There is an FDA-approved medication called Marinol that has man-made THC in it. If you are taking Marinol for a medical condition, such as nausea from chemotherapy or loss of appetite from HIV infection, you would not be eligible for blood donation. If you have taken Marinol and do not have a pre-existing medical condition, you would not be deferred, as it is FDA-approved.
While blood donation centers are no longer in a state of emergency, there is still a critical need. Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood, yet only 10% of the eligible population — which is less than 38% of Americans — donates.
In July 2019, the American Red Cross reported an emergency need: blood donations were going out to hospitals faster than they were coming into donation centers.
Here is what the American Red Cross said when we asked about cannabis use and donating blood: Yes, you can donate if you’ve smoked marijuana. However, you cannot donate if you’ve smoked or ingested a synthetic form of the drug.
The basic eligibility guidelines state that you must be at least 16 years old with parental consent in some states or 17 years old without consent in most states, weigh at least 110 pounds and have not donated in the past 56 days.
Synthetic marijuana — also known as K2 or Spice — is a human-made chemical with a similar make-up to the marijuana plant. It is classified under the group called new psychoactive substances (NPS) and is considered to be an unregulated, mind-altering substance.
So, if you have smoked or ingested non-synthetic marijuana, are otherwise in good health and meet the basic donation guidelines, you can donate.
There is one final stipulation to note. While it is OK to have medical or recreational cannabis in your system, if you are under the influence of the drug at the time of donation, you will be deferred. That rule goes for licit and illicit drugs and alcohol.
Want to make sure you get a safe form of marijuana when purchasing it? Here are 25 things you should know before buying it.
Less than 50% of Americans are eligible to donate blood at any given time, so it’s helpful to know your reasons for ineligibility.
So you want to donate blood, but you’re a heavy smoker. Can you still be a generous human without giving up the sweet leaf?
For now, the answer overall seems like a “yes.” But if you’re squeamish or anxious at the thought of getting lit before surrounding yourself with volunteer nurses, maybe chill on the J till after they’ve sucked you dry.
The long answer? Yes, you can still donate, but it’s a little complicated.
This is because no blood bank will accept a donation from someone under the influence of anything if intoxication is detected during the donor screening process. Whether it’s alcohol, marijuana, or another drug, the banks need you to be sober when consenting to have them draw blood. Therefore, if you’re toasted out of your mind while donating — and thus not really able to consent safely — most blood banks will not accept your red.
There are two questions here, really: “Can I donate blood if I smoke weed, in general,” and “Can I donate blood if I smoke weed that day.”
The short answer? Yes, you can still donate if you smoke.
OK, so you’re at the local blood bank or Red Cross and you want to give blood, but then you remember you were ripping bongs with your friends the previous weekend. Can you still donate? Or is it an issue that there’s still traces of THC swimming around in your body? Will your bud-tainted blood harm whatever patient inevitably receives your plasma?
When you smoke, most of the cannabis (80-90%) is excreted within 5 days as hydroxylated and carboxylated metabolites. So if you’re a light smoker and wait a few days, there’s a good chance your blood will have very low-to-negligible cannabis levels. Even if you’re a heavy smoker, marijuana is absorbed mostly through your tissues, and excreted mainly through urine. While blood is the delivery method for all those tissues, what you’re imbibing is spending most of its time elsewhere in the blood or metabolizing in your blood.
Technically, injectable drugs are what blood drives are really on the lookout for, since those increase patients’ chances of contracting a serious bloodborne illness. But all blood is tested before its given to patients, so donating doesn’t automatically mean your blood will be used.