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Cannabis Allergy: Can You Be Allergic To Cannabis?

Cannabis allergy is considered pretty rare among users. Still, with weed legalization, all potential implications and risks of hypersensitivity to weed need to be examined.

Oct 02, 20223 Shares521 ViewsWritten By: Johnny K.Reviewed By: Luke Williams
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  1. Is Weed Allergy Real?
  2. Treatment
  3. Weed Allergy Is No Joke

Allergy is the problem of the 21st century global population. People have become more sensitive to various allergens; in 2010-2020, the percentage of potentially allergic individuals reached 40-50%. The mildest form of allergy manifestation is rhinitis; many allergic patients also reveal asthma symptoms. The severest form of allergic reaction is anaphylaxis.

H2: Drivers of Rising Allergy Epidemiology

Opinions about the causes of rising allergy numbers differ. Some scholars and medical practitioners associate it with genetic predisposition, better hygiene, smoking, and climate change. Thus, weed, a plant that many people smoke for therapeutic and recreational purposes, may also be considered a potential source of allergy, especially among people sensitive to other vegetal allergens.

So, as soon as you’re planning to make a joint with your favorite Papaya Cake strain, make sure there’s nobody around you with a known allergy to plants. The risks are high that you might cause trouble to your friend or relative with a seemingly innocent weed smoke.

Is Weed Allergy Real?

While weed allergy seems to be more of an anecdote than a proven fact for many regular users, clinical studies accumulate evidence of serious allergic reactions among people using weed or being occasionally exposed to it.

  • De Larramendi et al.noted that cases of allergy to cannabis sativa had been reported in clinical literature. However, there is still no consensus about the plant's allergenic profile and cross-reactivity patterns; 
  • Liskow et al.reported a case of weed allergy in their 1976 study. A 29-year-old female experienced an allergic reaction after smoking weed for the first time in her life. The allergy took the form of an anaphylactoid response to the THC component of marijuana;
  • Herzinger et al.conducted a study in 2011 to determine whether weed allergy has an immunologic or non-immunologic basis. They discovered an IgE-related pathomechanism for hypersensitivity to marijuana, concluding that the weed allergy is immunological by nature;
  • Armentia et al. considered marijuana to be a serious allergen for young people. The researchers found the patients previously sensitized to tobacco or tomato at an elevated risk of being allergic to weed. They also proved that prick tests and IgE could effectively detect the patient's sensitization to weed;
  • The study by Basharat et al.revealed a range of inhalation-related allergic reactions to weed: rhinitis, conjunctivitis, periorbital angioedema, sinusitis, wheezing, and swelling. Contact allergy symptoms included urticaria and dermatitis. The researchers also observed severe allergies in the form of anxiety, tightness of the chest, wheezing, GI cramping, and vomiting after marijuana-infused tea consumption.

Weed Allergy Testing

How can weed allergy be identified to let you know for sure what you’re allergic to and whether you can smoke weed or not? Here are the most common approaches to testing and allergy identification.

Freemanexamined a sample of allergic patients to identify the efficiency of allergic skin tests for the identification of marijuana allergy. The researcher's findings suggest that marijuana sensitivity occurs in patients also sensitive to various airborne plant pollens. However, no relationship between weed allergy was found for weed's botanical relatives, like elm, mulberry, hop, and stinging nettle.

However, there’s still no standardized approach to weed allergy testing because weed extracts come in many forms, types, and strains. Thus, the medical community is yet to achieve consensus on the standardized strain for allergen testing and immunotherapy development.


Now, what about treatment? Experts recommend talking to an allergist once you notice or suspect any allergy symptoms. If allergy is proven, the first thing you need to do is avoid the weed pollen and smoke. The absence of contact with allergy triggers is the safest way to avoid allergic symptoms or aggravation of your condition.

  • Engler et al.found clinical proof for the efficiency of Omalizumab for treating the anaphylactic response of a young policewoman to occasional exposure to marijuana. The researchers observed the anaphylactic episodes' decrease over four months of Omalizumab administration and recommended it for use in patients with severe allergic reactions to marijuana;
  • The study by Freemansuggested that allergic persons are sensitized to weed through inhalation, which means that their allergy can be curbed with proper immunotherapy. This way, clinical response to weed allergy differs from tobacco allergy, with simple avoidance recommended for hyposensitization;
  • Allergic patients can also use over-the-counter drugs for treating the symptoms, such as albuterol inhalers, corticosteroids, and antihistamines. Nasal decongestants are also a great option for curbing allergies.
  • If you've experienced acute allergy symptoms like anaphylaxis, carrying an auto-injector with epinephrine with you is strongly recommended. You can never know whether you can contact weed in any form.

Weed Allergy Is No Joke

As you might already understand, weed allergy may cause you real trouble. The greatest issue about this allergy is that it may manifest in some time, not necessarily at your first encounter with marijuana. So, allergists recommend taking allergy symptoms seriously and discontinuing weed use if any allergic reactions occur, at least until a thorough allergic testing and consultation with a medical professional.

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