Is it possible to be allergic to weed? The answer might surprise you! Although severe allergic reactions to cannabis are rare as more and more people try THC and CBD hemp derived products for themselves questions about potential allergies and cases of allergic reactions are starting to become better known and research into properly understanding these issues is currently underway.
If you are a person who experiences allergies of any kind it makes sense to wonder if CBD or THC products could also cause an allergic reaction for you if you were to try to take them. But if these allergies do exist what kinds of signs and symptoms can a novice user of cannabis look out for to be certain that they are not adversely affecting their own health in any way?
Can Someone Be Allergic to Weed?
Cannabis has a long and storied history in human societies and has always – at least until recently – only been considered seriously as a medication and safe recreational intoxicant by the fringes of society. As these attitudes evolve over time so too does our understanding of cannabis and the vast potential it has to heal and help people as well as do harm. Though reports of marijuana allergy symptoms are extremely rare that does not mean that they are inconsequential or impossible and therefore it is never a bad idea to do our best to try and fully understand them, their implications and any methods for avoiding the issues that arise from them.
Some of the things people attribute to the effects of cannabis are very well known and understood by the people who frequently use it without an allergy to marijuana. These include a wide range of beneficial medical health and wellness benefits brought about by the THC and CBD interacting with the human endocannabinoid system which is present in all of us. CB1 & CB2 receptors throughout the body are specially tuned to receive the health benefits of cannabis and this interaction results in the well known euphoric psychoactive high that potent and high grade cannabis can provide.
While exploring this issue it is important to keep in mind that there is a long history of misattribution and outright deception when it came to the official and public policy on cannabis products which is only recently starting to shift in the greater societal consciousness. This has led to a lot of misinformation and rumour about potential side effects meant to scare people away from ever trying it and discovering how generally harmless and downright fun it can be to experience.
But while keeping ourselves armoured with healthy skepticism is always a good idea we should also be compassionate and open minded when listening to the experiences of other people. Just because we personally have never experienced any allergic to weed symptoms or never met anyone with an allergy to marijuana does not make it impossible. With both empathy and skepticism in mind let’s take a look at the available information about allergies to marijuana.
Allergies to Marijuana
Can you be allergic to marijuana? The bare facts of the matter is that marijuana allergies are neither a phony scare tactic or an overblown falsehood or an urban myth. But it is also not an indication that cannabis is suddenly unsuitable for medical purposes. Allergies are a very real issue for almost all available traditional medications and some people have very extreme reactions to them regardless of the dosage given to them. This just means we need to be careful and calculated about our usage.
We all have a friend or two (or many!) in our social circle who have always sworn they could never enjoy cannabis because of the way it made them feel. Typically it is polite to be understanding and not evangelically pushy about your own love for cannabis when interacting with a person of this mindset as they can be very sensitive when pushed to try cannabis again. There are plenty of sarcastic memes on the internet about pushy stoners insisting that a particular strain or another is the key to making cannabis work for these people if only they might try it.
While it may be true that cannabis could actually help a lot of the people who feel the way I have just described it is always important to be sensitive about the possibility that what works well for you may not be the ideal solution for another person. This is especially true when it comes to the possibility of someone with allergy concerns who might also be concerned they might be allergic to marijuana as well. It does the cannabis community – especially the medical cannabis community – very little favours to be insistent and unsympathetic when exploring alternative health solutions with someone prone to or concerned about allergic reaction.
Just as it is possible to have an allergy to any other kind of plant that you might find in nature allergies to marijuana are entirely possible and as people concerned with the health and well being of the people in our larger communities we feel it is important to keep these facts in mind.
The Cause of the Reaction
Recent scientific reports have alluded to the possibility that Lipid Transfer Protiens (also known as LPTs) are the likely culprit when it comes to marijuana allergy causes and symptoms. LPTs are allergenic proteins that are found in many varieties of plant based food and pollen and are known to cause allergic reactions in some people by triggering the overproduction of antibodies. LPTs aren’t the only potential allergen in cannabis but studies have shown that a high amount of patients who developed allergic reactions after using cannabis were prone to similar reactions when exposed to an LPT focused extract.
Cross reactivity is another important factor to consider. Nearly half of those people who suffered and reported an allergy to marijuana also reported that they were allergic to other plant based foods and products containing similar proteins. Some of the known cross reactive allergies revealed in recent studies include allergies to tomato and peach peel. If you or someone you love has a known allergy to plant based foods and medicines then we would advise they approach cannabis as a potential medication with caution and armed with the latest knowledge they can find on the subjects most relevant to their particular allergies.
Terpenes have been much celebrated in recent years as a very desirable aspect of the cannabis flower and are known to enhance both the psychoactive effects of the substance as well as the overall enjoyment of the smoking experience. Some studies have also shown that people with dermatological related allergies were also susceptible to certain terpenes found in cannabis products when they were exposed to the air but the potential for this kind of allergic reaction seems relatively rare.
Allergic to Weed Symptoms
What are the signs you might be allergic to marijuana or experiencing an allergic reaction to having been exposed to a cannabis product? This is usually determined by the route that cannabis has taken to get into your system. Was it a topical that was rubbed into the skin or a bit of flower that was ground up and smoked in a joint, pipe or bong? If you are feeling overwhelmed and too high and work yourself into a panic about the idea of having an allergic reaction to cannabis you can work yourself into a very unhealthy state of mind.
But that said there are some very clear telltale signs you can rely on that would suggest you are experiencing allergic to weed symptoms and are not just imagining things or being paranoid. Skin contact with an allergen will cause irritation, redness and possible inflammation of the skin tissue that would be very prevalent in extreme cases and hard to ignore or mistake for a trick of the mind. If you experience any of these symptoms after your skin has come into contact with cannabis flowers or a cannabis derived topical extract, cease use of the product immediately and consult a trained medical professional about your issue. Disregarding the warning signs your body sends you could cause you serious health complications down the line!
Other possible allergic reactions to cannabis contact or even smoking or ingesting the substance can be very similar to the kind of reactions you might experience from any other type of allergen you might encounter in the wild. These include symptoms like nasal drip, watery eyes, stuffy head or “hay fever” as it is unaffectionately often called. Though in this case you might be able to get away with calling it hemp fever! If you have started trying cannabis products recently and experience any of these symptoms consistently after use then cease your use immediately and consult with a trained medical professional about the issue.
So what should you do if you find yourself among the unlucky few who have a severe negative reaction to using cannabis products be it a physical or a mental one? Well the most surefire way to avoid future issues with bad reactions to a particular substance is to avoid it and sadly that is the most likely solution here. Despite the way it might seem discussing cannabis medical treatments and breakthroughs with people who are closely involved and passionate about the industry and its impact on the health and wellness of people everywhere cannabis is not a one size fits all solution for everyone and every medical concern. If cannabis doesn’t work for you there is nothing wrong with that and there is bound to be a treatment better suited to you out there.
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