Can you be alergic to Cannabis?
Although research to date has been limited, we know that there is an allergy to Cannabis. The Cannabis plant has a long, many-year history of stigmatization and mysticism, with a wide range of effects and side effects that have been attributed to the plant over the years. Some of the effects attributed to Cannabis have been precise, while others have been fully fabricated.
But the possibility of a Cannabis allergy is neither an exaggerated tactic for recreational Cannabis nor an indication that the plant would be less healthy or therapeutic than we think. Rather, it is the same as any other plant that, although generally beneficial, can cause allergies for some of its users.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Cannabidiol or CBD oil can also cause side effects in some people.
If there is an allergy, will we find out what kind of signs and symptoms to look out for?
Therefore, let’s look at the available studies to better understand the causes that can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
People can be exposed to Cannabis allergens in the following ways:
– inhalation of pollen into the air;
– smoking Cannabis;
– touching the Cannabis plant;
– eating products containing Cannabis.
Studies published in 2013 show that a special strain called Cannabis sativa can be particularly irritating and allergic.
A recent small study from 2018 reports that people are more likely to be allergic to Cannabis if they are allergic to cat dander, mold, dust mites, or any of the plants.
However, more research is needed to establish this potential link.
Lipid transfer proteins (LTP).
Several studies have identified lipid transfer proteins (LTP) as potential allergens in the Cannabis plant. BAT is to act as proteins that act as allergens, often found in plant foods and pollen. BAT is to cause allergic reactions in humans, leading to an overproduction of antibodies.
In a March 2019 study published in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology: in practice, 120 Cannabis allergy patients and 62 healthy controls were given Cannabis extract in three different administration tests, including a skin puncture test. Cannabis extract was rich in Can s 3 – non-specific LTP (ns-LTP) distributed in the Cannabis plant. The study found that approximately 80% of the Cannabis allergy patients tested were sensitive to Can s 3 protein, and 72% of anaphylactic patients were also positive for Can s 3 susceptibility.
In short, this study shows that LTP are not the only Cannabis allergen and plays an important role in causing allergic reactions from the Cannabis plant.
Other studies have shown similar results in testing patients for allergies to Cannabis LTP. Some of these studies also show repeated cross-reactivity with other plants containing similar proteins, according to a December 2017 study published in the French Journal of Clinical Pneumonology. Cross-reactivity occurs when someone has an allergic reaction to similar proteins of different substances. Approximately 45% of Cannabis allergic patients also reported allergic reactions to herbal foods in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology.
Cross-reactivity occurs when proteins, such as pollen, in a Cannabis plant resemble the proteins of another plant. The person may then come into contact with similar proteins elsewhere and an allergic reaction may occur.
Protein-like foods that may cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to Cannabis include:
A 2013 study from the Internal Allergy and Immunology Archive examining the reactivity of 21 patients with food allergies to Cannabis LTP. Twelve of the 21 test subjects also had an allergic reaction to Cannabis, and all twelve people had more severe reactions to food allergies than those who did not have a Cannabis allergy. In a 2008 study by the same journal, 32 subjects were tested for an allergic reaction to Cannabis LTP as well as tomato, peach skin and pollen extracts. All subjects who were sensitive to tomato allergens were also sensitive to Cannabis. The cross-reaction to peach skin and Cannabis was also significant. These studies provide further evidence that LTP plays a key role in Cannabis allergies and may be a major culprit in interactions with other food allergies.
If LTP is not the only source of Cannabis allergy, what other factors matter? We have already written about terpenes – compounds that are responsible for the aroma and taste of Cannabis and various other plants. Like known Cannabis compounds such as cannabidiol (CBD) and THC, terpenes have many different medical benefits. They may also be responsible, at least in part, for allergic reactions to Cannabis among some users.
For example, terpene linalool has been found to cause allergic reactions when oxidized. In a 2010 study of linalool, 1151 concentrations of oxidized linalool patches were applied to the skin of 1151 dermatitis patients, and 5-7% of patients tested positive for linalool. A similar 2016 study examined oxidized linalool and oxidized limonene, another significant terpene in the Cannabis plant, in a group of 2,900 dermatitis patients and found that 281 of them had allergic reactions to one or both terpenes.
Such findings do not necessarily indicate that terpenes are a major cause of allergies from Cannabis, but they do suggest that some allergic reactions from the Cannabis plant, particularly skin allergies, are terpene-related.
Allergy signs and symptoms.
Depending on the way it reacts with the body – i.e. skin contact, inhalation of pollen, etc. Allergy to Cannabis is reported to cause a wide range of symptoms, most of which are common to other allergies.
Symptoms and here it should be emphasized that the most serious ones are also mentioned, which are extremely rare (like a bee sting, or nuts can be deadly to someone):
Possible symptoms of a cannabis allergy, many of which are similar to those of a seasonal allergy, include:
– dry cough;
– red, watery, or itchy eyes;
– running nose;
– sore or itchy throat.
May also cause a skin reaction which may have the following symptoms:
– pimples, or skin elevations with watery filling;
– dry skin;
– red, inflamed skin.
Symptoms of Cannabis allergy may appear immediately after contact with the plant, although in other cases they may start after an hour or even longer.
In order to stop the symptoms from getting worse, the person who notices these symptoms should stop any contact with Cannabis immediately.
In very rare cases, Cannabis can cause a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This condition can be life-threatening and occurs within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen.
The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis are:
– difficulty breathing;
– itchy and reddened or pale skin;
– low blood pressure;
– swollen tongue or airways;
– weak and fast pulse;
Anaphylaxis can cause coma or death, so it is important to get emergency medical help if this reaction is suspected.
Together with anaphylaxis, the main risks associated with Cannabis allergy are that it may be associated with interactivity with other allergens, which we mentioned earlier in cross-reactivity.
In a Canadian CTV News report on the trend of Cannabis allergy after its legalization, Toronto-based immunologist and allergy expert Dr. Gordon Sussman said greater exposure to the general public will inevitably lead to more reports of being allergic to Cannabis.
Over the past 10 years, Sussman has seen more and more Cannabis-sensitive patients and is actively researching the phenomenon of undiagnosed allergies to raise awareness and better prepare medical staff.
“If you look at a study conducted outside of Colorado, about 10 percent of people with only passive participation had symptoms of (Cannabis) allergies,” Dr. Sussmans said. In the same CTV report, Dr. Sussman said skin contact with the Cannabis plant can cause irritation ranging from mild itching to hives and swollen eyes. Smoking Cannabis or inhaling Cannabis pollen can cause sneezing and runny nose; as well as wheezing, shortness of breath and asthma symptoms. Anaphylactic symptoms can also occur when people who are sensitive to Cannabis eat Cannabis seeds or other Cannabis products.
Reactions to CBD oil.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a substance that comes from the cannabis plant, as we already know. And it is used for various ailments, some even very serious.
CBD is known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
In recent years, CBD has become very popular and is part of the market for low-quality products, which can also add to the statistics even more of the number of Cannabis allergic patients.
Some CBD products contain THC, but it is not always clear how much, even if the product is labeled.
For this reason, most consumers are unaware of the safety of their CBD oil, especially when used in large quantities.
In the study on CBD oil, the 2011 report reports contradictory findings. Researchers suggest that while people may tolerate long-term use and high doses of up to 1,500 milligrams a day, some side effects have been reported.
Large amounts of CBD oil can cause:
– dry mouth;
– may interact with other medicines;
– low blood pressure.
Some people use CBD oil as a topical treatment for skin conditions or neurological pain. The person should first try to apply a small amount of oil to make sure that it does not experience an adverse reaction.
Doctors diagnose Cannabis allergies in the same way as other types of allergies, using skin or blood tests.
– Skin tests.
The doctor will first make a personal medical history and a physical examination. They can then use a skin piercing test. This test is not very invasive and the results are quick to read.
In a skin test, your doctor applies a diluted allergen, such as Cannabis, to the surface of the skin with a needle. If a red bump or pimple, itching and redness develop in this area within 15 minutes, a person may be allergic to the substance.
Your doctor may also use an intradermal test. This test involves the use of a thin needle to inject the diluted allergen just below the skin’s surface.
– Blood tests.
Blood tests are another way to test for allergies to Cannabis. A blood sample is taken and the presence of antibodies is checked. If a person has more antibodies in their blood than expected, they are more likely to be allergic to Cannabis.
Blood tests may in some cases be better than skin prick tests because they involve a single needle prick. They are also less affected by other medicines. However, obtaining results takes longer and tests are more expensive than skin tests.
What if you are allergic to Cannabis?
Most people with Cannabis allergy symptoms have a mild or moderate reaction that is similar to seasonal allergy conditions. There may also be skin reactions.
Cannabis allergy treatment is not currently available. A person can use antihistamines to manage symptoms and reduce discomfort.
Due to the lack of treatment options, those who are allergic to the plant and products containing it should avoid any contact to prevent allergy symptoms.
If a person has a severe allergy to Cannabis, they should receive an injection of epinephrine in case of accidental exposure and subsequent anaphylaxis. They should also carry medication to respond quickly to accidental exposure.
Avoiding Cannabis exposure is the only really effective way to prevent an allergic reaction.
A person who uses medical Cannabis and suspects that they may be allergic to it should consult their doctor to find alternative treatments.
The good news is that if you have a positive Cannabis allergy test and develop common allergy symptoms, your doctor or allergy specialist may be able to prescribe general allergy treatments to reduce or prevent the symptoms – i.e. nasal spray, antihistamines.
When a person avoids the Cannabis plant, pollen and products containing it, their symptoms quickly disappear.
Although Cannabis-related allergies are still relatively rare, they are becoming more common. However, there is no reason to panic. Allergy reports are expected to increase as Cannabis use becomes more widespread.
The good news is that Cannabis allergies can be treated in the same way as other allergies, but the lack of standardization of testing limits the widespread use of validation and diagnostic tests. Much research is still needed to better define allergens, develop a standardized extract, determine diagnostic specificity, and clarify treatment options for patients.
If we want to know more about Cannabis allergies, we need to allow more research to be done, while including and encouraging tacit Cannabis allergy sufferers not to be afraid of public opinion and thus to involve them in an unbiased way.
The information on the internet about CBD products and their use will be ambiguous, so we always recommend reading safe and reliable sources. We also use websites related to the Cannabis industry, research and education to prepare information.
The content of this site is for informational purposes only. We are not medical experts and this should not be interpreted as medical advice. Be sure to consult your doctor before undergoing CBD or other treatment.
The chemistry of every human body and brain is unique, so the use of CBD to improve mental as well as physical health does not guarantee results. However, many GWEEPRODUCTS CBD oil users have included it into their daily routine as one of the therapies for improving mental, physical health and quality of life.
References: sciencedirect.com; jaci-inpractice.org; onlinelibrary.wiley.com; weedmaps.com; healthline.com; leafly.com