Can You Donate Plasma if You Smoke Weed?

If you like being altruistic and doing good deeds, one of the easiest things you can do is to donate plasma. In case you don’t know what this is, plasma is just the liquid portion of your blood, and it helps support a healthy immune system, liver function, and more.

There are four main components of blood, which include plasma, platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. When plasma is collected, the collection agents extract blood from you, and the plasma is then separated from the other three components. The plasma is kept for use with those in need, and the other three components are returned to you, the donor.

Countless thousands rely on donated plasma and blood to keep them alive in emergency medical situations. Whether due to various medical conditions or massive blood loss caused by an accident or injury, donated blood and plasma save thousands of lives on a yearly basis.

Something you might be wondering is if you can donate plasma if you smoke weed. The simple answer here is that yes, in most cases, donating blood and plasma if you smoke weed is perfectly fine.

There are some nuances to be aware of, which is exactly what we will discuss below. By the end of this article, you should know everything there is to know about donating plasma if you are a cannabis consumer.

Key Takeaways

  •       Can you donate blood if you smoke weed? – Yes, you can!
  •       Can you donate blood if you smoke medical weed? – Absolutely!
  •       Can you give blood if you’ve smoked weed recently? – Yes, you can, but just wait for a couple of hours.
  •       In general, cannabis use does not in any way disqualify someone from donating plasma or blood.

Who Qualifies to Donate Plasma?

Most healthy adults should qualify to be able to donate plasma. If you are a normal adult that has not undergone any major surgeries or has any major illnesses, you should be allowed to donate plasma or blood without any issue.

However, there are some issues and conditions that will disqualify you from donating plasma. It’s much easier to provide you with a list of disqualifying factors rather than tell you who qualifies, so let’s take a quick look.

  •   If you are less than 18 years of age or way less than 110 pounds, you cannot donate plasma.
  •   If you’ve had a recent major surgery, you cannot donate plasma.
  •   If you have either low blood pressure or high blood pressure, you will be disqualified from donating plasma.
  •   If you have ever had or currently have tuberculosis, this is another disqualifying factor.
  •   If you have low blood iron levels or anemia, you cannot donate plasma.
  •   If you’ve had malaria in the last three years, you are disqualified from donating plasma.
  •   Various types of cancer may also disqualify you from donating plasma.
  •   If you have or have recently had some kind of infection and have been taking antibiotics, this may also disqualify you.
  •   A wide variety of prescription medications may also disqualify you from donating plasma.
  •   There are also various other medical conditions, such as hepatitis B, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other health issues that may disqualify you.
  •   If you plan on donating blood or plasma, and you are a cannabis consumer, you have to be sober after the time of donation.

In some cases, you may not know if you qualify to donate plasma until you get to the facility and speak to the collection agents.

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If You Smoke Weed, Can You Donate Plasma?

According to the Red Cross itself, “the use of cannabis does not disqualify an individual from blood donation, but potential donors cannot give blood if their use of cannabis impairs memory or comprehension.” As mentioned above, if you are a cannabis consumer and you want to donate plasma or blood, you have to be sober at the time of collection.

Going back to the issue of impairing memory or comprehension, this would appear to be a bit of a gray area. Being able to test for comprehension and memory issues caused by cannabis use on the spot is extremely difficult and unreliable.

Moreover, it would appear that judging whether or not a person’s comprehension and memory are affected by cannabis is left to the specific plasma or blood collection agent at hand. At this time, it would appear as though there are no standardized methods used to test for memory and comprehension in cannabis users.

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Does the Red Cross Test for THC in Your Donated Blood?

No, the Red Cross, as well as other blood collection agencies, do not test for THC in your donated blood. Donated blood is tested for a variety of infectious pathogens and diseases, such as HIV, among others, to ensure that it is safe to donate.

However, THC or any other cannabinoids are generally not tested for. Therefore, if you are a regular cannabis consumer, the Red Cross or other collection agencies will not be able to tell through their testing methods, as they don’t do THC testing.

The Red Cross, as well as other collection agencies, also do not appear to impose any limits on the amount of cannabis you can consume. Both occasional and regular cannabis consumers can donate plasma and blood as long as they meet other qualifying conditions.

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Why is Cannabis Use Not Disqualified?

The main reason why people who use cannabis are not disqualified from donating blood or plasma is that THC, the main psychoactive compound that gets you high, never ends up getting to the recipient.

THC very quickly binds to the fats in your body and moves to your brain. By the time your blood gets to the recipient, it no longer has any THC in it. It is assumed that the same applies to other cannabinoids.

Therefore, even if you smoke or ingest cannabis on a daily basis, by the time your blood gets to any potential recipient, those cannabinoids should be long gone. This is why cannabis use is not disqualified because it does not affect the recipient.

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Benefits of Donating Plasma

Undoubtedly the biggest benefit of donating plasma is that you end up saving lives. Plasma donations are essential in keeping many people alive, as plasma is required to help treat a variety of liver diseases, and many types of cancer, and it helps treat bleeding disorders too.

Besides doing a good deed, another benefit here is that your blood is always tested before going to a recipient. Therefore, if you have any infectious diseases or anything else wrong with your blood, you’ll find out about it. There are also many collection sites that provide payments for plasma donations, with $50 being pretty standard.

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Side Effects of Donating Plasma

Donating plasma is generally 100% safe and usually only produces minor side effects in some people. Some people experience some dehydration and slight fatigue, and many people also experience some bleeding and bruising at the site of extraction.

There are very rare cases where serious reactions and infections can occur after donating plasma, but these usually never happen. For the minor side effects, getting some rest, water, and food should do the trick. If any serious side effects occur, seeking consultation is recommended.

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Final Thoughts

Barring any other extenuating circumstances, cannabis use alone should not disqualify you from donating plasma or blood. That said, it’s still not recommended to consume cannabis directly before donating, although nobody is going to test for it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Before we wrap things up, let’s quickly answer some of your most frequently asked questions about donating plasma and cannabis use.

Does the Red Cross discourage cannabis consumers from donating blood?

While the Red Cross discourages using heavy doses of cannabis directly before donating, it does not discourage cannabis consumers from donating blood.

Do I need to wait to donate after using cannabis, and if so why?

As mentioned above, THC generally does not get to the recipient, but there is a reason why you should wait after using cannabis. Donating blood or plasma can leave you feeling a bit lightheaded, which cannabis can also cause in some cases. It is recommended that you wait at least a couple of hours after consuming cannabis to donate blood or plasma.

Does the Red Cross ever test blood samples for THC?

No, generally speaking, the Red Cross does not test blood samples for THC or other cannabinoids.

What if I consume high-THC-percentage products like waxes or dabs; does that disqualify me?

The Red Cross generally does not distinguish between various forms of cannabis or between various THC levels or potencies. The Red Cross does not disqualify cannabis users, no matter the type of cannabis being consumed.

Can I donate blood to the Red Cross if I take prescribed synthetic marijuana (the FDA uses the term “synthetic cannabinoids”) or recreational varieties like K2 and Spice?

Whether or not synthetic forms of marijuana are disqualifying factors in donating plasma to the Red Cross is questionable. There are some sources that claim that the Red Cross does not allow blood or plasma donations when the donor has recently ingested or smoked a synthetic form of weed, such as spice.

However, as far as official sources go, the Red Cross itself appears to make no such distinction and does not appear to explicitly disqualify people who take synthetic marijuana from donating blood.

If you are taking FDA-approved medications, such as Marinol, which some people take to help combat nausea from chemotherapy or loss of appetite from an HIV infection, then you are not eligible to donate plasma. However, this likely has more to do with the cancer and chemotherapy, or the HIV, than it does with the medication itself.

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