Marijuana has many amazing personal and medicinal uses but have you ever wondered is it possible to be allergic to weed? Based on reports released by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology or AAAAI, you may develop an allergy or an allergic reaction to weed after you have been exposed to the cannabis plant.
Those who are exposed to weed allergens may be triggered through different means. You may inhale pollen from the air, by smoking marijuana, touching the cannabis plant, or consuming cannabis orally.
The most irritating cannabis strain according to a 2013 study is Cannabis sativa. According to small research in 2018, people who are allergic to animal dander, dust, plants, and molds are more likely to suffer from marijuana allergies.
How to know if you have weed allergies
People who have weed allergies exhibit different symptoms. You may suffer from nasal congestion, dry cough, itchy, red, and watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and sore or itchy throat. These symptoms usually appear after you have inhaled smoke or you have consumed cannabis orally in the form of concentrates, oils, and edibles.
Handling cannabis or dried plant (buds, leaves, and stems) may also trigger contact dermatitis. This is an allergic skin reaction that may present symptoms like itching, dry skin, blisters, redness, and inflammation. Serious reactions like hives may also be present.
Usually, symptoms of contact dermatitis appear immediately after you touch or you are exposed to the marijuana plant. In some cases, these symptoms may start to appear after an hour or later. Some people are severely allergic to cannabis and may show severe symptoms or anaphylaxis. An anaphylactic shock is a condition where a person shows life-threatening symptoms. These appear in just a few seconds after exposure.
Anaphylaxis symptoms include the difficulty of breathing, fainting, dizziness, flushed and itchy skin, swollen throat or tongue, low blood pressure, weak but rapid pulse, and vomiting. You must call a doctor at once or take a person suffering from anaphylactic shock to a hospital at once. If not treated right away, a person may suffer from a coma or even death.
Is it possible to be allergic to weed and other substances? A condition known as cross-reactivity is when the proteins of the cannabis plant such as the pollen may be similar to the proteins of other plants. There may be an allergic reaction when the person is exposed to the same proteins from other sources.
Some foods have similar proteins to marijuana proteins. These foods may also cause the same reaction as marijuana allergies. Foods like almonds, apples, bananas, eggplant, chestnuts, grapefruit, tomatoes, and peaches. Be wary of consuming these foods if you have marijuana allergies.
How to diagnose weed allergies
To diagnose weed allergies, you need to visit your doctor. You will be asked to fill out a medical history form and undergo a physical examination to determine your allergies. The most common test to confirm weed allergy is the skin prick test.
This test involves pricking your skin with an allergen, in this case, a small amount of cannabis. This allergen will be injected into the surface of the skin using a sterile needle. Usually, the test is done on the skin under the arm.
The doctor will check for any allergic reactions on the area including redness, itching, wheal formation, or swelling on the area after about 15 to 20 minutes. If these signs are present, you may be allergic to weed. Another test is an intradermal skin test where a small amount of marijuana allergen is injected along with the intradermal layer of the skin.
There are also blood tests specific to checking cannabis allergies. A sample of your blood will be taken and tested for antibodies to cannabis. If you have more antibodies in your blood than the expected amount then you are likely allergic to weed.
Skin prick test results are available in just a few minutes while blood tests may take time. Skin prick tests are cheaper while blood tests are more expensive.
Weed allergy treatments
There is no treatment for cannabis allergies. To deal with allergic symptoms, you may be prescribed antihistamines. This medication can ease symptoms and will help reduce any discomfort like itching and inflammation. You can buy antihistamines like Benadryl from local pharmacies or online stores.
If you experience marijuana allergy symptoms, avoid marijuana smoke and exposure to the plant. Do not use concentrates, oils, edibles, and other products that contain marijuana compounds. If you have been diagnosed with severe allergies to marijuana, your doctor may recommend you to carry an epinephrine shot. This will protect you from accidental exposure to cannabis and avoid anaphylactic reactions.
Prevent weed allergies
The best way to avoid weed allergies is to avoid marijuana exposure. If you live near people who smoke cannabis or grow marijuana then you must limit your exposure to the allergen. You may consider using an air purifier or similar home electronic equipment to remove pollen and other microbes related to cannabis use and growing.
Most symptoms of weed allergies are mild to moderate and may not need medical attention. Usually, avoiding contact and exposure to cannabis smoke can resolve symptoms ASAP. Cannabis products are also sold as CBD oils and concentrate. CBD is the therapeutic compound of cannabis and thus has medical or health benefits.
It is possible for a person allergic to weed is also allergic to CBD as this is a component of marijuana. CBD is available in oils, concentrates, edibles, supplements, and sprays. You should be careful when using these products and it would be best if you talk to your doctor before you use these products if you have cannabis allergies.
Is it possible to be allergic to weed? Yes, and symptoms can range from mild to fatal. Some people are allergic to cannabis smoke while some suffer from contact dermatitis. If you’re unsure if you are allergic to weed, take cannabis moderately. Discontinue use as soon as you experience any of these symptoms.