Donating plasma is a choice often made out of a desire to help others or a desire to be compensated for this donation. In either case, the recipients of plasma can continue their medical therapy. A common question we hear is, can you donate plasma if you smoke weed? Let’s take a closer look together. The Red Cross does not disqualify cannabis users from blood donation. Learn more about donation eligibility and how you can help.
Can You Donate Plasma If You Smoke Weed?
Donating plasma is an individual choice that is often made out of one of these two reasons: a desire to help others by providing vital and under-sourced medical fluids, or a desire to be compensated for this donation. In either case, the recipients of plasma can continue their medical therapy. A common question we hear is, can you donate plasma if you smoke weed? Let’s take a closer look together.
Who Qualifies To Donate Plasma
In Canada, all individuals 17 years of age and older are able to donate plasma . If you are between the ages of 17-23 there are specific height and weight requirements for first-time donors. Many profile factors can disqualify you from donating plasma, such as having an infection (antibiotics), certain medical diagnoses (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hepatitis B), and geographic deferrals (disqualified based on living in a certain location). These rules are changing to allow more individuals to participate in plasma donation.
Cannabis does not disqualify individuals from donating plasma in Canada. However, cannabis intoxication (like alcohol intoxication) will disqualify an individual from donating as they are considered to lack the capacity to consent. The previous 12-hour waiting period after use has been scrapped in favour of in-person screening. Therefore, using any form of cannabis in your past does not disqualify you.
Why Is Cannabis Use Not Disqualified?
The THC in cannabis is the substance that provides the “high”. THC quickly binds to fats and is moved to the brain , thus does not pass on to the recipient of the plasma. Also, a potential added benefit for the donor is that with less blood, the same amount of marijuana can get you higher post extraction. Of course, it is best to take it slow to avoid smoking too much and experiencing adverse effects.
Benefits Of Donating Plasma
Moreover, one of the benefits that most overlook in donating plasma is testing. All blood products are vigorously tested, and donors will be informed of their status if any infectious agents are found. Most collection sites also provide an average payment of $50 per extraction. Collection sites have limits on how much and how often a donor can donate plasma. This relates to both the donor’s health, as well as the increased extraction time that compounds the more often extractions are performed.
Side Effects of Donating Plasma
Overall, donating plasma is a safe experience for most individuals. Professional extraction sites will use sterile instruments and environments. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “for most people, donating plasma does not cause any side effects, but some donors can experience fatigue, bruising, bleeding, or dehydration.” Nevertherless, they do note that serious infections or reactions can occur after donating, but are rare. For these minor side effects , food, water and rest are indicated. If more serious complications arise, seek medical attention.
Time to Get Informed
In Canada, you can donate plasma as a cannabis user as long as you are sober at the time of donation. For plasma donation, the side effects are generally minor overall. Compensation is available for plasma donation; however, due to the amount of time necessary between extractions, it should not be considered a reliable revenue stream. If you are looking for more information about the connection between cannabis and health, head to the Parkdale Brass blog ! For more cannabis education, hop on over to our Instagram ! Remember to visit The Parkdale Brass shop to peruse our current offerings.
Can You Donate Blood If You Use Cannabis?
Below you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions about cannabis use and blood donation.
Some key points:
- The use of cannabis does not disqualify an individual from blood donation, but potential donors cannot give if their use of cannabis impairs their memory or comprehension.
- The Red Cross does not test blood donations for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the principle psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Does the Red Cross discourage cannabis consumers from donating blood?
A: No. The Red Cross encourages all eligible donors who feel well to make an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
Q: Do I need to wait to donate after using cannabis, and if so why?
A: There is no data that specifies how long an individual should wait between cannabis use and blood donation. Please do not present to donate if your use of cannabis is impairing your memory or comprehension.
Q: Doesn’t the Red Cross have to follow guidelines put out by the Drug Enforcement Administration—the same agency that classifies cannabis as a Schedule One drug?
A: Eligibility to donate blood is regulated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The FDA does not require blood collectors to test for THC.
Q: Does the Red Cross ever test blood samples for THC?
Q: What if I consume high-THC-percentage products like waxes or dabs; does that disqualify me?
A: No. Again, we ask that you do not present to donate if your use of cannabis is impairing your memory or comprehension.
Q: I’m a heavy cannabis consumer. Can a transfusion recipient fail a drug test if they receive my blood?
Q: 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?
A: The FDA does not have universal guidelines regarding synthetic marijuana (a.k.a “synthetic cannabinoid”) and leaves decisions about the acceptability of donations from these users up to local blood centers. This is because they are in the best position to know if disqualifying contaminants have been turning up in their areas.
Whether the synthetic marijuana you take is a prescribed medication or a recreational variety, our best advice is to contact our Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276.
Q: Do different guidelines apply to cannabis or synthetic marijuana consumers who want to donate platelets or plasma specifically?
A: For a cannabis user donating platelets or plasma, the guidelines are the same as they are for donating whole blood.
For synthetic marijuana users, there are concerns that some varieties of non-prescription synthetic marijuana have been found to contain certain anticoagulants known to contaminate plasma.
Policies about accepting whole blood, platelets or plasma donations from recreational synthetic marijuana consumers are currently set by each local blood center. Those policies vary depending on whether or not contaminants have been turning up in their areas.
If you are a recreational synthetic marijuana consumer who wants to donate plasma, we strongly suggest you contact our Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center at 1-866-236-3276.