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Can You Donate Plasma If You Smoke Weed?

Are you wondering if you can donate if you smoke cannabis? 

Well, as long as you are not on any new psychoactive substances, everything should turn out fine. 

Nonetheless, you do have to meet specific eligibility requirements, potentially undergo medical testing for certain diseases, and not be on any medications that will affect the quality of the plasma.

At first, the process of donating can be long and can last up to two hours, but the process usually takes an hour. 

By donating, you will make a big difference in the lives of people living with disorders or going through trauma that will require treatment with plasma. 

Keep reading for the details!

collected plasma

What Is Blood Plasma?

Blood plasma is the pale-yellow liquid portion or component of blood. It usually holds our blood cells, platelets, proteins, and other blood substances in suspension. It is estimated that it makes up about 55% of a person’s blood volume.

Plasma donation is the process of collecting a donor’s blood, then separating the plasma portion of the blood from the blood cells themselves. 

During this process, they return the red blood cells, platelets, and other cells back to the donor.

The whole process can take between one to two hours of your time. First, blood is drawn from one arm and sent through a high-tech machine that collects the plasma. 

Then the red blood cells and platelets are returned to the donor and mixed with some saline.

It is a safe process that takes just a bit longer than a blood donation would. And donating blood plasma is very similar to the process of donating blood.

When donating blood, a phlebotomist (blood collection specialist) will clean your arm and insert a sterile needle into your vein. They will remove around a pint of whole blood (roughly two cups or 450 mL).

The average adult body contains approximately 5 liters of blood. So don’t worry. You won’t be drained of too much blood.

Also, giving regular blood donations will provide you with satisfying personal experiences knowing that you are helping people who may need blood donations for a blood transfusion.

And let’s not forget the small bonus that blood banks provide, which is snacks. Pre-donation snacks and hydration will be provided to you beforehand and after donating whole blood or a plasma donation. 

These snacks and fluids will help your overall blood volume and improve the donation experience.   

plasma cells

How Are Plasma Donations Used?

There are quite a lot of things that modern medicine can do with plasma. According to the Red Cross, plasma donation is typically used for:

  • Burns: Plasma donation is used to treat burns as it restores the volume of blood in a patient’s circulatory system and treats the skin damage of burns.
  • Trauma: Two units of donated plasma can increase the odds of survival by 10% for patients with severe bleeding.
  • Developing Treatments: The proteins and antibodies in plasma are used in therapies for rare chronic conditions like autoimmune disorders.
  • Cancer: Plasma helps build cancer patients’ blood supply back up and can reduce the side effects of treatment while helping their immune system.
  • Transplant Surgery: Treating a patient with plasma transfusions before transplant surgeries removes antibodies against the donor blood-type from the recipient so they don’t attack and damage a donated organ.
  • Hemophilia: The clotting factors in plasma are used to treat Hemophilia A and B.
  • Promotes Clotting: Plasma’s ability to promote clotting is used to control bleeding from trauma by forming clots.
  • Regulates the Body’s Electrolytes: Plasma contains electrolytes like sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, and calcium and can help to maintain blood pH.
  • Prevents Infections from Occurring: Plasma carries antibodies that help fight all types of infections.

As you can see, donated blood plasma has many uses, and the need for it is high. That is why people are often compensated for their time.

bottle of plasma held

Blood and Plasma Donation Eligibility Requirements

To donate blood and plasma, you must first meet eligibility requirements. You must be 18 years of age or older, and you must also weigh at least 110 lbs.

Then you must pass a medical exam and extensive medical screening, including testing negative for diseases like hepatitis and HIV. This is to prevent passing on potential diseases to the person receiving your donation.

Lastly, you cannot have gotten a tattoo or piercing within the last four months. So if you are a tattoo addict, you will have to wait before attempting to donate.

According to the American Red Cross eligibility requirements, you can donate plasma every 28 days (up to 13 times/year). 

You also must be in good health and feeling well. And, you must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110lbs.

Weed Consumption Before Plasma Donation

So can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?

If you smoke weed, you are allowed to donate blood and plasma as long as you are not intoxicated at the time of donation. 

Your judgment and cognition cannot be impaired as well while donating blood or donating plasma. 

Blood banks will not turn you away unless you are clearly under the use of psychoactive substances.

Also, there are no specific requirements to wait or avoid weed before donating. This lack of restrictions includes cannabis edibles. This is interesting, considering it takes much longer for an edible to metabolize and leave a cannabis user.

Overall, you cannot be high while donating blood or plasma. The main reason for this is due to the fact that you may have low blood pressure when donating.

Not to mention, the donation facility will not let you donate if you are clearly intoxicated.

We recommend avoiding smoking weed or eating a THC edible for at least 24 hours before donating.

The Red Cross encourages all eligible donors who feel well to give blood and blood plasma. Their only primary concern is if cannabis is impairing your memory or comprehension.

The FDA approves of and regulates the eligibility to donate blood. And they do not require whole blood and blood plasma collecting agencies to test for THC.

marijuana in bloom

Plasma Donation and Marijuana Ethics

While you can donate blood while you are sober, there are some ethical issues that you should be aware of. 

For instance, the blood and blood plasma you donate can end up being given to children, toddlers, and infants.

For some people, this may deter them from donating.

Nonetheless, while there may be tiny traces of THC in the plasma of a chronic weed smoker, it has already been metabolized by your body. Therefore, it does not cause any effects on the plasma recipient.

Synthetic Cannabinoids and Plasma Donations

Currently, there are no explicit guidelines around blood donation and the use of synthetic marijuana like K2 or Spice. 

This includes synthetic marijuana prescribed for a medical marijuana program.

Therefore, if you have been prescribed Marinol or other synthetic cannabinoids as part of a medical marijuana plan, consult your physician for advice about donating plasma. 

Wrapping Up

Giving blood and being a cannabis user is totally legit.

So, donate plasma if you can. It doesn’t matter if you smoke weed the day before you donate plasma. 

All of the active THC is metabolized and does not affect the person who will receive your blood when you donate plasma.

As mentioned, the need for blood and plasma donors is great. Help out some of the 4.5 million people who need blood transfusions in a year in the US. 

You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and will help numerous people with one donation. Become a regular donor today!