Can a person who smokes marijuana still donate blood? (John Leyba, Denver Post file)

Ask The Cannabist: blood donations, GMO pot, edibles benefits

Welcome to our new Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 64-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at

Hey, Cannabist!
With all the talk against GMOs, doesn’t anyone address the fact that all this new designer pot is a GMO?
–Organic in Overland

Hey, Organic!
I don’t consider pot to be a genetically modified organism (GMO). A GMO has undergone high-tech gene splicing and engineering with other organisms or chemicals.

Still, all cannabis breeding is based on old-school rules of genetics established by Gregor Mendel.

All the premium cannabis strains have been bred for higher and higher THC content, one generation at a time.

Read more Cannabist Q&A: Traveling with pot, fighting insomnia and more.

As more scientific information becomes known about cannabis plant genetics, other plant alkaloids, like CBD, are becoming a focus for cannabis breeding.

The selection and variety of cannabis available in Colorado is staggering
because cultivation is not just a growing science, it’s also an art form. XO


Hey, Cannabist!
I recently heard that the universal blood supply in Colorado critically low. I wonder, does this have anything to do with the amount of marijuana users in the state of Colorado? I smoke marijuana and want to donate blood but I am not sure if I can qualify. How do I find out?
–Stoner Donor

Hey, Stoner Donor!
The universal (Type O-negative) supply being low has nothing to do with cannabis consumers. Blood donations are always needed.

You’ll have to pass an extensive pre-screening process, but cannabis use is not a screening question. Social factors important to blood donations include where you’ve traveled, your health history, IV drug use and with whom you’ve had sex.

A nurse at Denver-based Bonfils Blood Center provided confirmation. The only marijuana-related requirement for a blood donation is don’t show up stoned.

In 2012, I attended a community blood drive organized by a Denver marijuana-infused product manufacturer. Ever since, I’ve been a regular blood donor myself. If you pass the screening and are able to donate, please do! XO


Hey, Cannabist!
I’m trying to decide whether to spend my $50 on edibles or plant. I would rather have edibles if the cost is comparable, but I can’t find any info on the Web. I’m disabled, so someone else is picking it up for me.
–Teach A Person To Fish

Hey, Teach!
I’ll answer this question two ways.

1) If you are asking whether you should buy edibles or a plant to grow: Growing a marijuana plant requires preparation of a growing space, a certain level of commitment and knowledge and practice of optimal growing conditions.

Set-up costs, even for a small cannabis grow, are more than $50, so that is a major consideration in your decision.

2) If you are asking whether to buy edibles or flowers to smoke, go ahead and buy edibles if you’re inclined to try them. Edibles can have a bigger stoney effect compared to smoking, so it feels like more bang for the buck. Edibles can last a while because it is best to eat in smaller increments.

First, request an edible that will be easy to divide into smaller portions, like scored chocolate bars or big brownies. Recreational edibles can have a maximum dosage up to 100 mg THC. Eat recommended 5 to 10 mg portions every hour until you’ve reached the desired level of bliss.

On the chance you decide to buy flowers with your $50, look for a 50/50 hybrid variety. A hybrid variety with an even balance of sativa and indica is a good starting point for enjoying today’s cannabis.

For a recreational marijuana store in your area, check The Cannabist’s map (we’re adding listings every day) or Many marijuana centers post their menus, price lists and contact information on their website. You can find a few centers and compare menus and prices. Call and double check to make sure the shop does recreational sales and has in stock the edibles you were interested in before making the trip. XO