What most people know about marijuana is that using it makes you very high. There are many ways to use marijuana. Some people prefer smoking it, and others make oils out of its extract while some vape it.
Because most people view marijuana as a recreational plant, it is illegal in most countries. However, there’s recently been a significant push in favor of making it legal. The drive has been relatively successful, particularly in western countries. Some countries are beginning to relax their archaic laws that prohibited marijuana use.
The success of the push is because of researchers who are changing people’s minds about marijuana. The researchers have discovered that cannabis can be used to treat several conditions.
Despite all these benefits, there is a hidden side to marijuana. One that very few people talk about. This is the fact that marijuana is an allergen. According to the Daily Mail, 36 million Americans are allergic to marijuana.
This is a shocking number, yet people rarely talk about it. We want to change that. In this article, we’ll dive deep into marijuana allergies. What causes them, how to diagnose it, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.
But, before we go on, did you know that CBD can be used to treat allergies? Please make sure to check out that article if you suffer from allergies.
Now, let’s get back to marijuana allergies.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology performed several studies on how people developed an allergic reaction to marijuana. The studies showed that people develop allergic reactions to cannabis when they:
- Smoking cannabis
- Touching the cannabis plant
- Ingesting CBD oil
- Eating marijuana edibles.
- Inhaling the marijuana pollen through the air
- exposed to secondhand smoke
Symptoms of Marijuana Allergy
When an allergic person is exposed to marijuana, their body may react in several ways. Some of the symptoms of marijuana allergy are similar to symptoms of other allergies. These include:
- Red eyes
- Running nose
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry cough
- Sore and itchy throat
- Hay fever
- Watery eyes
Other symptoms of marijuana allergy mirror the symptoms of contact dermatitis. These symptoms manifest if marijuana has come into contact with the skin. Some of these symptoms include:
- Red and inflamed skin
- Dry and scaly skin
The symptoms may start to show immediately, but in some cases, it may show after an hour or more. Usually, the symptoms of marijuana allergy are very mild.
To stop the symptoms from becoming worse, you should stop using cannabis immediately you notice something is wrong. If you are in a room, you should move to another room without marijuana.
In sporadic cases, marijuana is known to cause a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Most times, this happens within the first few minutes of exposure to the allergen. Anaphylaxis should never be left untreated as it may lead to death.
Signs of anaphylaxis include:
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swollen throat and tongue
- Rapid or weak pulse
- Pale or flushed skin
- Itchy skin
How Do Doctors Diagnose Marijuana Allergic Reactions?
At the moment, there isn’t a unique test to determine whether you have a marijuana allergy. The most important tool a doctor has in diagnosing it is your medical history. In some cases, doctors may conduct blood and skin tests to determine if you are allergic to marijuana.
There are two types of skin tests that a doctor can do. One involves using a needle to apply a diluted amount of marijuana to the skin. If you are allergic to marijuana, a red bump will appear in 15 minutes.
The other type of skin test involves pricking the skin using a needle. The doctor uses the needle to deliver a diluted version of marijuana into the skin. If the person is allergic to marijuana, a red bump will appear.
Blood tests are a lot more complicated than skin tests. For a blood test, doctors will obtain a sample of your blood and expose it to marijuana. The doctors then test for the presence of antibodies in the blood. If there are more antibodies than expected, then the odds are high that you are allergic to cannabis.
Other Risks Linked To Marijuana Allergens
One of the most significant dangers of marijuana allergy is that it might be linked to cross-reactivity. Cross-reactivity is a phenomenon where the proteins in one allergen are the same as the proteins in another. This means that a person doesn’t have to come into contact with marijuana to get a reaction.
Some foods have similar proteins as marijuana. These include:
- Chestnuts and almonds
Sensitization of Marijuana Allergens
Increased exposure to marijuana allergens can also lead to developed allergies to the plant. In areas where marijuana is grown, pollen coming from the marijuana plant can trigger allergic reactions and symptoms.
As more areas continue to legalize marijuana, more people are being exposed to marijuana pollen, which might trigger an allergic reaction.
Preventing An Allergic Reaction To Marijuana
If you are allergic to marijuana, the best preventive measure is to avoid it. Regardless of why you use marijuana, doctors will tell you to stop using it to prevent severe reactions.
People who work with the marijuana plant are advised to wear protective clothing such as gloves and face masks. They can also use allergy medication to help prevent or reduce the symptoms.
Treatment of Marijuana Allergic Reactions
Like other allergens, marijuana allergic reactions can be treated using conventional medicines. In case the allergy is making it difficult to breathe, you can use nasal decongestants. You can also use antihistamines if you have trouble breathing as a result of the allergy.
In some cases, patients rely on immunotherapy to overcome their marijuana allergy. Immunotherapy is a long term treatment option that aims at inhibiting symptoms by taking allergy shots.
How Do Allergy Shots Work?
Like a vaccine, doctors expose your body to small doses of marijuana, which they increase gradually. If successful, this will lead to the development of immunity and tolerance towards the allergen. Allergy shots are some of the most effective ways to deal with marijuana allergy.
Most states have not yet legalized cannabis, and so there is a limit to how much researchers can look into it. Furthermore, because marijuana is illegal, users avoid reporting their experiences with the plant.
As things stand, there is hope that more countries will legalize marijuana. This will encourage more scientists to look into it. With more research, there is hope that a more efficient marijuana allergy treatment will be developed. For now, we can only wait and hope.
Thank you for reading! We specialize in CBD and its derivatives. Be sure to check out more articles on all things CBD like “CBD Oil & Tincture: Differences, Uses & More” or even “4 Best CBD Blunts You Have to Try“.