Derived from the plant Cannabis sativa, marijuana is consumed for its recreational and medicinal purposes through oral ingestion and through the inhalation of smoke from burning various parts of the plants. Cannabis sativa also produces pollen and releases it during the summer. This pollen spreads by the wind and can cause allergic symptoms because it resembles a type of weed pollen called Nettle. Many cases concerning marijuana allergy have been reported in the past 40 years, but many people still ask, "Can you be allergic weed?"Keep reading to find your answer.
Can You Be Allergic to Weed?
Latest studies show that like other pollen-bearing plants, cannabis can also trigger allergic reactions. It is also found that while cases of cannabis allergies are still uncommon, they definitely increase in frequency with time. When ingested or smoked, cannabis sativa can trigger allergic rhinitis, asthmatic symptoms, conjunctivitis, and skin irritation. Some studies have also found that you are more likely to develop food allergies if you consume marijuana.
Types of Weed Allergy
Can you be allergic to weed? Yes, you can. However, it is equally important to learn more about different types of weed allergies. For instance:
- Cannabis Pollen Allergy: There have been reports indicating that many people have experienced symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis after being exposed to Cannabis pollen. It is important to point out that you cannot find any commercially available test for Cannabis pollen allergy, but it is possible to create a RAST allergy test, which may help allergists to use pollen to design a homemade skin test extract.
- Marijuana Smoke Allergy: There have also been reports showing that people who have smoked the cannabis flowers and buds have experienced allergic reactions, including asthma, allergic rhinitis, anaphylaxis, and urticaria angioedema. Marijuana smoke can trigger allergic reactions because it contains pollen allergens as well as THC. Allergen immunotherapy with cannabis pollen might help, but there is no concrete evidence to support this.
- Allergy to Eating Marijuana: Many people consume marijuana orally in the form of baked goods and herbal teas. Many cases have been reported where people have developed allergic reactions after eating marijuana. Cross-reactivity may also be present between foods like tomato and peach, and marijuana.
What Are the Symptoms?
Now you know the answer to your question, "Can you be allergic to weed?" you may be wondering about the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction. You may experience severe itching with redness and hives on your skin after consuming marijuana. Dry, scaly skin is also a symptom usually seen in people who are allergic to marijuana.
It is possible to become sensitized if you inhale marijuana pollen. If this happens, you will experience the same symptoms that usually appear when you develop an allergic reaction to any other airborne allergen. The most common symptoms are nasal congestion, hay fever, itchy watery eyes, a sore throat, and respiratory problems, such as asthma.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you have been consuming marijuana for medicinal purposes. They may help replace it with something else that does not trigger an allergic reaction.
How to Know You Are Allergic?
It is possible to confirm that you are allergic to weed by taking a skin test. It works the same as in other types of allergies. You can submit to a skin allergy test to confirm if you really have a marijuana allergy; however, it may cause several complications and even prove deadly. Scientists are still looking for better ways to conduct the test – they are considering the use of crushed leaves and buds to perform tests.
How to Deal with Weed Allergy
Once you have confirmed that you have weed allergy, you need to take some steps to deal with this situation in a better way. Here are some suggestions:
- Avoidance Is the Best Treatment. Just like other allergies, you need to avoid the allergen to avoid an allergic reaction. At the same time, you should consider occupational exposure, local aerobiology, and compliance with the added layer of substance abuse.
- You can make use intranasal steroids, antihistamines, and nasal decongestants to deal with symptoms caused by a weed allergy. You may have to take beta-agonists to treat asthma and opt for corticosteroid, which you need to inhale to relieve symptoms. If you have a history of anaphylaxis, your doctor may prescribe epinephrine auto-injectors.
- You may benefit from immunotherapy as well. While more research is still needed, immunotherapy may help treat Cannabis-monosensitized patients who also have allergic rhinitis and asthma.
- Some experts believe that using omalizumab may help treat patients who have anaphylaxis – it may help treat throat symptoms, dyspnea, hypotension, and urticaria.
It is of immense importance to talk to your doctor when you believe you are allergic to weed. You may have a severe allergic reaction if you are in area where pollen count is usually on the higher side. So, talk to your doctor to learn how to protect yourself.