Blood donation is a voluntary and selfless act. When you donate blood, you save a life. It is the most precious and valuable way of donating or giving back to the society. When you look around, you will see there are many disorders that crumble the patient and he can survive only if he receives regular blood transfusions, particularly cancer. You may also save a life of an accident patient and give him a chance to live a normal life. This flow of thoughts will be interrupted with a question. What if you are a Cannabis user? Can you still donate blood and will it be safe? Are there any legal or medical restrictions to such kind of blood donation?
What Are The Blood Bank Protocols?
In many European countries, the guidelines surrounding blood donation are very strict. A series of systematic tests need to be carried out before the blood is collected from a prospective donor. The good news here is that there is no specific cannabis test in blood banks, so as long as you show up for the donation in a sober and presentable manner, you are not likely to be rejected.
Prior to collection of the blood, a history taking is done where in the donor is asked about any kind of transfusion history in order to assess the risk of exposure to contaminated needles. Any signs of needle exposure are taken very seriously because the person could be taking heroin, drugs or steroids.
Screening tests for sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis are mandatory before any blood donation. Pregnancy and history of a major surgery are also contraindications of a blood transfusion. Many blood banks with strict rules may disqualify donors with excessive tattooing.
Cannabis and Blood Donation
The rules differ from one country to the other. In United States the main criteria for a blood donation is that the donor should be feeling and looking normal at that particular time and he should not have a history of unprotected sex or needle exposure. A blood sample is taken initially and tested for the iron levels. In case the donor is found to be anemic, that is he has a low haemoglobin level, then he is considered unfit for donation. There is no specific test for the detection of cannabis in the blood banks but other indirect indicators and signs are noted very carefully. The blood pressure is measured and a squashy ball is given that one has to keep squeezing all throughout the process of collection. The basic advice for anyone who wishes to donate blood is that he should have a proper sleep at night, take a balanced meal and consume lot of water and fluids at least two hours before he goes for the blood donation.
The scenario is quite different in European countries and the rules are more stringent. Few European countries ban a donor from donating blood if he is tested positive for cannabis. The main logic behind such a ban is that the blood is believed to be contaminated. Another example of the stringent rules is that of acupuncture. Acupuncture is an alternate therapy where the symptoms and disease conditions are relieved by stimulation of certain points in the body with the help of fine needles that are inserted into the skin. This is considered risky because the needles may not always be sterile. Another place Norway has a legalized ban on blood donation from pot smokers. In case such a person wishes to donate blood, he must abstain from smoking for atleast one year to be eligible for the procedure.
In case you wish to donate blood, get a check up done by your local physician who will be able to tell you if you are fit to donate or not. The above piece of information surely conveys one thing that in most places around the world, exposure to unclean needles, drug use and history of unprotected sex are all factors that can ban you from donating blood.
Are You A Cannabis Drug User?
If the answer to this question is affirmative then you need to realize that donating blood is a civic duty that you do towards the society and presence of drugs in your blood could make it harmful when it is given to a child, an ailing patient or a nursing mother. So you need to think beyond your needs and act towards the welfare of the society. In case you use the drug recreationally, abstain from doing so before donating blood. However if you are using cannabis for medical reasons then you need to get approval from your physician whether you are fit to donate blood or not.
November 23, 2017
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