Attention everyone: ALLERGY SEASON IS UPON US! Cue the incessant sniffling and sneezing, the itchy, watery eyes, and the overall misery. Allergies manifests as a defensive reaction of an overactive immune system. People can be allergic to food, pollen, animals, dust, and more. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties — but should you take it for allergies? Can CBD Relieve Your Seasonal Allergies? Allergy symptoms occur when your immune system responds to foreign material, aka an allergen. That may be something you ingest, inhale, inject into your
Does CBD Oil Help with Allergies?
Attention everyone: ALLERGY SEASON IS UPON US! Cue the incessant sniffling and sneezing, the itchy, watery eyes, and the overall misery. If you’re like most of us and get annoying and downright debilitating seasonal allergies, you’re probably desperate for a remedy that works. Most allergy medications have unpleasant side effects like drowsiness that can affect your day. Lately, more people are turning to all-natural remedies to manage their allergies. One option that many are consider is CBD.
Can CBD help with allergies? Is it a viable treatment option or just a fad? As someone that suffers from a myriad of allergies, from seasonal pollen to basically every plant on Earth, this piece is a little personal. So we’re going to dive into the science behind taking CBD for any degree of relief against allergy symptoms. Hopefully, we’re able to find some reprieve from the itching and sneezing. Keep reading to learn more!
WHAT ARE SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says that more than 50 million Americans deal with various allergies each year. Most of them have seasonal allergies to pollen. Pollen allergies are among the most common types of allergies people deal with. And while most people experience the most intense of these allergies in the Spring, pollen allergies can be experienced year-round.
Most pollen that triggers an allergic reaction can come from grass, trees, and weeds. Those plants emit small, dry pollen that travels in the wind and ends up in your eyes, nose, and lungs. If you have a pollen allergy, it is likely as easy as walking outside and immediately feeling uncomfortable.
Each person can respond differently to various plants – with someone reacting more violently to it than others. For example, some people are heavily allergic to grass, so when grass pollen is released, they’re likely to experience the most intense of symptoms.
The timing of allergies varies depending on where you live. In the northern part of the United States, grass pollen typically appears in the Spring and early Summer. However, in the South, grasses tend to release it’s pollen year-round (READ: you’re going to suffer all day, everyday).
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT I’M ALLERGIC TO?
The only way to know for sure what you are most allergic to is to get testing done by an Allergy Doctor with either a skin prick test or a blood test. This is only necessary to pinpoint precisely what allergy triggers you have.
On a personal note, I took the skin prick test when I was 12 years old. The procedure went as well as you’d expect it to. My back was pricked by a small needle 75 times. In each wound, I was administered a highly concentrated liquid of 72 known trees, grasses, weeds, mold, and some types of food. With 3 controls, and 72 concentrated allergies administered, my body reacted violently to it and I fainted for a couple minutes. Beyond that scary experience, the doctors ruled out that I am allergic to 67 of the 72 types of allergies. So, to reiterate, potentially using CBD to find any degree of relief is important to me. Anyways, let’s get back to the article.
Unfortunately, there’s much you can do to prevent your allergies when it comes to pollen allergies simply because of how much of it floats through the air. Grass, weeds, and trees are everywhere, so avoiding them entirely will do you no good. Your best course of action is to find a treatment plan that helps you to manage and mitigate the severity and frequency of its symptoms.
WHAT ARE THE TRADITIONAL ALLERGY TREATMENTS AVAILABLE?
Regardless of what allergies you have, it’s best to find a treatment option that can help you manage your symptoms and (hopefully) keep you as comfortable as possible.
There are several over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications available. From antihistamines to nasal spray and as intense as sustained allergy shot injections, it is possible to get to a point where your seasonal suffering is all but managed. It is important to note, however that all of these treatment options are not without it’s side effects that may include but are not limited to:
- Blurred vision
Suppose you need to take your allergy pill in the morning to manage your daily symptoms, and your medication causes drowsiness. In that case, you may spend your whole day just trying to stay awake. This can be frustrating if you’re trying to be productive. It may even be dangerous depending on what tasks you need to complete.
This is precisely why many are turning to more natural treatments, like CBD, for seasonal allergies.
CAN CBD HELP WITH ALLERGIES?
So, is taking CBD oil for allergies a viable treatment alternative? Lately, CBD has been popular for elevating one’s wellness that may include potentially finding relief against a myriad of physical, and/or psychological discomforts. While there is a lack of definitive research on CBD’s effects on allergies right now, cannabidiol’s inherent properties give allergy relief incredible promise. In short, CBD’s properties include:
In 2005, a study revealed that CBD may have immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties in the respiratory system. This means that it could potentially act as a natural antihistamine. Drugs with anti-inflammatory properties can help alleviate symptoms like inflammation in the throat, mouth, and nose. Since CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, it may likely relieve those symptoms.
A recent study showed that CBD helps to reduce airway inflammation in experimental allergic asthma. Asthma is often triggered by environmental allergens like pollen. This study revealed that CBD had effective immunomodulatory effects. The CBD treatment given to mice in the study decreased airway hyperresponsiveness. This means that it helped keep the airways from closing up due to their allergic reactions.
It’s essential to keep in mind that although these studies show promising results, CBD is not recommended to replace asthma medications. If you have severe allergies and/or asthma, speak to your doctor about taking CBD in addition to your other medications for improved relief.
HOW TO TAKE CBD OIL FOR ALLERGIES
You have a few different options if you wish to take CBD for seasonal allergy relief. Most people opt to take CBD through a CBD Tincture Oil. This allows you to easily control your dosage and take consume said oil directly by mouth or by adding it to a food or a beverage. The most effective way to use CBD oil is through sublingual application. This means, the CBD oil is applied under the tongue and absorbed through capillaries, thus bypassing the stomach and digestive system for quicker onset of effects that last for up to a few hours. Simply take half- to a full-dropper worth of CBD oil under your tongue and hold it there for at least 30 seconds before swallowing.
Dealing with allergy symptoms through quick relief is essential. Taking CBD oil sublingually can prove to be an excellent, holistic and natural alternative to feeling your best even when the odds are stacked against you. Another great option is to eat CBD through either CBD Gel Capsules or CBD Gummies.
CBD ingestibles are just as easy taking CBD Tincture Oils. What you are sacrificing in terms of onset time, you are compensating with experiencing a longer-lasting and intense set of effects that can only set you up for relief that lasts for the entire day.
CBD For Allergies: Can Hemp Oil Help Relieve Allergy Symptoms?
Allergies manifest as adverse reactions of an overactive immune system that do not occur in healthy people. Symptoms of allergies range from sniffling, sneezing to watery eyes, itchy throat, wheezing, and asthma attacks.
According to statistics, allergies are the sixth main cause of chronic illnesses in the United States, affecting roughly 19.9 million adults, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CBD is a plant-based compound unique to the Cannabis sativa L. family. Cannabis plants contain over 400 phytochemicals on top of CBD, so it goes without saying that at least one of these compounds can trigger allergies.
While the research into allergic reactions to products like CBD oil is scarce, the cannabis plant itself has been associated with allergies.
In today’s article, we’ll cover the topic of potential allergies to CBD oil; what may trigger them; what researchers are saying, and whether full-spectrum CBD oil can cause a person to experience typical allergy symptoms.
What You Need to Know About Allergies (Causes, Symptoms & Statistics)
Over 50% of the U.S. population suffers from allergies to at least one thing. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the most common type of allergy, affecting up to 30% of American adults and 40% of children.
There’s no cure for allergies, they can be effectively managed with the right diet, supplementation, and certain lifestyle changes. Of course, people with allergies should also avoid triggers.
Some allergies are milder than others, but there are people for whom this condition is a severe problem that requires an individual approach.
As mentioned, the symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itching, droopy eyes, a runny nose, and sometimes problems with breathing.
Allergies are triggered by a compromised immune system. The immune system controls allergic reactions; when it functions normally, it can distinguish from harmful and safe compounds to eliminate potential dangers. However, when the communication between its cells is disturbed, the immune system starts to identify normal substances as potential threats — releasing antibodies to attack them.
People with allergies produce antibodies every time they get exposed to the allergen.
The main antibody responsible for allergic reactions is histamine. The antihistamine medications are formulated to prevent antibodies from damaging the immune system. Popular antihistamine drugs include Claritin, which is available without a prescription.
Food allergies are more challenging to treat. The immune system attacks proteins in the food, causing serious symptoms such as anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis can be fatal if left without immediate aid. People with allergies usually carry special pens infused with epinephrine to stop an anaphylactic attack.
A 2009 study published in the journal Immunobiology found that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC could trigger immunosuppressive processes in an overactive immune system (1). According to the authors, these compounds may block the reactions of the immune system against the “hostile” molecules.
Does CBD Oil Help with Allergies?
Although the research into the health benefits of CBD oil for allergies is limited, multiple studies have highlighted its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties. Inflammation is the underlying cause of allergic reactions.
A 2011 research report published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine analyzed the potential benefits of CBD for different inflammatory disorders (2). George W. Booz, the leading researcher and a professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, summarized them in the following way:
“Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress feed off each other. However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further development given its antioxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells.”
The authors concluded there’s no clinical evidence to support the theory that CBD oil relieves allergic reactions, so while some studies suggest anti-inflammatory effects exist (and they’re potent), we need more long-term clinical trials to officially support the use of CBD for allergies.
Should You Vape CBD Oil for Allergies?
CBD vapes, such as vape pens, offer the highest bioavailability of all available products. Up to 56% of the vaporized CBD ends up in your system according to various studies. However, CBD vapes often contain other compounds aside from cannabidiol, including thinners such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.
The problem with propylene glycol is that it breaks down into dangerous aldehydes when heated, which can further irritate the lungs. If your allergic reactions include coughing, wheezing, or asthma attacks, CBD vape oil can do more harm than good. Some studies have found that smoking cannabis improves the lung function and capacity of asthma sufferers, but they analyzed the efficacy of medical marijuana, which contains both THC and CBD in different ratios — not to mention that the researchers used cannabis flowers, not vape oil.
How to Use CBD Oil for Allergies
CBD oil is the product of choice for many first-time users. It contains a hemp extract suspended in a carrier oil to provide higher bioavailability. CBD oils are packed in 30-ml glass bottles with droppers attached to them for precise dosing.
People take CBD oil to prevent allergies as well as to fight their symptoms. That’s because this form of consumption offers a relatively fast onset of effects — around 15-30 minutes after ingestion — with a long duration time, up to 6 hours.
CBD oil is taken under the tongue. The user needs to squeeze out the desired amount of oil using the dropper, place a few drops under the tongue, and hold it there for up to 60 seconds. This route of administration allows the CBD to absorb into the bloodstream through hundreds of tiny blood vessels in the mouth. Since most of the ingested oil avoids the digestive system, it doesn’t lose potency as much as CBD capsules or edibles.
Speaking of which, oral CBD products are a great alternative for those who would like to have a premeasured dose of CBD with each serving, as well as for people living busy lifestyles. CBD capsules and edibles mask the earthy flavor of hemp extracts, which makes them more enjoyable. The effects of CBD also last longer — up to 10 hours — despite a delayed onset. When you take a CBD capsule or gummy, they need to be processed by the digestive system, so it may take up to 2 hours until you can experience the effects.
CBD oil is a better pick if you need to quickly ease your symptoms and gauge your dose more accurately. On the other hand, capsules and edibles are better to kickstart the day and bolster your immune system against the triggers.
Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil?
An allergy to cannabis isn’t just a poor excuse for having red eyes during your adolescent times — it’s a real thing.
So, the answer is: yes, you can be allergic to CBD. Eating, touching, or inhaling cannabis plants can trigger allergic reactions as a result of contact with pollen. Inhaling that pollen may lead to hay fever.
A 2018 study found that people with allergies to plants, dust mites, cat dander, and mold, have a higher risk of developing an allergy to cannabis (3). However, no other study has yet investigated this subject as of this writing. More quality research is needed to establish a firm connection between cannabis and allergic reactions.
Considering the risk of allergies from pollen or mold, you should be particularly careful when choosing CBD products; purchase only from companies who use organically grown hemp and test their CBD oils in third-party laboratories for potency and potential contaminants. The latter may trigger an allergy to CBD oil that may not result from CBD per se.
Possible Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil
As mentioned earlier, an allergy to CBD can manifest in many different ways. Two people may experience completely different symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell the difference between a CBD allergy and the mild side effects of CBD.
Potential adverse reactions to CBD oil include dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhea. These aren’t the symptoms of an allergic reaction to CBD. Fortunately, the majority of these effects are nearly nonexistent in regular doses.
Here are a few possible signs of a CBD allergy:
- Skin irritations: when you use a CBD topical, you may notice hives or a rash as the symptoms of your allergy to CBD. However, these reactions may be caused by one of the many ingredients in creams and other skincare products, so make sure to scan the list of ingredients thoroughly.
- Dry, itchy, or red eyes: this symptom is commonly associated with cannabis users — it results from inhaling THC — but some people might experience droopy, red eyes after taking CBD oil. If you have this kind of reaction, it might be a sign that you’re allergic to CBD.
- Migraines: While a slight headache might occur after taking a higher dose of CBD, migraines are a severe reaction that can indicate an allergy to some of the ingredients in CBD oil.
- Breathing difficulty: If you experience difficulty breathing, seek immediate help. This is most likely the side effect of poor-quality products that contain mold or hazardous additives.
People with plant allergies are advised to try CBD isolate instead of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. The latter is made using the entire plant, meaning they contain cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and plant waxes. Such products carry a higher risk of triggering an allergic reaction.
You can try a few different CBD products — full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate — to find out which form of CBD works without any adverse reactions. We also encourage you to check with a doctor for medical advice on what to do when you start experiencing the symptoms.
Studies on Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil
- A study conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine found that about 20% of the 100 people they tested had allergic reactions to linalool, while 8% were allergic to limonene. These are the two most commonly found terpenes in full-spectrum CBD oils (4).
- Doctors from the University of California, San Diego, published a letter entitled “Marijuana and stoned fruit” in the Annals of Allergies and Asthma, where they reported a 24-year-old male marijuana daily user experienced an anaphylactic reaction after eating yogurt with hemp seeds (5).
- In a 2013 study published in the Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 21 patients with food allergies were tested in terms of reactivity to cannabis lipid transfer proteins (LTP), which are potential allergens (6). Twelve participants showed signs of allergies to cannabis, and all 12 had severe symptoms of food allergy than those without an allergy to the plant.
CBD & Allergies: Bottom Line
Although researchers have yet to fully understand the link between CBD and allergies, some studies have reported that the cannabinoid has remarkable anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation lies at the roots of all allergies, so while CBD won’t cure them, preliminary research and anecdotal reports indicate that CBD oil may be able to help ease the symptoms.
That is, of course, if you aren’t allergic to cannabis. CBD itself may not be an allergen, but in combination with the remaining 400 phytochemicals from cannabis, it can trigger an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, sniffling, or red, droopy eyes. Allergies may also be caused by other ingredients in CBD oil, such as synthetic additives.
If you want to reduce the risk of experiencing an allergy to CBD, it’s best to purchase from a trustworthy company that sells high-quality lab-tested products. Always make sure to check for third-party lab reports — or Certificates of Analysis (COA) — to check if the product is free of contaminants, solvents, or plant residue. Spending some extra time on research will save you money on CBD oil.
As the number of CBD users grows, researchers will be able to collect more information about potential allergic reactions and how CBD oil can mitigate their impact on our health.
Do you take CBD for allergies? Or do you know someone who is allergic to CBD oil?
- Rieder, Sadiye Amcaoglu et al. “Cannabinoid-induced apoptosis in immune cells as a pathway to immunosuppression.” Immunobiology vol. 215,8 (2010): 598-605. doi:10.1016/j.imbio.2009.04.001
- Booz, George W. “Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress.” Free radical biology & medicine vol. 51,5 (2011): 1054-61. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.01.007
- Min, Jin-Young, and Kyoung-Bok Min. “Marijuana use is associated with hypersensitivity to multiple allergens in US adults.” Drug and alcohol dependence vol. 182 (2018): 74-77. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.039
- Nath, Neel Som et al. “Contact Allergy to Hydroperoxides of Linalool and D-Limonene in a US Population.” Dermatitis : contact, atopic, occupational, drug vol. 28,5 (2017): 313-316. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000318
- Bhatia, Prerana et al. “Marijuana and stoned fruit.” Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology vol. 120,5 (2018): 536-537. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2018.01.01
- Ebo, D G et al. “New food allergies in a European non-Mediterranean region: is Cannabis sativa to blame?.” International archives of allergy and immunology vol. 161,3 (2013): 220-8. doi:10.1159/000346721
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
Can CBD Relieve Your Seasonal Allergies?
Allergy symptoms occur when your immune system responds to foreign material, aka an allergen. That may be something you ingest, inhale, inject into your bloodstream, or come into contact with. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergies are the 6th leading reason behind chronic illness in the U.S.
Seasonal allergies , in particular, which are more famously known as hay fever, are one of the most common kinds of allergies around. Hay fever is the immune system’s reaction to air saturated with pollen from wind-pollinated plants like trees, grasses, and weeds. Sneezing, stuffy nose, watery eyes, itchy sinuses, throat or ear canals, ear inflammation, and postnasal discharge are among the most frequent symptoms which vary in severity. Headaches, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing can also occur.
Current Treatment of Seasonal Allergies
Despite allergies being so common amongst the world’s population, there is no absolute cure. Allergies, or ‘allergic rhinitis’, are mainly managed by avoiding triggers and relieving symptoms. For example, steering clear of cigarette smoke and pollen. People do so by using HEPA filters in their air conditioning instead of fans in the spring and summer. Another practice is staying home when pollen counts are high and closing windows.
Other medical options include prescription drugs and over-the-counter decongestants, and antihistamines, such as Zyrtec and Benadryl. Sometimes allergy shots are prescribed in extreme cases. But most allergy drugs have nasty side effects like dizziness and confusion. Another alternative has come up without any noticeable side effects which has been revealed to be CBD oil.
CBD as Allergies Symptoms Reliever
Cannabidiol, or CBD , an active ingredient derived from the hemp plant, is receiving more attention as people become more aware of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. CBD oil has very low amounts of THC, so it won’t get you high. However, while CBD research is still in its initial phases, some studies show promising results on possible health benefits, including chronic pain management, stress relief and combating reactions to allergens.
A study published in 2005 revealed that CBD has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties across cells of the respiratory system. So it may function as a natural antihistamine. CBD and other anti-inflammatories can help to manage some of the more severe reactions and alleviate symptoms such as inflammation around the nose, throat, and mouth. It can be ingested through tinctures/oils, vaping, edibles, or capsules to avoid any irritation.
CBD also helps control the activity and development of white blood cells that respond when the body is exposed to allergens according to a 2009 study . Which is another reason why it may be an effective therapy for seasonal allergies. In addition, CBD has been reported to prevent the blocking of airways and nasal congestion that typically results in coughing and breathing problems.
Another study published in 2014 found that A-Pinene, a terpene , was found to be a promising anti-allergic agent. A-Pinene is characterized by a powerful pine and sage aroma that demonstrated a decrease in some symptoms of allergic rhinitis in mice. This research suggests it may be useful in the clinical management of allergic rhinitis, therefore the ability to moderate the unbearable allergy season. Pinene may also help additional symptoms of allergies since it serves as an anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator.
You can use CBD oil along with or instead of traditional allergy therapies. As always, consulting with a medical professional is recommended; however Realm of Caring has resources such as this CBD dosage explainer to help you get started in this process. There is a lot to consider when starting cannabinoid therapy and a Realm of Caring care specialist is here to help with your questions. Contact us today by calling (719) 347-5400 or by emailing [email protected]
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