With marijuana legalization movement gaining momentum, more people become exposed to the plant and the problem of cannabis-related allergy attracts more attention. A few studies conducted in the past two decades show that weed can cause an allergic reaction. Moreover, some of these studies also show that the amount of the cases of developing an allergic reaction to marijuana increased in recent years.
All the recent studies were mostly focused on Cannabis sativa. The most common symptoms of marijuana allergy vary from asthma to swelling around the eyes to hives. In rare cases, anaphylaxis was also reported.
There are two major factors that can cause you further problems if you are unlucky to be allergic to marijuana: weed pollen and smoke. A study conducted in 2000 shows that inhalation of cannabis pollen can produce respiratory allergic symptoms. The researchers concluded that marijuana could be “a clinically important aeroallergen.” Some studies also show that there were cases of allergic reaction to hemp seeds or mold.
A study conducted in 2013 shows some facts that are even more disturbing: exposure to cannabis pollen can lead to developing an allergic reaction to some kinds of fruits and vegetables.
Another study, published last year in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, compares data gathered from several studies, including two studies published in 1940 and in 2000. Both studies focused on the patients with allergies who lived in Omaha, Nebraska.
In the first study, there was 22 percent of people allergic to hemp pollen among all the participants. 60 years later, the amount of allergic patients who were allergic to hemp pollen increased to 61 percent.
Although it seems to be impossible to prevent marijuana allergy from developing, there is something you can do to decrease your chances to become allergic to weed. First of all, you need to avoid any skin contact with marijuana. As Dr. Leo Galland, an author of The Allergy Solution and a founder of Functional Medicine said in an interview to MIC, you are more likely to develop an allergic reaction to certain substances if you are exposed to them through your skin. So, if you want to protect yourself, you can try to swap your marijuana joint for cannabis-infused edibles. According to Dr. Galland, in contrast to our skin, our gut “has mechanisms for avoiding allergy”.