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Dear Dana

I am interested in donating blood but I smoke pot, will they still be able to use my blood anyway?

Published: Monday, April 12, 2004

Updated: Saturday, March 14, 2009 18:03

As a pot-loving community here at UVM I would deem this question very relevant. Loads of students, faculty, and staff walk right by the blood donation stations that pop up on campus almost on a weekly basis. Some people are just too lazy, others are afraid of needles, more are petrified by the sight of blood, but mostly these people simply smoke the holy herb. The reason these ganja-friendly people turn their backs on such a worthy cause is because they believe that their blood is not wanted here.

Alas! This is most definitely not the case. After speaking with a member of the Red Cross that works with blood donations, I found out that when screening the blood for impurities, there is no test for THC. (THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol which is the primary psychoactive compound present in marijuana.) There is not a THC-specific screen because the only drug-related danger they are concerned about is hepatitis, and this has no relation to marijuana chemicals. Also, a patient receiving marijuana saturated blood will not be harmed in any way because the concentration is so minimal that it cannot serve any therapeutic function. So, my reefer smoking cronies, you now have one less excuse when trying to evade donating blood. Some general restrictions that may apply to you however are cocaine and tattoos; you must wait 12 months to donate after partaking in both of these activities. Also, you must be at least 17 years old, and weight at least 110 pounds. For sexually transmitted diseases you must wait 12 months for syphilis and gonorrhea, but with herpes you are free to donate if you are feeling well. Hopefully this shed some light on the intimidating underworld of blood donation, and opened the door for more people to suck up a little discomfort and give back to the community. If you have any other questions visit the Red Cross website at www.givelife.org, or give them a call at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE (1-800-448-3543).

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