The donation of blood is a selfless, kind act that has the potential to save someone’s life. Give Blood UK say they need around 200,000 new blood donors every single year.

With over 50% of donors being over 45 years old it’s younger donors they need. Most people between the ages of 17-70 are able to become blood donors.  Members of the UK cannabis community may be surprised to learn that cannabis use doesn’t rule you out in becoming a donor.

, Can Cannabis Consumers Give Blood?, ISMOKE

We spoke to Raymond Miller, corporate communication manager for NHS Blood & Transplant to clarify a few things.

Firstly there are other health and eligibility requirements a potential donor must pass before being accepted to make a donation.

Miller says

The safety of our patients, as well as our donors, is number one priority which is why we carry out a donor health check for each donation.”

He states clearly though to the cannabis community that

We do not test blood for THC

He was also clear in mentioning that

Give Blood UK would never accept a blood donation from anyone who tells them they are intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.”

Miller went on to add that

Blood donation is an altruistic  act and we thank all donors for their commitment.

What does donating involve?

The first step in becoming a donor is to visit the Give Blood UK website to check that you first meet all the donor requirements. Provided that the criteria is met you will then be able to register online and make your first local appointment. Women are able to donate blood every 16 weeks whereas men can donate every 12 weeks.

Upon arrival for your first donation, you will first be asked a few health questions. You will then have your iron levels checked by providing a small blood sample.

The Donation process

, Can Cannabis Consumers Give Blood?, ISMOKE

Provided all is well the next stage will be the donation process, as soon as available you will be asked to sit down in a chair that’s perfectly set up to efficiently take the donation.

Blood will be taken from your chosen arm and a clean sterile needle will be inserted into a vein. A collection bag is then connected up it will then usually takes around  5-10 minutes to donate the required 470ml of blood.

Once you’ve given the donation you’ll have your donating arm fully cleaned and dressed and will be asked to rest.

You’ll need to take a few minutes out to relax as you’ve just lost some of your blood supply. You will be sat down and offered a hot or cold drink and a selection of biscuits, crisps and snacks.

After around ten to 15 mins, provided you are in good health and have had your fill of biscuits you will be free to leave. You can also make your next blood donation appointment too before you go. You’ll also be advised not do anything too strenuous for the next few hours.

What happens to the blood donations?

Donated blood or components are given to a patient in a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are given via an intravenous line into a blood vessel.

How blood was used in 2014, according to hospital usage:

  • 67% was used to treat medical conditions including anaemia, cancer and blood disorders
  • 27% was used in surgery, including cardiac surgery and emergency surgery
  • 6% was used to treat blood loss after childbirth

Usage varies between hospitals depending on their particular specialities.

So, to sum-up, you can indeed give blood as a cannabis consumer.

If you want to give blood you can call 0300 123 23 23 or visit to find out more

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