Can You Donate Blood If You Smoke Weed?


Want to donate blood but smoke a lot of cannabis? Here’s the scoop on what makes you a qualifying blood donor.

Anna Wilcox
Sep 29, 2016
Donate Blood

Donating blood is one of the most simple and charitable things you can do. Many rural regions of the US fail to find enough donors to fit their needs, so they need to ship in blood from other locations. Mega cities like New York need a steady supply of donors to meet the demands of a large population. But, can you donate blood if you smoke weed?  We have the answer. 

Can you donate blood if you smoke weed?

Donate Blood 1 Can You Donate Blood If You Smoke Weed?
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The short answer is yes. You are A-OK to give blood if you smoke, vaporize, dab, eat, or drink cannabis. Only, you might not want to show up to donate when you’re high as a kite. That might raise some suspicions.

Here’s the Red Cross’s official position:

While the Red Cross does not encourage the use of controlled substances, marijuana or alcohol use does not necessarily disqualify you from giving blood as long as you are feeling well.

If you have EVER injected any illegal drugs, you can never give blood.

Not so bad, right? Even the most diehard consumers can still pass on lifesaving blood to patients in need. But, other than needle injection, what things will actually disqualify you from blood donation?

Here are the blood donation qualifications

Donate Blood 3 Can You Donate Blood If You Smoke Weed?
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Overall, there are a few basic requirements that everyone must meet before they give blood. You must:

  • Be in good health
  • Are at least 17 years old (16 with signed parental consent)
  • Weigh over 110 lbs

They also have a few more specific requirements related to lifestyle. Most of them have to do with needles, traveling, and sex. Here are a few things that will disqualify you from giving blood:

  1. Getting tattooed in an unregulated location within 1 year of donation. That means if you’ve recently been tattooed in New York, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Utah, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Nevada, Idaho, Maryland, or Georgia, you’re out of luck.
  2. Traveling to a country with known problems with malaria. But, after 12 months on the home front, you’re good to go.
  3. Using IV drugs that were not physician prescribed. If you use injectable drugs, you will be disqualified from donation for your entire life.
  4. If you’re a man who has had sex with another man. Uhhhh…. yeah. This one is actually real. Men who have had sex with men were once banned for life. Now, they’re banned for a year. The policy was “updated” in 2015.
  5. If you’re pregnant or just gave birth. In this case, you can give blood again 6 weeks after the birth of your new baby.

So, using cannabis before donation won’t exclude you from giving. Neither will using pretty much any non-injectable drug. You can also donate if you’ve completed a round of antibiotics.

However, traveling abroad and expressing non-hetro sexuality within the past year will raise some red flags for the Red Cross team. Otherwise, you can donate every 56 days, up to 6 times per year.

What do you think of these blood donation laws? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

Anna Wilcox
Sep 29, 2016