It is common knowledge that blood donations can saves lives, but are you allowed to donate it if you use cannabis?
The quick answer is, YES.
Smoking cannabis does not disqualify you from giving blood.
However, the clinic will likely turn you away if you appear visibly high during your appointment.
Every two seconds, a resident of the United States needs blood. An estimated 4.5 million Americans require a blood transfusion every year.
Donating blood is a crucial deed that can save lives. Donating blood is easy to do and it only takes about 10-12 minutes. Many health experts also suggest that donating blood is healthy for the body.
The body replenishes lost blood which improves cardiovascular health, reduces your risk of obesity and cancer. The same applies to donating blood plasma.
Blood banks also need plasma donations. Blood plasma is important for treating trauma and severe bleeding.
What is blood plasma?
Blood plasma is a yellowish liquid component of blood that holds the blood cells, proteins, and other elements of whole blood. When donated blood is left standing, it separates from the plasma after only a short while.
Plasma is critical in helping those who are sick. Blood plasma regulates the body’s electrolytes and prevents infections from occurring as well as the development of blood disorders. Donated plasma encourages the balance of a patient’s protein count. Those proteins can help identify different diseases and treat them.
Thusly, it is crucial for blood banks and hospitals to have a significant supply of plasma as well as regular blood donations.
What is a plasma donation?
During a plasma donation, the liquid portion of the donor’s blood is separated from the cells. Blood is drawn from a person’s arm and is sent through a high-tech machine that collects the plasma. The red blood cells and platelets of the donor are then returned through the arm along with some saline. This process is perfectly safe and takes just a few minutes longer than donating whole blood.
Within 24 hours of being donated the plasma is frozen to preserve its valuable clotting abilities. It can safely be preserved for up to one year and thawed for transfusion to a patient when necessary.
Uses for plasma donations
Medical experts can use plasma to treat different kinds of serious health problems.
Certain elements found in plasma, including the antibodies and chemicals that help your blood to clot, can help treat some ailments like burns and trauma.
Other things that plasma donation can help with include:
- Developing treatments: The antibodies and proteins can be used to develop treatments for rare diseases, including certain immune system deficiencies.
- Cancer: Adults and adolescents with different forms of cancer, such as leukemia, may need plasma transfusions.
- Transplant surgery: Some patients that receive liver or bone marrow transplants need plasma.
- Hemophilia: A rare disorder in which a person’s blood does not have a sufficient number of clotting factors.
What are the guidelines for a blood/plasma donation?
Before you decide to donate blood and plasma, there are some considerations to be had. First and most importantly, only apply if you are generally in good health. In most states, the minimum age to donate is 17 years old. However, some states will allow 16-year-olds to donate assuming they have consent from a legal guardian. People donating must also weigh at least 110 pounds.
People are only allowed to donate as often as:
- Blood every 56 days or 8 weeks.
- Platelets every 7 days with a maximum of 24 times a year.
- Plasma every 28 days or 4 weeks with a maximum of 13 days in a year.
- Red blood cells every 112 days or 8 weeks and up to 3 times a year.
Some important precautions of weed use before donating plasma
You are allowed to donate blood even if you are a cannabis user except you must follow these preliminary mesures:
- Avoid smoking for 24 hours before you donate. This way you should not have any active THC in your plasma.
- Do not ingest any cannabis edibles. Edibles take much longer to exit your system and therefore THC will remain in your plasma for longer.
- If you are high or intoxicated while donating, you could have low blood pressure or hypotension. These sort of conditions will prevent you from being eligible to donate plasma.
Should I donate plasma even though I smoke weed?
Legally, it is perfectly acceptable to become a regular plasma donor as long as you avoid cannabis products 24 hours before the donation. Critics of cannabis may suggest that the blood of a cannabis user is unsuitable for a baby, infant, or toddler. However, there is no evidence to back this theory up. It is important to understand that THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) will no longer be in the plasma or blood by the time the blood is transferred to another person.
Regular vs. Occasional cannabis users
Does all of this information still pertain to chronic weed users? These guidelines for blood and plasma donation do not change regardless of how often a person uses cannabis. Both consistent and occasional users of cannabis can donate blood, as long as they meet all the other qualifications for blood and plasma donation.
While THC does take longer to break down and exit the system of a regular user, it is not possible for a donor-recipient to feel any effects from weed-infused blood. Therefore, the amount of THC in your system is irrelevant.
Forms of cannabis not allowed
You can donate plasma if you have consumed cannabis. However, you cannot donate if you have smoked or ingested a synthetic form of weed.
Synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or Spice, is a human-made chemical with a similar make-up to the marijuana plant. It is an unregulated, psychoactive substance classified under the group called new psychoactive substances (NPS).
Another common synthetic marijuana product is an FDA-approved medication called Marinol. If you are taking Marinol for a medical condition, such as nausea from chemotherapy or loss of appetite from HIV infection, you are not eligible to donate plasma.