Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Marijuana is increasingly becoming popular for recreation as well as a medicinal treatment for various conditions, having been legalized in some states.
Despite the many benefits that marijuana has, it can also cause allergic reactions in a small amount of people.
This is because it is an allergen that can easily trigger pollen-like allergic symptoms, which can vary from mild allergies to severe ones. Cannabidiol contained in cannabis is the substance that triggers these negative reactions.
Risk Factors of Cannabis Allergy
Allergens are viewed by the body as threats. While the body works to protect against threats and foreign bacteria, the immune system may also trigger a number of reactions or several allergic responses. A small study concluded that people with a predisposed allergy for cats, molds, dust mites, or plants are susceptible.
1. Cross-reactivity of Allergens
If you are allergic to foods with similar properties as marijuana, then allergies may become more prevalent to you. This is known allergy cross-reaction.
Increased exposure to cannabis may also increase the likelihood of developing sensitivity to this plant, which is more prevalent in areas where marijuana is cultivated.
Allergen symptoms are triggered by Pollen from the cannabis plant. As a result, sensitization of marijuana has been increased since when it was legalized.
3. Increased content of THC
Growers of marijuana often prefer growing female plants because they produce more buds. Buds are the flowers which are smoked for recreational purposes. More buds produced from the plant means more production of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical that creates the euphoric high in marijuana flowers. Breeders are improving and increasing the content of THC which can easily affect your sensitivity to cannabis.
Marijuana allergies are diagnosed by doctors just like other types of allergies, by use of the following tests:
- Skin tests
A doctor will first conduct a physical examination by taking the medical history of an individual. A skin prick test may then be used. This is not a very invasive test, so the results are given quickly.
The test is performed through application of a diluted allergen like marijuana on the surface of the skin using a needle. If that area develops a red bump, redness, or itching of that area within 15 minutes, the person is likely to be allergic to the substance.
An intradermal test may also be used by a doctor. In this test, a thin needle is used for injecting a diluted allergen below the surface of a skin.
• Blood tests
Another way of testing for marijuana allergies is by use of blood tests. A blood sample is drawn from a person and tested for the antibodies' presence to marijuana. If there happen to be more antibodies in the blood than is expected, there is a high possibility for them to be more allergic to marijuana.
Blood tests are more effective than skin prick tests because they require a single needle prick. Other medications are less likely to affect these tests in any way. These tests are, however, more expensive and results take much longer to come back than skin tests.
As of now, no treatment has been discovered for marijuana allergy. In order to reduce discomfort and manage symptoms, one can take antihistamines.
Due unavailability of treatment options, people allergic to marijuana ought to avoid touching, smoking, or eating the drug or the plant to evade allergic symptoms.
If one happens to be severely allergic to marijuana, you should carry an injection of epinephrine (Adrenaclick or EpiPen) for emergency treatment in case of accidental exposure and ultimate anaphylaxis.
Preventing an allergic reaction
If you are a frequent user of medical marijuana, consuming its edibles, or smoking it recreationally, it is recommended by doctors that you should stop if you have any adverse effects to prevent yourself from severe reactions.
If you regularly work with cannabis plant for work, you need to wear face masks, gloves, and use allergy medication to assist you in reducing or preventing symptoms. Carrying an inhaler is also recommended by doctors to assist you in case of pollen from marijuana affects your breathing.
Have you ever met someone with an allergy to cannabis?