Medical marijuana typically is available as cannabis sativa strains, cannabis indica strains, or hybrid strains which contain varying levels of THC and CBD. While these therapeutic compounds can relieve many painful symptoms, they can also be a problem for some. Although extremely rare, some people suffer from traditional allergic reactions to cannabis, specifically sativa strains.
For those wondering, “can you be allergic to cannabis?,” the short answer is yes. Cannabis pollen and cannabis smoke can lead to marijuana allergy symptoms, mild and severe. Although sativa strains are anecdotally responsible for certain allergy-related symptoms, people may also be allergic to the over 400 chemicals found in cannabis. Here are a few symptoms to look out for.
If you suddenly feel like you can’t breathe as easily as before smoking marijuana, you may have an allergy. People that smoke cannabis can diminish pulmonary function and create respiratory complications. Long-term smoking or even working around cannabis and hemp can contribute to dyspnea, or difficult breathing, due to a marijuana allergy.
Sneezing and Congestion
Allergic rhinitis is an umbrella term for a host of symptoms that affect the nose due to an allergen including dust, animal dander, or pollen. Symptoms include congestion, runny nose, sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and worse if left untreated.
While cannabis is largely touted as a potent pain muscle, nerve, and mental pain reliever, cannabis can also indirectly contribute to allergy-related headaches. These headaches may be related to swollen sinuses preventing normal drainage or severe nasal congestion.
Apart from runny noses and watery eyes, many marijuana allergy sufferers may experience fatigue, irritability, lack of focus, poor sleep, and more.
Itchy Skin, Rashes, and Hives
When the skin comes in contact with an allergen, it can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Symptoms include red, itchy rashes, small blisters or bumps. These skin flare-ups are the immune system’s way of fighting back. Rashes and hives may also be side effects of a marijuana allergy.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is inflammation of the conjunctiva tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white of the eyeball. This thin layer of tissue keeps the eyelid and eyeball moist and functioning properly. Although rare, marijuana allergies can cause pink eye.
Marijuana allergy symptoms can also indicate other allergies to fruit and vegetables. Developing a cannabis allergy after prolonged and extensive use can result in a sensitization of various plant and food allergies known as the cannabis-fruits/vegetables” syndrome.
To determine if someone is allergic to marijuana, skin testing must be performed. Using flowers, crushed nugs, or extract from leaves, doctors place the allergen directly on the skin. Allergic reactions include itchiness, rash, hives, and swelling. These symptoms go away within hours, at worse several days. Contact your doctor to find a long-term solution if you suspect you have a marijuana allergy. Treating it with antihistamines or diminishing use may prove to reduce symptoms of marijuana allergies.