In no way, shape, or form is consuming any kind of cannabis a disqualification for a blood donation! Blood banks will only refuse intoxicated (cannabis, alcohol, etc.) potential donors. The reason donors cannot be high at the time of drawing is that blood banks disqualify candidates whose state compromises their ability to give an accurate medical history or legal consent.
So far, you’ve gotten the go-ahead to donate but been advised not to consume cannabis right before donation. Cannabis users ought to also beware, however, of ingesting immediately after donation, too. Whiting Out, recognized by paling skin and disorientation or fainting, may occur if users ingest cannabis within two hours of donating.
Popular Quick Reference Questions & Answers
Is donated blood tested for THC content?
Nope! Donated blood is not tested for THC.
Can I donate plasma if I smoke marijuana?
You may! Donor qualifications for plasma do not differ on THC content.
Can somebody who uses topical or tincture marijuana products still donate blood?
Dabs, concentrates, bongs, volcanoes, joints, edibles, etc. etc. etc. — no marijuana product usage disqualifies a donor!
I do not live in a state where marijuana is legal. Is it okay to disclose that I consume?
Yes! Blood donation centers are not in the business of reporting federal or state legal infractions, and medical professionals are briefed on policy governing THC content in donated blood.
I smoked marijuana last night… Can I still disclose that?
That is a question for you! Ethically, you ought to disclose that information and your donation will be refused, because you are considered high or ‘unwell’ up to 24 hours after ingesting cannabis.
Does anyone get hurt if I donate while high?
No! You are considered ‘unwell’ and not eligible to donate if you admit to being high. If you go through with donating anyway, rest assured nobody will be hurt. Blood saves lives. THC content does not preclude or hinder blood’s life-saving properties.
THC in Blood vs Urine (drug testing)
Anyone who has been subjected to a drug test may recall that heavy cannabis use can be detected in urine for up to three months (90 days) after ingestion. This is because THC absorbs into the body’s fats and is excreted through urine. Fats retain THC stores, blood does not – it purges THC quickly. An occasional user shows minimal traces of THC after 24 hours. A regular user will retain traces of THC in blood for 2 – 7 days. Again, THC content does not disqualify a potential blood donor.
International Stances on Blood THC Content
Cannabis science is complex and evolving. The United States is not the historical leader in cannabis research and so facts differ around the world. Many world governments, however, agree with the general policy line taken by organizations like Red Cross. In England, the National Health Service (NHS) does not test for THC in donated blood and does not reject donors on the basis of current usage. For reference, recreational cannabis is popular but still 100% illegal and possession is a criminal offense in the UK. The english academic community is slowing shitfting toward acceptance.
On the sliding scale of cannabis conservatism, the USA and UK are smack in the middle. In April 2018, Canada removed an obligatory 12-hour waiting period required following cannabis use. Canada has essentially admitted that there is no medical reasoning behind barring THCin donations. Other countries and organizations have avoided this explicit admission. Conversely, India considers marijuana a hard drug with addictive qualities that disqualify users from donating blood forever.
Diagnostic Considerations for Donating Blood
Donating entails a short screening process meant to uncover possible disqualifying factors in a donor’s health history. Potential donors answer questions about health procedures, recent travel, and sexual history. All pre-screening diagnostics evaluate suitability for donation, not necessarily overall health. Blood banks do perform a small physical to screen for syphilis, red cell count, and protein levels. Giving blood also requires donors to weigh over 110 pounds and be 17+ or 16 with parental consent (depending on the state). Potential donors ought to review their eligibility, and get to saving lives.