. CBD does not give the consumer a high feeling. 

People might CBD because it can provide relief from pain, inflammation, nausea, migraines, depression, IBS, or mental disorders. It has also been approved by the FDA to help with seizures. THC can help people who deal with pain, insomnia, nausea, and anxiety. According to a study by Dr. Hepler and Dr.Frank, weed can help people who are dealing with glaucoma. The Red Cross will not test for CBD either. It will also not affect the transfusion recipient. 

What Disqualifies You From Donating Blood?

Someone who uses weed will not disqualify someone from donating blood but other factors might. According to the Red Cross website, these are some of the factors that will disqualify someone.

  • A person cannot donate if they are injecting illicit drugs
  • A person cannot donate if they have received a tattoo or piercing in the past year.
  • They can also not donate if they had a blood transfusion or organ transplant in the past year.
  •  A person who has a bleeding condition should be cautious.
    • If your blood doesn’t clot normally or you are taking blood thinners, you will not be able to donate,
  • If you previously have had leukemia or lymphoma, you cannot donate. 
  • You cannot donate if you are under 110 lbs.
  • You cannot donate blood if you are pregnant
    • It is recommended to donate after six weeks of the date of birth. 
  • A person cannot donate if they have AIDS or have tested positive for an HIV test.
  • If a person is on antibiotics, it is recommended to not donate.
    • They need to make sure that if the person has a bacterial infection that might transfer to the recipient of the blood.
  • Age: You have to be 17 years old to donate. Some who are 16 can also donate but they must get parental or guardian consent.

Be sure to discuss these factors at the clinic you are donating blood. 

Things To Consider Before You Go

A person using any cannabis product can donate blood. They must be sober when they donate blood, or they will be turned away. It is recommended to not consume any marijuana products that day to prevent memory impaired or no comprehension. Reconsider your smoke sesh if you tend to get and take in consideration your smoke plan

People can also donate blood if they use any CBD products. The transfusion recipient will not be affected if you used weed when donating blood. The FDA does not require blood banks to test for THC. If you use synthetic cannabinoids it is recommended to not donate because it can be dangerous. Mostly anyone can donate as long as they are healthy and do not check for any disqualifying factors. 

References —

  • Borodovsky, J. T., Crosier, B. S., Lee, D. C., Sargent, J. D., & Budney, A. J. (2016, October). Smoking, vaping, eating: Is legalization impacting the way people use cannabis? The International journal on drug policy. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010515/.
  • Can you donate blood if you use cannabis? Can Cannabis Users Donate Blood | Red Cross. (2020, September 16). Retrieved from https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage/news/article/can-you-donate-blood-if-you-use-cannabis-.html.
  • Can you donate blood if you use cannabis? Can Cannabis Users Donate Blood | Red Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.redcrossblood.org/local-homepage/news/article/can-you-donate-blood-if-you-use-cannabis-.html.
  • Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. (2018, June 29). Safety communication on synthetic cannabinoids. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/safety-availability-biologics/important-information-blood-establishments-regarding-brodifacoum-contamination-synthetic.
  • Commissioner, O. of the. (2018, June 25). FDA approves first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms.
  • Eligibility criteria alphabetical listing. Blood Donor Eligibility Criteria | Red Cross Blood Services. (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2021, from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/eligibility-requirements/eligibility-criteria-alphabetical.html.
  • MG;, A. K. D. B. (2021, July 22). Perceptions on acceptability and reported consumption of marijuana by blood donors prior to donation in the recreational use state of Colorado, USA. Vox sanguinis. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34291819/.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021, July 9). Synthetic cannabinoids (K2/spice) DrugFacts. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cannabinoids-k2spice.
  • Orrange, S. (2020, March 24). Donating blood: These medications that may affect … – goodrx. Medicine & Health. Retrieved from https://www.goodrx.com/blog/these-7-medications-can-prevent-you-from-donating-blood/
  • Reasons people don’t give blood. University of Maryland Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.umms.org/ummc/community/blood-drives/reasons-people-dont-give-blood.
  • Robert S. Hepler, M. D. (1971, September 6). Marihuana smoking and intraocular pressure. JAMA. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/338934?redirect=true.
  • Russo, E. B. (2011, August). TAMING THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/.
  • US Blood Supply Facts. Facts About Blood Supply In The U.S. | Red Cross Blood Services. (n.d.). Retrieved October 28, 2021, from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/how-blood-donations-help/blood-needs-blood-supply.html.