Can cannabis users donate blood in the UK?

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Recently there has been a large amount of debate in the media about how can legally and who should be able to give blood. Blood donation is incredibly important, not just in the wake of disasters where a large amount of people may be hurt and need transfusions, but blood donations also go toward people who are long term sick.

Every person who donates a pint of blood saves or improves the lives of three people. The more people who donate blood the better the general stock of blood is and the more blood that's available to people round the country who need it. Can cannabis users give blood safely and legally though?

Officially, the NHS has rules on who can and cannot give blood. These range from things that put people who at risk of blood-bourne diseases like HIV to people who might not be able to healthily give blood. Let’s assume that our cannabis smoking potential blood donor is of a healthy weight (over 50kg) and doesn’t have any issues with low iron levels in the blood.

You’re not allowed to give blood if you’ve ever injected any drugs, but not having known anyone who has ever injected cannabis, I think our cannabis smoker is safe on this one. There aren’t any explicit restrictions on cannabis smokers in the UK saying they’re not allowed to give blood, but you’re not allowed to give blood if you have any active legal or illegal drugs n your system (so, that includes having just taken a double dose off paracetamol too) because these drugs would then be passed to the recipient of the blood, which would be a general no.

Cannabis takes a couple of days to pass out of the blood completely, so our cannabis smoker can’t go and get high before his appointment to donate blood, but that shouldn’t be a problem for most people.

All in all, cannabis smokers are fine to give blood as long as they’re not high at the time of giving blood (not that this situation would appeal to many people). As we always need people to donate blood, being a casual user shouldn’t give you any problems, and you should definitely go and donate.

Sign up for a blood donation session here:

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