Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?
Plasma donation can save lives, but can you donate plasma if you smoke weed? According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), people with rare conditions use treatments and medicines made from plasma donations. It takes 130 plasma donations to treat a person with a primary immunodeficiency for one year. One year of hemophilia treatment requires 2,000 plasma donations.
With such a high need, cannabis users may wonder whether they can donate plasma.
- Plasma is the liquid part of blood responsible for transporting vital compounds through the body, blood clotting, and immune response.
- Donated plasma is used to create therapies, medicine, and treat trauma.
- Donation requirements don’t mention cannabis.
- Certain kinds of synthetic weed contain anticoagulants, ruining plasma.
- Donation centers can exclude cannabis consumers, but many don’t.
What is plasma?
Plasma is the liquid portion of blood, and carries salt, water, and enzymes. It helps transport nutrients, hormones, and proteins where they’re needed. Plasma is essential for bringing proteins for blood clotting, bringing revitalizing minerals to muscles, and moving the platelets and red blood cells where they need to go. The liquid also plays a crucial role in immune response, providing the immune system with proteins it needs to work.
With this power, plasma is used as a therapy or medication for many rare conditions. It is also a treatment for trauma patients.
Plasma is used to treat:
- Burn and shock patients
- Severe liver disease
- Clotting factor deficiencies
- Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Von Willebrand disease
- Antithrombin III deficiency
- Kawasaki disease
- Hereditary angioedema
- Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
- Immune deficiency
- Rh sensitization in pregnant people
Donating blood and plasma is different. White blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are included in blood but not donating blood plasma. There are also slightly different guidelines for potential donors at plasma and blood donation centers.
Requirements for donating plasma
The HHS suggests general requirements for donors. They must be 18 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, “be in good health,” and test negative for HIV and hepatitis. First-timers undergo a medical screening. During the screening, patients who present with high blood pressure are excluded. Cannabis isn’t mentioned.
Individual donation centers will set requirements for donating plasma. They will specifically set parameters that disqualify you from donating. PlasmaLab International has a laundry list of exclusions, including not allowing women who have had sexual contact with a bisexual man to give blood, have been incarcerated for at least three months in the last year, or have been deferred from another donation center.
The requirements for donating plasma can vary between donation centers. Though some conduct drug testing, few have set precedents regarding cannabis consumption and plasma donation.
Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?
Some plasma centers drug test during the intake medical screening, but not all donation centers test for THC and other cannabinoids. The same goes for synthetic marijuana like K2 or “spice.” For example, PlasmaLab doesn’t mention cannabis in its lengthy list of donation exclusions. The American Red Cross doesn’t test for the presence of weed before donation or blood samples after collection.
The Red Cross does make it clear that if cannabis consumption has altered someone’s decision-making or memory they should not give blood. However, this note relates to consent rather than avoiding plasma with weed in it.
Before stepping into a plasma donation center with cannabis in your system, check with the center’s website to see if there are guidelines or restrictions about cannabis consumption. If it isn’t clear, call and ask. Those in prohibited states shouldn’t risk popping a positive drug test anywhere, and cannabis patients should bring their medical marijuana card just in case. Better safe than sorry with Johnny Law.
Synthetic marijuana and plasma donation
The Food and Drug Administration leaves it up to individual donation centers on whether they accept donations with synthetic marijuana. However, particular kinds of synthetic marijuana can contaminate plasma.
The Red Cross explained that some synthetic cannabis products contain an anticoagulant that makes plasma unusable. Local blood centers will know whether these synthetic products have shown up in their area, hence why each center sets individual regulations.
Synthetic marijuana users are eligible to donate blood too, depending on the blood donation center. And organic cannabis consumers are safe to donate blood as long as they aren’t incapacitated.
Final verdict: Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?
There isn’t any known reason why cannabis users shouldn’t smoke weed unless it’s synthetic. However, individual plasma donation centers have the ability to exclude those who have consumed. It is wise to not make donations while under the influence, though, to maintain the capability to provide consent.
Donating plasma is one way to give back. As of June 2023, there was a high need for donations. Those wondering: ‘Can you donate plasma if you smoke weed?’ can rest easy knowing that most donation centers won’t test for THC. Just be sure to show up sober to donate.