If you didn’t already know, medical marijuana has slowly grown in popularity since the turn of the century. But recently that popularity has exploded as medical cannabis became a legal product in 33 of 50 US states over the span of the past few years. And in all honesty, this majority ratio is likely to grow even more over the next decade. Keep in mind that this explosive interest in cannabis didn’t simply come out of the ether. The immense growth in popularity and consumption of this previously vilified plant is primarily due to the sheer amount of scientific evidence pointing to its medicinal potential. 

But this doesn’t mean that cannabis ingestion, even if it is specifically used for medical reasons, may not come with certain negative side effects. Ever stop to ask yourself if it is possible to be allergic to weed? Questions like these need to be considered carefully before using medical marijuana and making it a consistent part of your therapy. Let’s take a more in-depth look at cannabis allergies and how they may affect you or a loved one.

Can You Be Allergic to Weed?

As a matter of fact, you can be allergic to cannabis. This is true whether or not it is used for medical purposes. Many people have allergies caused by certain plants (including trees, flower, and ragweed species) and the pollen they produce. Unfortunately, cannabis flowers produce a type of pollen that can be remarkably cumbersome for people who are sensitive or have pre-existing respiratory illnesses. Weed can also cause swelling and irritation to the skin and eyes. On top of these factors, some people are not just allergic to the pollen that marijuana plants produce; certain individuals have been found to have adverse allergic reactions when consuming cannabis seeds or edibles.

What Are the Most Common Signs That You Are Allergic to Marijuana?

If you are allergic to cannabis, you will likely show allergy symptoms after consuming it (in any form). However, it is also possible to show some adverse reactions by simply physically touching fresh plants or cured flowers. The most common marijuana allergy symptoms are skin reactions that include:

1) Itchiness

2) Dryness or scaly skin

3) Redness

4) Hives

5) Rashes

These problems usually occur in the areas of the skin that have had exposure to pollen or raw cannabis plant material. While a bit less common, it is also possible for marijuana to cause some allergy symptoms from the airborne particles these plants release when smoked. These airborne allergic reactions include:

1) A sore or itchy throat

2) Nasal and sinus congestion

3) Watery or itchy eyes

4) Allergic rhinitis (which is characterized by a runny or itchy nose)

5) Hay fever

6) Respiratory problems (such as asthma flare-ups)

Keep in mind that you don’t need to smoke marijuana yourself to be at risk for airborne cannabis allergens. It is very possible to have some allergy issues if you are simply around other people who are smoking cannabis; it just depends on how sensitive your system is.

It should be noted that in certain cases, allergy symptoms caused by marijuana edibles or beverages can be quite dangerous. On top of this, you surprisingly don’t even need to be allergic to cannabis itself to feel an adverse allergy from eating it. This is because several other food allergies seem to cross-react with weed and vice versa. A variety of research studies have indicated that people with allergies to eggplants, grapefruits, chestnuts, almonds, bananas, peaches, tomatoes, and most citrus fruits show cross-reaction symptoms to marijuana. The most common edible marijuana or cross-reaction symptoms include:

1) Hives or rashes

2) Swelling

3) Blurry vision or other ocular symptoms

4) Difficulty breathing

5) Difficulty swallowing or speaking

6) Anaphylactic shock (in severe cases)

What Is the Best Way to Confirm That You Have a Cannabis Allergy?

marijuana recipe

The easiest way to determine that you have an allergy of any type for sure is by visiting your doctor and having them administer an allergy skin test. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite as easy of a process when testing for marijuana allergies. This is due to federal Schedule 1 drug restrictions that keep cannabis from being one of the plants that are tested for in the standard skin test. It is theoretically possible for a medical professional to prepare an infusion using cannabis flower and plant material for a standard prick test in the states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal. However, it is most likely that your doctor or allergist will make your cannabis allergy diagnosis based on the symptoms that you report and your overall weed exposure and consumption.

What Are the Best Treatments Available for Marijuana Allergies?

For most people, the best treatment option is to completely abstain from using cannabis. This is especially true if their allergic reactions are exceptionally severe or deadly. While it may be difficult to completely avoid marijuana particulate matter in the air if you have someone in your vicinity that continues to smoke weed, it is important to stay as vigilant as possible to keep your allergies under control. If your marijuana allergies are potentially dangerous, make sure that you notify your doctors and have them prescribe you an EpiPen. An EpiPen is an automatic injection device full of epinephrine (which is also colloquially known as adrenaline) that is specifically designed to counteract deadly anaphylactic reactions caused by allergies. These wonderful devices have saved countless lives from lethal allergy symptoms since their introduction to the public market in the 1980s.

However, for those of us that have less severe weed allergy symptoms, medical cannabis use may still be possible. Just make sure to keep your medical professionals fully notified. They may be able to offer a treatment plan that helps keep your allergic reactions at bay. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctors if you can use a decongestant and/or antihistamine medications to counteract any red-eye, runny nose, or breathing issues. 

It should also be noted that some people who have airborne cannabis allergies experience reduced symptoms if they ingest it in a manner that doesn’t involve smoke. If you happen to be one of those people, perhaps you should try vaporizing your weed, using marijuana-infused tinctures, applying cannabinoid topical lotions, or enjoying your favorite plant in edibles or beverages to see if you experience diminished adverse effects. Just make sure to check with your doctors before you try any amount of these other cannabis-based products so that you can anticipate any negative reactions and stay safe.

By now, you should be feeling quite a bit more confident to combat any marijuana allergies symptoms that you or any loved ones may go through in the future. Are you still looking for more clarification on cannabis allergy issues? Or do you still want to know more about medical marijuana in the state of Florida and are simply not sure where to start your search? If the answer to either of these questions is a “Yes!”, please contact us at Biofit! Biofit is one of the top medical marijuana educational centers in Florida and we are conveniently located in the center of the Miami metropolitan area. We also provide a variety of different marijuana-based treatments. Please feel free to give us a call at (305) 876-6613 or visit our offices today.