Symptoms and treatment of weed allergy
Could you have an allergy to marijuana? Is it possible to be allergic to weed or pot? You may be new to medicinal marijuana or legal recreational marijuana. Or maybe you’ve used it before without a problem. But it is quite possible to have an allergy to cannabis.
This article explains the symptoms of a weed allergy. It includes information about an allergy to marijuana-based foods, the challenges of diagnosing an allergy, and what you can do if you have one.
For some people, a marijuana allergy can cause a skin reaction that occurs when they touch or handle the plant or its flowers.
Symptoms of skin irritation may include:
- Rash or hives
- Dry, scaly skin
There is also some evidence that marijuana could be an airborne allergen. Some people become sensitized after inhaling marijuana pollen. They can also become sensitized after inhaling airborne hemp dust from industrial processing of the plant.
Symptoms of airborne allergy to marijuana can include:
Allergic reactions to edibles
Edibles made from marijuana have become more available for medicinal purposes. And there are also regions in the United States where they are legal for all users.
Although it is rare, cases of anaphylactic reactions have been reported following the consumption of hemp seeds. Symptoms may include:
Many types of pollen from plants, such as ragweed, flowers, and trees, can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Marijuana flowers also produce pollen which can cause these reactions in susceptible people. The reaction may affect the skin or the respiratory system.
It is possible to have an allergic reaction from eating marijuana seeds or foods made with marijuana. Symptoms may include:
Sometimes an allergy to other foods can cause a cross reaction with marijuana and vice versa.
Allergies to tomatoes, peaches, bananas, citrus fruits, grapefruit, eggplant, almonds and chestnuts have been observed to cross-react with marijuana in various studies.
Marijuana use and sensitization to other allergens
It seems that smoking marijuana can sensitize people, or stimulate them to develop an allergy, to other allergens.
In one study, marijuana use was associated with the development of allergies to mold, dust mites, plants, and cat dander.
In most cases, your doctor would make the diagnosis of a marijuana allergy based on your description of your exposure and your symptoms.
Skin tests are the way for allergists to detect an allergy. These tests are not standardized for marijuana allergy testing. But in theory, your allergist could make an extract or suspension using the leaves, buds, and flowers of the plant. Then the allergist might perform a standard prick test.
This is not a typical way to identify a marijuana allergy. And your allergist may consider it if there are serious concerns about the cause, effects, and treatment of your allergy.
If you think you’ve developed an allergy to marijuana, it’s usually best to avoid the plant altogether.
If you are using marijuana for medical purposes, you should talk to your doctor and consult a healthcare practitioner. They might suggest alternative treatment options for your condition that won’t cause allergic reactions.
Sometimes you may be unable to avoid exposure to marijuana from exposure in the air over which you have no control. If so, discuss treatment options for your allergy with your doctor. They might recommend that you use antihistamines or decongestants to prevent or treat symptoms like a runny nose and red eyes.
For symptoms of an anaphylactic-like reaction, see an emergency doctor immediately. These reactions can be life threatening and should be treated promptly.
You may need to wear an Epi-pen in the future if you are diagnosed with an anaphylactic-type reaction.
Some people can be allergic to marijuana, also known as weed or pot. If you are allergic to marijuana, you may experience itching, redness, rash, hives, or dry, scaly skin. Marijuana can even be an airborne allergen. Some people experience nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and breathing problems when they breathe in pollen from a marijuana plant.
If you think you are allergic to weed, the best solution is to avoid it. And if you are using marijuana medicinally, you can also visit your doctor to see if there are other alternative treatments you can try.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you be allergic to cannabis?
Yes. Allergic reactions have been seen in some people who inhale, touch, or eat marijuana or cannabis products. Symptoms and severity vary depending on the severity of your allergy and the form of cannabis you are exposed to, and it can cause a rash, swelling, breathing problems, sneezing, or itchy eyes.
Can marijuana cause anaphylaxis?
Yes, but it is rare and it mainly happens when an allergic person eats hemp seeds.