Can You Be Allergic To Weed?

Weed allergy exists, but it’s a rare condition. Unfortunately, those who are allergic to weed are also allergic to cannabis-based products

Can You Be Allergic To Weed: The Highlights

  • People can have allergic reactions triggered by marijuana, just as they can with many other plants and pollens
  • A few unlucky people will have an allergic reaction to any kind of weed smoke, including secondhand smoke
  • CBD oil, edibles, and being in contact with the pollen of marijuana can also cause an allergic reaction
  • Marijuana allergy sufferers could suffer symptoms similar to seasonal allergy conditions
  • A skin or blood test can determine if you are allergic to marijuana

Is Weed Allergy A Real Thing?

The chances are very slim that you are allergic to weed, but the truth is marijuana allergy does exist.

People can have allergic reactions triggered by marijuana, just as they can with many other plants and pollens. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe.

Most people could smoke like a chimney (or be around weed smoke) and it doesn’t affect them at all. Meanwhile, a few unlucky people will have an allergic reaction to secondhand weed smoke, let alone smoking it themselves.

In addition to weed smoke, allergy sufferers would also be affected by cannabis in other forms.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), a person can develop an allergy or allergic sensitization to marijuana after exposure to the plant.

Here are all the ways that cannabis can affect allergy sufferers:

Symptoms stemming from an allergic reaction to weed can range from mild to severe if left untreated.

A recent small-scale study from 2018 reveals that people are more likely to have a cannabis allergy if they have allergies to cat dander, molds, dust mites, or plants.

Marijuana Intolerance Is A Thing

No drugs sign

People who have used marijuana for a long-time also could be allergy sufferers. These people built up an intolerance for marijuana. The medical term for this condition is called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS).

CHS is a condition that only happens to long-term marijuana users.  When a chronic cannabis user experiences this condition, then they may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • bouts of nausea and vomiting
  • bathing with hot water (Which is a learned reaction supposedly)

The only way these people can overcome CHS is to stop using marijuana.

Weed Allergy Symptoms

All cannabis allergy symptoms usually occur 20-30 minutes after exposure to the plant. And not just smoking it, but any kind of contact such as touching a marijuana plant, inhaling the plant’s pollen, eating edibles, or using CBD oil.

In general, a person who truly has some sort of allergy reaction to weed will experience one or more of the following issues:

  • Sore throat
  • Inflammation of the throat
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Rhinitis
  • Stomach cramping
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling below the surface of the skin
  • Watery eyes
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Nasal congestion

And keep this in mind: The more cannabis you use, the stronger the allergic reaction. 

Risks Linked To Weed Allergy

While most allergy sufferers will experience these mild symptoms, a rare few could experience anaphylaxis. Your body will let you know immediately if you have this condition.

An allergic person experiences anaphylaxis not just in one spot, but throughout their whole body, setting off a chain of physiological events that send their body into a state of shock. These are signs and symptoms of anaphylactic shock:

  • Vomiting, abdominal and GI cramping
  • Skin reactions (generalized hives, itching, swelling, reddening)
  • Respiratory problems, swollen throat, and tongue
  • Reduced blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting

Anaphylactic shock is potentially fatal and should be treated immediately with a shot of adrenaline (Epinephrine) and a trip to the emergency room.

An Epinephrine shot complements your body’s own adrenaline to reduce throat swelling, open up breathing pathways and regulate blood pressure.

How To Diagnose Marijuana Allergy

If you feel that you are allergic to weed, then don’t stop at diagnosing yourself. Schedule a doctor visit and see if you really are.

Doctors diagnose marijuana allergies in the same way as other types of allergies, by using blood or skin tests.

Blood Test

Getting a blood test is an effective way to determine if you’re allergic to marijuana.

A sample of blood your drawn and tested for the presence of antibodies when using or around marijuana. If an individual has more antibodies in the blood than expected, they are more likely to be allergic to marijuana.

Blood tests may be more suitable than skin test in some cases because they involve a single needle prick. Also, this test has a lesser chance of been affected by any other medications.

The downside to the blood test is it takes longer to get the results back and cost more than the skin test.

Skin Test

Allergy test. Doctor holds pipette in hand for research

After getting your medical history and performing a physical exam, the doctor will perform a skin test. This test is not very invasive, costs less, and the results come back way quicker than a blood test.

In a skin test, the doctor will apply a diluted allergen (such as marijuana) to the skin’s surface with a needle. If that person gets a red bump or any kind of swelling to that area, then it is likely that they are allergic to that substance.

A doctor may also use an intradermal to perform the skin test. This involves using a thin needle to inject a diluted allergen just below the skin’s surface.

Marijuana Allergy Symptoms

As you know by now, there are several allergy symptoms associated with marijuana. One that hasn’t been discussed is cross-relativity.

Cross-reactivity happens when the proteins, such as pollen, in the marijuana plant resemble the proteins in another plant. An allergic reaction may then occur when a person comes into contact with similar proteins elsewhere.

These similar proteins are in foods that contain protein that resembles marijuana’s protein.

Allergies to tomatoes, peaches, bananas, citrus, grapefruit, eggplant, almonds, and chestnuts have been seen to cross-react with marijuana in various studies.

Another thing that may be an issue is marijuana usage may sensitize people (stimulate them to develop an allergy to) other antigens.

So marijuana users could potentially develop allergies to substances such as mold, dust mites, plants, and cat dander.

Thus, marijuana itself may not be what some people are allergic to, but instead, marijuana subjects them to be allergic to other substances.

In addition, people who regularly use CBD oil could be subjected to allergens.

At high intakes, CBD oil may cause:

  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • interactions with other medications
  • lightheadedness
  • low blood pressure

So more research needs to be carried out on the effect of CBD on certain enzymes, drug transporters, and the effects of other drugs.

Weed Is A Weak Allergen

Macro of marijuana with trichomes

Weed (marijuana) is not a strong allergen. Most people will not be affected by it whether they are using weed or around it.

And for the few people who have marijuana allergies, they experience mild to a moderate reaction that is similar to seasonal allergy conditions.

(Unless they are the extremely rare individual who experiences anaphylaxis)

As soon as the person stops using marijuana and avoids it altogether, their symptoms should subside quickly.

So if you experience any of the allergens associated with marijuana use, do your best to avoid the drug at all cost.

Farma Health Desk Editor