Can You Be Allergic to Cannabis?

The cannabis plant is known for its healing properties. However, some people may be allergic to it or have an adverse reaction. Which symptoms should you look out for?

Can You Be Allergic to Cannabis?

Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible to be allergic to marijuana? Some may chuckle at the idea of Being Cannabis Allergic, given its well-known safety and effectiveness. However, like with other drugs, it is possible that some people are allergic to it. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 50 million individuals in the United States suffer from allergies each year, and cannabis allergies seem to be among them. 

“Not only may you be allergic to cannabis, but a response can arise even after you have used it for some time,” Angela Morrow and Dr. Daniel More of Verywell Health said. While it is unknown how many individuals are allergic to cannabis, there is a chance that the number of instances may rise as cannabis legalization spreads. “Allergy (to cannabis) seems to be on the increase,” according to a research by Decuyper, Van Gasse, Sabato, and colleagues. Despite the fact that instances are increasing, researchers can hopefully take advantage of the chance to learn more about the allergy. Here’s what we know so far.

Being Cannabis Allergic

Cannabis, according to Healthline’s Dr. Daniel Murrel and Kiara Anthony, may behave as an allergen, causing “pollen-like allergic symptoms.” People may be exposed to cannabis allergens via smoking, handling, and eating cannabis, as well as breathing pollen in the surrounding air, according to Medical News Today. Despite its modest size, a 2018 research reveals that persons who have allergies to cat dander, molds, dust mites, or plants may be more prone to cannabis allergy. 

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Cannabis Allergy Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person and are mostly dependent on how one interacts with the allergen. Cannabis allergy symptoms are similar to “pollen-like” allergy symptoms, so expect to see things like:

Symptoms of physical touch include:

  • Itchiness
  • Skin that is red and/or irritated
  • Hives and/or rashes
  • Skin that is dry and/or scaly

Symptoms of airborne exposure include:

  • Coughing that is dry
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Rhinitis is the inflammation of the nose (itchy, runny nose)
  • Nausea
  • Eyes that are red, scratchy, and/or watery
  • A scratchy or painful throat

Symptoms of consumption include:

  • Shortness of breath and other respiratory problems
  • Eyes that are red and/or swollen
  • Rashes, hives, or swelling of the skin
  • Speaking difficulties
  • Anaphylaxis*

This symptom is exceedingly unusual and has been linked to the use of hemp seeds. It causes breathing problems as well as a reduction in blood pressure, which may lead to lightheadedness, fast pulse, swollen tongue, swollen throat, fainting, vomiting, and paling skin. Despite its rarity, this is the most serious sign and requires immediate attention.

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The symptoms might be moderate to severe, but they should always be taken carefully. If your symptoms are moderate to severe, get medical attention right once. It’s also crucial to know that these symptoms may develop soon after exposure, but they might possibly take an hour or more.  

Causes, Risks, and Diagnosis of Cannabis Allergy 

The immune system is the source of every allergic reaction. The immune system is in charge of defending the body and identifying threats, prompting the body to generate antibodies as a defensive mechanism. Because they are all efforts to get rid of the damage, the production of these antibodies is what produces the allergic symptoms. Having an allergic response to cannabis, on the other hand, is almost certainly the consequence of your body consuming “substances that do not ordinarily pose a problem.” 

According to Medical News Today, cross-reactivity might be one of the most common causes and risk factors for cannabis allergy. Cross-reactivity means you’re more likely to develop an allergy to something if you’re allergic to another item with comparable protein characteristics. According to Healthline, numerous foods have allergy characteristics similar to cannabis. If you are allergic to any of these, you may also be allergic to cannabis. Tomatoes, peaches, grapefruit, almonds, chestnuts, eggplant, apples, and bananas are among these foods. 

A physician would most likely diagnose your allergy based on the circumstances of your allergen exposure and symptoms, as well as the results of allergy testing. The tests aren’t specific to cannabis allergy, but according to Verywell Health, “your allergist may make an extract or combination using the plant’s leaves, buds, and flowers, which they could then use to do a typical prick test.” 

Precautions and Treatment

If you have experienced any of the symptoms, you should quit using cannabis immediately to avoid more serious consequences. When working with cannabis, you should use gloves, face masks, and allergy medicine as needed. If you have never ingested or worked with cannabis before and are concerned about becoming allergic, you should see an allergist and/or your physician, since there are presently no therapies for cannabis-specific allergies.

Antihistamines or allergy injections may be used to control symptoms or to diminish your sensitivity to the chemical, according to Medical News Today. Keep in mind, however, that they are not yet accessible for cannabis. If you’re having a severe allergic response, such as anaphylaxis, an epinephrine injection may give you time until you can see a doctor, as well as reduce your chances of going into a coma or dying. 

It’s crucial to remember that, like other allergies, even if you’ve been using and working with cannabis for a long time, you might acquire a cannabis allergy. It is possible to have allergic symptoms after years of being allergy-free, but it is also possible to outgrow an allergy. Whether or not you are allergic to cannabis, recognizing the condition is critical in the event that you or someone close to you develops hives and begins to swell. If you have any serious allergies, you should be tested for cannabis allergies before ingesting to decrease the dangers. 

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Chane Leigh, nicknamed The Bud Fairy, is a cannabis advocate and enthusiast from South Africa with a fiery personality and a desire to travel. She enjoys educating others and challenging social conventions.

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