Is it Possible to Be Allergic to Marijuana?

Although rare, it’s totally possible to be allergic to marijuana. Reactions can vary widely depending on the kind of exposure. Some may only be allergic to THC, or only CBD, only react to cannabis pollen, etc. The key to finding the root cause may require some experimentation. Yet, at the same time, it’s okay to accept that weed isn’t for everyone. Below are some signs you may have an allergy- some are more serious than others: 

  • Hives or another type of rash 
  • Angioedema 
  • Runny nose or sneezing 
  • Itchy, watery eyes 
  • Asthma attack 
  • Anaphylaxis 
  • Nausea or vomiting 

It’s incredibly important to closely monitor yourself or someone else if they have any of these symptoms. Allergic reactions can worsen over a period of time- if they do, it’s crucial you get to a doctor or emergency room immediately. Signs that warrant a call to 911 include:

  • Swollen tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Dizziness or fainting 
  • Flushed or pale skin. 

Most of the time, however, allergic reactions are mild and can be managed with antihistamines.

What Causes Cannabis Allergies? 

There are a few main factors that can increase your likelihood of developing or triggering your weed allergy. Increased exposure to the plant can increase your sensitivity to any allergens present in the flower or product. This is often more common in areas where cannabis is grown since there may be more pollen in the air. If you’ve already been diagnosed with asthma, this can also increase possible bad effects. 

An increase in THC consumption can also induce sensitization; this is especially true nowadays due to growers looking to increase the THC content of their buds more than ever before. Finally, research has found a link between certain foods and cannabis due to them having similar proteins; the 9-kDa lipid transfer protein (LTP) is especially significant when it comes to identifying allergic reactions. If you react to any of the foods listed below, you may be at higher risk of being allergic to cannabis: 

  • Apples 
  • Almonds 
  • Chestnuts 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Bananas 
  • Eggplants 
  • Grapefruits
  • Peaches 

Diagnosis

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to properly diagnose an allergy. Allergists can perform a “prick test” in which they prick a part of your arm with the allergen to see if the skin changes at all 15 to 20 minutes later. For a more thorough investigation, you can conduct a blood test; the most common one conducted by doctors is the immunoCAP test. There is also the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) to scan for certain antibodies that developed in response to a certain allergen. 

If you suspect that you have a weed allergy, it’s best to inspect the weed to ensure that mites or mold are not the issues. If health problems persist, then going to an allergist to conduct tests like those mentioned above may be the best course of action for you.

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Troy Boquette

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