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!