Can You Donate Plasma If You Smoke Weed?
Photo by Nguyễn Hiệp
Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?
Donating blood or plasma is a selfless act that has the potential to save somebody’s life. An estimated five million Americans receive blood transfusions annually for various reasons. Yet there is consistently a shortage of available blood and plasma, especially for rarer blood groups.
If you’re thinking about donating blood or plasma, you may be worried about your cannabis use. This guide will discuss whether smoking your favorite herb can disqualify you from donating.
Can You Donate Plasma if You Smoke Weed?
Donating plasma can be done with the intent to save a life or be compensated for your time and energy. Over time, the restrictions on who can donate have been loosened to replenish the nation’s plasma stocks.
An estimated 53 million plasma donations occur annually, but as more states move to legalize marijuana, where does this leave you if you’re looking to donate? There’s much confusion, with people asking, “Can you donate plasma if you smoke at all?”
In short, marijuana use doesn’t disqualify you from donating. The only rule is that you cannot show signs of intoxication while donating. The reasoning is that you can’t consent to the donation.
In this section, we answer questions like “Can you smoke weed and donate plasma?” and “Do they drug test when donating plasma?”
Do They Drug Test You Before Donating Plasma?
Do plasma centers test for drugs? In short, no, they don’t.
You’ll be asked about any drug use, legal or otherwise, and you’ll be expected to answer honestly. Admitting to drug use won’t disqualify you or result in you taking a drug test unless you admit to taking intravenous drugs.
Your arms will be visually inspected for track marks due to the risk of infectious diseases, such as HIV, resulting from needle use.
Many people are surprised at the answer to “Do plasma centers drug test?” but why they don’t is two-fold. They want to encourage more donations, and most drugs don’t compromise the quality of the blood extracted, so smoking weed or holding an MMJ card isn’t an issue.
Can You Donate Plasma if You Smoke Cigarettes?
Approximately 30 million Americans smoke cigarettes, and while it puts them firmly in the minority, no rules state that you cannot donate plasma if you smoke cigarettes.
Since smoking has no potential to pass diseases to a potential blood recipient, tobacco use won’t impact your eligibility.
On the other hand, you are asked not to smoke for at least 30 minutes before your donation to avoid accelerating your heart rate and blood pressure. So, can you smoke after giving blood? Of course, you can, but it’s recommended that you wait at least 30-60 minutes before lighting up.
Beware that some conditions caused by smoking cigarettes could disqualify you from donating. Some of these disqualifiers include:
- Cancer – You can’t donate if you’re being treated for cancer or have had certain types of cancers, such as leukemia. If you have previously had cancer and are now in remission, you’ll need to wait one year after your final treatment to become eligible to donate.
- High Blood Pressure – The center will measure your blood pressure during your appointment. Your appointment must be deferred if your blood pressure is too high while donating. This is for your own safety.
- Heart and Lung Disease – If you have symptoms of any heart or lung condition, you cannot donate. Moreover, if you have experienced a stroke or a heart attack, you must wait at least six months before becoming eligible to donate again.
If you’re unsure whether you are an ideal candidate for blood or plasma donation as a cigarette smoker, speak to your local donation center over the phone or contact your doctor.
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Can You Donate Plasma if You Smoke Delta-8?
Experts may have expressed some worry regarding the effects of Delta-8 THC. However, the substance falls under the same category as smoking ordinary marijuana.
Since THC passes through your bloodstream and into your brain, nothing will be passed to any blood recipient.
As with conventional marijuana, you cannot be high while donating, as you are not considered in the right frame of mind to consent adequately.
Can You Donate Bone Marrow If You Smoke?
Every year, 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses that require a bone marrow transplant.
Sadly, these types of donations are lacking, which is why the medical community is calling for suitable donors. Due to a lack of eligible donors, this is often a challenge.
Luckily, smokers can donate bone marrow regardless of their smoking status. Typically, the only requirement is that you are aged between 18 and 44 and are in good health.
Again, you cannot be under the influence of cannabis while donating.
Can You Drink Alcohol After Donating Plasma?
It’s strongly recommended that you avoid drinking alcohol for eight hours after giving plasma. While there’s no risk to your health by drinking anyway, the effects of alcohol become amplified because there’s less blood in your system to dilute the alcohol.
Many donors are shocked that one or two beers can cause them to become blindly drunk after a plasma donation. For this reason alone, stay away from alcohol after a blood donation for the rest of the day.
Can You Smoke Weed After Donating Plasma?
Yes, you can. Like alcohol, nothing stops you from smoking cannabis after donating plasma. However, be prepared for the effects to be amplified.
With less blood in your system, you will become more susceptible to the effects of inhaled THC, meaning you may get high faster and experience a more potent high than you’re used to.
Avoid smoking for at least eight hours if you’re worried about the effects.
Photo by Nguyễn Hiệp
What Precautions Should You Take When Smoking Weed After Donating Plasma?
Generally, you should aim not to smoke at all on the day of your donation. But if you are using medical marijuana for a diagnosed condition, this may not be an option for you.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s strongly advised that you avoid smoking for a minimum of three hours before and after your donation.
Due to the stress of plasma donations on the body, you may find your usual strain hits harder than usual. For this reason, stick to a low THC strain or smoke less than you usually would.
Note that you will not be able to donate plasma if you are already intoxicated at the time, which is why experts advise against smoking when you donate at all.
What Should You Do Before Donating Plasma If You Smoke?
Most experts recommend not smoking on the day of your donation at all. However, if it is necessary to light up, avoid smoking two to three hours before and two to three hours after your plasma donation.
Other than that, follow the same guidelines as any other donor, such as eating a meal before donating, staying hydrated, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Protect Yourself – Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card Today!
Smoking weed and donating plasma in the United States is a complicated issue. Thankfully, smoking weed won’t disqualify you from becoming a donor.
As always, you must be aware of the smoking laws in your state. For this reason, if you have a qualifying condition, it’s wise to possess an official medical marijuana card.
To learn more about the qualifying conditions for MMJ cards or to determine whether you qualify, schedule your appointment with Green Health Docs today.
This article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.