Recent studies have revealed that cannabis, like other plants that produce pollen, has the potential to elicit allergic reactions. Although cases of cannabis are rare, but you still can be allergic to weed.
Inhalation or consumption of cannabis sativa can induce allergic rhinitis, asthma symptoms, conjunctivitis, and skin irritation. Additionally, certain studies suggest a higher likelihood of developing food allergies among individuals who consume marijuana.
These findings emphasize the importance of recognizing the possibility of allergic reactions to cannabis and highlight the need for further research in this area.
What Is A Cannabis Allergy?
A weed allergy refers to an unfavorable immune reaction to cannabis. In certain individuals, inhaling or breathing in cannabis can lead to symptoms of nasal or eye allergies. Although rare, there have been a few reported cases of anaphylaxis caused by cannabis. Notably, the number of reported instances of weed allergies has been on the rise in recent years.
Individuals who regularly use cannabis can experience recurring and intense episodes of vomiting, a condition known as Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS). However, CHS is rare and primarily affects long-term daily users of cannabis.
It is important to exercise caution when engaging in long-term cannabis use due to the potential risk of developing CHS and its associated symptoms.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) states that an individual can develop an allergy or become sensitized to cannabis following their initial exposure to the plant.
This sensitization can occur through various means such as inhalation, smoking, touching, or ingestion of cannabis. The primary risks associated with a marijuana allergy are associated with cross-reactivity with other allergens.
Cross-reactivity arises when proteins found in the cannabis plant, such as pollen, bear resemblance to proteins present in another plant. Consequently, when a person encounters similar proteins elsewhere, an allergic reaction may occur.
Cannabis Allergy Symptoms
- Asthma symptoms such as wheezing
- Itchy eyes
- Swelling of the eyes
- Nasal symptoms such as sneezing
- Low blood pressure
- In rare cases, anaphylaxis
The symptoms of a weed allergy can vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe. In adults, most cannabis allergy symptoms typically manifest immediately, although there are cases where they can be delayed for several hours.
It is not uncommon for adults with a weed allergy to experience symptoms days after their initial exposure to cannabis. While rare, it is crucial to note that anaphylaxis can occur following marijuana exposure.
It is vital to be aware of your symptoms and promptly seek medical attention if you suspect a severe allergic reaction.
How do I know if I allergic to weed allergy?
Weed allergy symptoms can manifest in various ways depending on the method of exposure. Direct contact or touching the plant can lead to the development of rashes, hives, or swelling known as angioedema.
Inhaling cannabis allergens can cause nasal and ocular allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, itching, and swelling and watering of the eyes. Some individuals may experience asthma symptoms, including wheezing and shortness of breath.
Although rare, researchers have reported cases of anaphylaxis, with the most common trigger for this severe allergic reaction being the ingestion of hempseed.
Furthermore, there have been reports of cross-reactivity between weed and specific foods. Researchers have observed allergies in individuals who are sensitive to both cannabis and certain foods such as tomato, peach, and hazelnut.
This cross-reactivity occurs due to the presence of shared proteins or allergens found in both marijuana and these food items. Consequently, this cross-reactivity has the potential to trigger severe allergic reactions.
However, further research and clinical investigation are necessary to identify and define the specific allergens that play a significant role in these reactions.
Types of Weed Allergy
It is equally important to learn more about different types of weed allergies. For instance:
- Cannabis Pollen Allergy: Numerous reports have highlighted that individuals exposed to Cannabis pollen have encountered symptoms such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis.
It is worth noting that commercially available tests for Cannabis pollen allergy are currently unavailable. However, allergists can potentially develop a RAST allergy test using pollen to create a homemade skin test extract, which can aid in the diagnosis of this type of allergy.
- Cannabis Smoke Allergy: There have been documented cases of allergic reactions among individuals who have smoked cannabis flowers and buds. These reactions include asthma, allergic rhinitis, anaphylaxis, and urticaria angioedema.
Weed smoke can trigger allergic responses due to the presence of pollen allergens as well as THC. While there is a possibility that allergen immunotherapy using cannabis pollen could be beneficial, the current evidence lacks substantial support for this treatment approach. Further research is needed to establish its efficacy.
- Allergy to Eating Cannabis: A significant number of individuals consume cannabis orally through baked goods and herbal teas. In several reported cases, people have experienced allergic reactions following the ingestion of cannabis.
Cross-reactivity has been observed between cannabis and certain foods such as tomato and peach. This implies that individuals who are allergic to these foods may also be at risk of developing an allergic reaction to cannabis.
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In summary, although still relatively uncommon, cannabis allergies are gaining recognition and increased reporting. Allergic reactions to weed can present with various symptoms, including nasal and ocular manifestations, skin irritation, asthma, and in rare instances, anaphylaxis.
The observed cross-reactivity between cannabis and certain foods further emphasizes the potential for severe allergic reactions. It is crucial for individuals who suspect a weed allergy to be vigilant about their symptoms and promptly seek medical attention in the event of a severe allergic reaction.