Can You Be Allergic to Cannabis? New research is emerging that suggests that you can, in fact, be allergic to cannabis.
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Cannabis allergies are relatively rare, but they can occur. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, they can be life-threatening. If you think you may be allergic to cannabis, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is when your body overreacts to a substance it perceives as being harmful. This can happen when you come into physical contact with something, eat or drink it, or even if it’s just in the air around you. The substance that causes your body to have this reaction is called an allergen.
Your immune system is responsible for protecting your body against invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. When it encounters an allergen, it will produce antibodies to try and neutralize it. In some people, this can cause an allergic reaction which can range from mild (itchy eyes) to severe (anaphylaxis).
Cannabis allergies are relatively rare, but they are real and can cause serious problems for those who have them. The good news is that there are ways to manage your allergy and still enjoy the benefits of cannabis.
What are the symptoms of an allergy to cannabis?
Cannabis allergies are not common, but they can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms. People who are allergic to cannabis may experience:
-a runny nose
-red, itchy skin
-swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
-trouble breathing or swallowing
Some people may also experience anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
-low blood pressure
-fast heart rate
-lightheadedness or dizziness
-loss of consciousness
How is an allergy to cannabis diagnosed?
Cannabis allergies are most often diagnosed through a skin prick test or blood test. These tests can Determine if you have antibodies to cannabis in your system.
If you have a positive skin prick or blood test, your doctor may then recommend an allergy challenge. This is when you’re exposed to small amounts of cannabis in a controlled setting, under the supervision of a doctor, to see if you have a reaction.
Allergy challenges are not always necessary, as skin prick and blood tests can be reliable in diagnosing a cannabis allergy. However, they may be recommended in some cases.
What is the treatment for an allergy to cannabis?
There is no cure for an allergy to cannabis, and the only way to prevent a reaction is to avoid exposure to the plant. If you have a severe allergy, you may need to carry an epinephrine injector (such as an EpiPen) with you in case of accidental exposure. If you have a milder allergy, over-the-counter antihistamines may help relieve symptoms.
Can an allergy to cannabis be prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent an allergy to cannabis. If you have never had an allergic reaction to the plant before, it is still possible to have an allergic reaction the next time you are exposed to it. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce your risk of having an allergic reaction:
-Wash your hands thoroughly after handling cannabis
-Avoid touching your face after handling cannabis
-Wash any clothes that have come into contact with cannabis as soon as possible
-Avoid smoking cannabis
-Only use cannabis products that have been tested for allergens and contaminants
Cannabis allergies are rare, but they can happen. If you have symptoms after using cannabis, talk to a doctor to find out if you’re allergic.