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Can You Give Blood If You Smoke?

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), nearly 5 million Americans receive blood transfusions each year.

There are many reasons why someone could need a blood transfusion, such as:

  • a severe accident or injury
  • surgery
  • diseases or conditions such as anemia and hemophilia

The blood that’s used for this important procedure is collected through the process of blood donation. Donating blood is a great way to help someone who’s in need of a blood transfusion.

When you donate blood, you’ll need to answer some questions about your health, lifestyle, and travel history to determine your eligibility.

Does smoking disqualify you from donating blood? Read on to learn more.

Smoking cannabis doesn’t disqualify you from giving blood. However, the clinic is likely to turn you away if you show up to your appointment visibly high.

In a statement to Healthline, the American Red Cross said: “While the Red Cross does not encourage the use of controlled substances, marijuana, cigarettes or alcohol use does not necessarily disqualify a person from giving blood. Potential donors cannot give while under the influence of licit or illicit drugs or alcohol. Legal or illegal use of marijuana is not otherwise a cause of deferral.”

Smoking cigarettes in and of itself doesn’t disqualify you from donating blood.

If you smoke and you want to donate blood, plan to refrain from smoking on the day of your appointment — both before your appointment and for three hours afterward.

Smoking before your appointment can lead to an increase in blood pressure. This may disqualify you from donating. Smoking afterward may lead to dizziness.

In the United States, possible disqualifiers can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • using illicit injection drugs
  • using injection drugs not prescribed by your doctor, such as steroids
  • feeling sick or having an acute infection on or before the day of your appointment
  • being pregnant or having given birth within the past six weeks
  • receiving a tattoo or piercing within the past year
  • getting a blood transfusion or an organ transplant in the past year
  • having HIV or testing positive for hepatitis B or C
  • having had leukemia, lymphoma, or other cancers of the blood
  • having had the Ebola virus
  • having an inherited blood clotting disorder
  • being a man who’s had sexual contact with other men within the past year

It’s important to discuss these things when you arrive at the clinic to determine if any of them apply to you.

Medications

Using certain medications may temporarily disqualify you from donating blood. They include:

  • acitretin, a drug used for severe psoriasis
  • blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and heparin
  • dutasteride (Avodart, Jalyn), which is used for enlarged prostate
  • isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis), an acne drug
  • teriflunomide (Aubagio), which is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS)

Depending on the medication, you may have to wait anywhere from two days to three years after your last dose until you’re eligible to donate blood again.

In rare cases, having used certain medications will permanently disqualify you from donating blood. This includes human pituitary-derived growth hormone and the psoriasis drug etretinate (Tegison), both of which are now banned in the United States.

Travel history

Your travel history can also determine whether you’re eligible to donate blood. You may be subject to a waiting period if you’ve recently traveled to a country with a high risk of malaria, such as Brazil, India, or parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

You may not be eligible to donate if you’ve spent an extended amount of time in places where variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is found, such as many countries in Europe. vCJD is a rare condition more commonly known as “mad cow disease.”

Having previously received a blood transfusion in France or the United Kingdom, both areas where vCJD is found, would also make you ineligible to donate.

Even though smoking doesn’t disqualify you from donating blood, it can eventually lead to conditions that can be disqualifiers for blood donation. These can include:

  • Cancers. You can’t donate if you’re currently being treated for cancer or if you’ve had leukemia or lymphoma. People who’ve had other types of cancer may need to wait one year after successful treatment.
  • High blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high at the time of donation, you may not be able to donate.
  • Heart and lung disease. If you’re actively having symptoms of a heart or lung condition, you’re not eligible for donation. Additionally, if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, you may need to wait up to six months before donating.

There are certain stimulants and drugs that can disqualify you from giving blood, but can you donate blood if you smoke? In many cases, the answer is yes. Learn more about the factors that determine whether you’re eligible to give blood. We'll tell you what you can do and how you can be a donor, even if you do smoke.

Can you donate Plasma if you smoke weed

In these uncertain and ever changing modern times it is more important than ever that caring and compassionate individuals act selflessly in a real effort to help and heal one another. To that end it is still extremely true that blood donation services are currently and are always in need of donations. With medical marijuana use becoming far more common in Canadian society and recreational use recently legalized more and more people are partaking in the community of cannabis smoking and becoming regular marijuana user.

Unfortunately because of the negative stigma attached to marijauana over the years due to it being categorized unfairly as a harmful gateway drug many users assume wrongly that their current or even past cannabis use disqualifies them as a blood donor. At Haute Health we care about the health and safety not just of our customers but of everyone in our greater community, our Country and around the globe. To that end we think it is important to help dispel the harmful myth that cannabis users cannot donate blood, plasma, platelets and other lifesaving selfless medical services to Canadian Blood Services.

Why Should You Give Blood?

There are a vast wealth of reasons why it is a good idea to become a blood, plasma, platelet or other medical service donor for Canadian Blood Services! Your blood or plasma could very well save the life of someone in your city, country or community and provide a much needed lifeline to someone in need. The need for blood donations spikes at several times throughout the year – most notably at holiday times such as the Christmas and New Years season when people are usually otherwise preoccupied with their busy lives and holiday plans – but there is never a bad time to become a donor as the need for donations is constant year round.

Every sixty seconds in Canada somebody is in desperate need of donated blood. From newborn babies and their mothers experiencing complications during the birthing process and in need of a transfusion to victims of unexpected and terrible accidents. The list of people in need grows with every passing day and Canada relies entirely on generous citizens who donate their blood, plasma, organs and tissue to save lives and keep the lifeline alive.

Once blood has been donated it can only be preserved for no longer than 42 days before it spoils and must be discarded. This means of course that even if you have donated blood before, even recently, the need for more is ever present and always an urgent matter. In all of our lifetimes it is extremely likely that ourselves or someone that we are close to will end up in a situation where donated blood could save or prolong a life.

Donating blood also has positive health effects for the donor as well as the greater community as donating encourages the body’s creation of new blood cells and promotes general well being. This is in addition to the sense of satisfaction and the knowledge that you are doing your part to help make the world a better place, literally helping front line medical workers save and prolong lives which would otherwise remain in danger without your selfless and considerate action. And we have to of course mention that they still give you a snack afterwards, which every cannabis user is generally a fan of!

Can You Give Blood If You Smoke Weed?

Marijuana and blood donation may not seem like they would be a compatible mixture as most people who use controlled substances of any kind are often concerned about the fact that their personal habits might disqualify them or even expose them to an uncomfortable situation or even possibly land them in legal trouble. It is not uncommon to see questions like “Can I donate blood if I smoke weed?”, “When you donate plasma do they test for drugs?” or even “Can you donate blood if you smoke cigarettes” on online forums like Quora or Reddit from concerned smokers of all kinds who are worried that their use of a controlled substance will disqualify them from donating a lifesaving medical service to Canadian Blood Services.

It is understandable that people would be concerned considering the long and relentless campaign of public messaging that strictly reinforced the concept that all drugs – and all drug users – were simply bad, unhealthy and dangerous. Even in this new era of recreational legalization and widespread medical cannabis use this stigma is an extremely difficult one for cannabis users to shake, even within their opinions of themselves. This tragic side effect of the North American so called “war on drugs” has caused many kind hearted and selfless individuals who would make ideal blood and plasma donors not even consider the possibility. Even though there have been no restrictions about smoking weed and blood donation even before marijuana legalization or widespread recreational use became the norm!

So can you smoke weed and donate blood? Unquestionably yes. Can you donate blood after smoking weed? It is advised that you wait until you are sober as if you show any evidence of intoxication from any substance be it marijuana, alcohol or any other drug you will be considered unable to give informed consent and therefore unable to donate until you sober up and return. But that said there is no drug testing involved in the blood donation process and your blood or plasma could still very well be a lifesaving gift to someone in need right now.

What Actually Disqualifies You From Donating?

Now that we have addressed the myth that smoking marijuana and donating blood are incompatible with one another we would like to inform you about some of the other reasons – apart from being visibly intoxicated at the time of donation – that you will be temporarily or permanently disqualified from being a donor to Canadian Blood Services.

Most commonly prescribed medications are ok to be taking when you give blood and only a select few will outright disqualify you from being able to donate. The overwhelming majority of prescriptions will not affect your eligibility but your underlying condition and reasons for taking your medication could potentially be a disqualifying factor. If you are currently taking a medication other than or in addition to medical cannabis you can check your eligibility using this handy list of the most common accepted and unaccepted medications provided by Canadian Blood Services or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

It used to be that you couldn’t donate blood on the same day you received a flu vaccination shot however this limitation has been lifted. Another recently lifted restriction on blood donation includes the removal of the upper age limit – now anyone can donate no matter how senior they are! The youngest age you can donate is still seventeen, however.

Another significant recent change is the reduction in the time a man who has sex with other men must wait until he can donate blood. In the past there was a staggeringly long waiting period of up to 5 years for a man to wait since his last sexual contact with another man before he was eligible to give blood. That had been reduced to one year in the past and now most recently has been lowered further to just three months. Further research is being done to hopefully bring this limitation more in line with people of other sexual orientations but undeniable progress has been made in this area.

Another possible reason you might be disqualified is if you have recently received a new tattoo, piercing or other body modification. Anyone who has undergone this sort of procedure must wait at least three months before they will become eligible to donate blood or plasma again to Canadian Blood Services. It should also go without saying that you should not attempt to donate blood if you are feeling ill or under the weather in any way. This is not just to avoid spreading infection through donated materials but primarily to prevent the unnecessary spread of infection among the staff and other patrons of the donor center.

I’m Disqualified, Can I Still Help?

Even if you find yourself in one of the aforementioned categories or are disqualified from being a donor to Canadian Blood Services for any other reason there is still an open pathway for you to assist your fellow Canadians in the battle against blood, plasma and donated tissue scarcity. If you are in a position to be able to make a financial contribution your donation will go a long way to assisting patients and medical personnel in other very meaningful and significant ways. And then once you clear the necessary waiting period to regain your eligibility status you can book your appointment and donate.

There are a handful of different ways to make a financial contribution to the effort. Most simply is to just make a one time personal financial contribution in the form of a gift. You can also set yourself up to donate the same contribution monthly and help keep the necessary blood and plasma flowing. You can also set up a fundraiser online for a special event. Have a birthday, anniversary or a big event on the horizon? You could establish an online fundraiser to benefit Canadian Blood Services and ask for donations in lieu of gifts! You can also donate or fundraise in the name and memory of a special or treasured loved one who has passed on, raising money in their name and furthering a great cause in their honour.

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Just remember not to show up to your donation appointment totally baked and all will be well and you could even save the life of someone in your community in the process!

Can you donate blood while using marijuana? The answer may surprise you! Find out why you should donate today regardless of your marijauna use!