Donating blood is a timeless and selfless act. But what if you are a cannabis user? Can you give blood safely? And are there any rules against it?

In general, the good news is that no blood donation network will automatically prevent you from donating if you have used cannabis before. They do have strict guidelines about showing up sober. Other than that however, there is no blood bank cannabis test.

BLOOD BANK RULES ARE DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU ARE

All blood banks are on the lookout for certain kinds of warning signs. For example, blood donors everywhere are asked about transfusion history. Needle exposure is always a concern. This includes heroin users, but it also includes those who inject steroids. Tattoo history is sometimes questioned. You could be disqualified as a donor if you got your tats from an unregulated facility. Being pregnant or having just given birth are also disqualifiers everywhere. So is major surgery. Expect to also be asked about health issues related to HIV and unprotected sex.

AND WHEN IT COMES TO CANNABIS?

In the US, blood banks basically only care if you are sober, and have not been exposed to either dirty needles or unprotected sex. Your blood will be tested for iron levels. Your blood pressure will also be taken. There is no cannabis test in the US for blood donation. According to the Red Cross, “Presenting donors must be generally healthy and feeling well at the time of donation. Potential donors should get a good night’s sleep, eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids at least two hours prior to donating.”

In Europe, however, this is very different. In places like Ireland, where even acupuncture can be a disqualifier from donating, the rules vary by state. There are some European countries which do ban blood donation if you test positive for cannabis. Here it is seen as a “blood contaminant.” For example, Norway forbids pot smokers from donating. In fact, you must have abstained for a year before giving blood again.

Check with your local authority and your doctor before you donate blood to see what the local requirements are.

Blood donation cannabis

WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?

The populations that blood banks everywhere really want to exclude include those who have been exposed to dirty needles, those with a contagious, blood borne disease, and those with certain substances in their blood (including mothers and those with antibiotics in their blood from recent surgery).

Other than that? Be sober. Be responsible.

Very simple.

SHOULD I DONATE BLOOD IF I USE CANNABIS?

Blood donations are an important part of one’s civic duty. If your conscience calls you, go for it.

That said, the weed you smoked could make it into the blood supply. It might end up being given to a child or nursing mother. Because cannabinoids can also affect metabolism and blood flow, this is not just about you anymore.

As a rule of thumb? Don’t smoke right before donating if you are a recreational user.

If you are a medical user, always ask your doctor. Remember, you might be disqualified on other grounds.

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