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.
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?
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?
CBD Oil for Allergies
Kirsten Thornhill | Jan 16, 2020
Allergy season will soon be upon us again. Here comes the not-so-fun part of Spring being right around the corner.
If you’re familiar with seasonal allergies, then you definitely know what I’m talking about. The weather is warming up, “spring is in the air”, the birds are chirping. but you can’t quite enjoy it because you’re constantly sneezing and itching your eyes!
10-30% of the global population is affected by seasonal allergies. This means that tens of millions across the globe experience allergies in one sort or another. Physicians, pulmonologists, clinicians, and specialists are just some of the few that are concerned with the increasing percentages of individuals who experience allergies today.
Standard decongestants, nasal sprays, and over-the-counter medications not working for you? Well, don’t lose hope just yet! There’s a natural, holistic alternative that may help those seasonal allergies, and who, nonetheless, then the lovely cannabis plant. Studies are showing that cannabis can help lessen the effects.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss some of the conventional and natural approaches to alleviating allergies as well as what the research is saying about the effects of cannabis on allergic reactions.
HEMP, THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM, AND CBD FOR ALLERGIES
The endocannabinoid system (ECS ) is involved in numerous pathologies within the body. Receptors in the ECS, also known as endocannabinoid receptors, are located in the pain and inflammatory processing areas of the brain. Phytocannabinoids, for instance, modulate inflammatory responses within the body by regulating the production of cytokines (aka phytocannabinoids may help reduce inflammation).
Several recent studies point to the importance of modulating the ECS and the use of CBD oil as a potential therapy for allergies. So why haven’t we heard about this yet? Can CBD really reduce allergies? First, let’s talk about conventional allergy medications and their adverse effects.
HOW ALLERGIES WORK 101
By definition, an allergy is a misguided reaction to a foreign substance by the immune system . Allergies are the body’s way of protecting itself from invaders. However, allergic reactions can often be caused by harmless substances. Whether it’s a tiny piece of dust or pollen or something larger, like mold or grass, the body reacts – producing specialized antibodies to attack the “invader”. When antibodies are attacking the “invader”, this is when you may develop sneezing, watery eyes, inflammation, wheezing, or itchiness.
So when do you become allergic? According to John Hopkins Medicine , a person becomes allergic to something once their body has developed antigens against that substance. These allergic reactions begin in your immune system. The immune system consists of complex networks of cells and organs that work to protect the body from infection. You can think of your immune system as your own personal team of bodyguards, keeping you safe and away from harm.
This isn’t a small issue or one that should be overlooked. It is estimated that 40% of the world’s population has allergic responses to foreign substances in their everyday environment.
The allergies kick in not of nowhere and you’re not prepared. So you head to your local market for some allergy medication to help ease the sneezing and wheezing (hopefully). There are numerous over-the-counter (OTC) medications and prescriptions available to treat allergy symptoms. These allergy drugs include antihistamines, decongestants, and others to just name a few.
When you’re exposed to an “invader” or allergen, for instance, it triggers your immune system into a defense survival mode. The immune system consists of mast cells that release histamine. Histamine attaches to receptors in the blood vessels, resulting in larger blood vessels. These histamines can attach to other receptors causing itching, redness, and swelling.
However, by blocking these histamines from attaching onto nearby receptors, antihistamines can help prevent these symptoms from occurring or worsening. Commonly used OTC antihistamines are as follows:
ANTIHISTAMINE SIDE EFFECTS
These OTC antihistamines may help alleviate some of your symptoms over time, but there are some serious side effects associated.
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
Decongestants may help relieve congestion caused by allergies. There are often prescribed as antihistamines. You can find decongestants in multiple forms: eye drops, nasal sprays, liquids, or pill forms. Common OTC decongestants are:
- Visine eye drops
DECONGESTANT SIDE EFFECTS
Nasal decongestants may lead to a slew of potential adverse effects.
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
DOES CBD OIL HELP REDUCE ALLERGIES
Some researchers may say “yes”. Cannabis may be helpful when it comes to reducing allergy symptoms. So what does the scientific research tell us about CBD and allergies? Unfortunately, there aren’t enough studies to say confidently that CBD can help with your allergies (yet). However, there are studies that support the idea and notion that cannabinoids can help play a role in reducing your allergies. Here are the cold, hard research facts:
CBD OIL AND HISTAMINES
One of the many ways that cannabis can help your allergies is through a reduction of the histamine released into your blood vessels. Histamine, as we discussed above, is released and triggered by your antibodies. So if we prevent or reduce the histamine from being released, this can make a huge difference! CBD oil can help in reducing the antibodies that trigger the histamine response.
A 2005 anti-inflammatory and cannabis study suggested that cannabis can help prevent an increased histamine response. Researchers found that exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, could reduce mast cell activation. By reducing mast cell activation, there is less release of histamine to trigger allergic reactions.
This 2005 study concluded that THC may lead to reduced mast cell activation, leading to a reduction in the release of histamine, leading to possible prevention or reduction in the severity of your allergies.
For instance, a study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggested that cannabinoids impaired the activation of T-cells, a type of white blood cells. Since T-cells increase antibody activation and response, this leads to an increase in histamine, thus, leading to allergic reactions.
But, by impairing this activation, cannabinoids were able to reduce the antibody response and helped reduce allergy symptoms.
The terpenes present in cannabis have been shown to help too! A 2014 allergy study concluded that alpha-pinene, a terpene found in cannabis, can help reduce antibody levels. The animal study consisted of mice who were treated with terpenes and mice who were treated with a vehicle. Mice who were terpene-treated showed a decrease in clinical allergy symptoms as well as significantly lower levels of nasal antibodies that trigger histamine.
Mice treated with cannabinoids with terpenes showed decreased allergy symptoms.
CANNABIDIOL AND ALLERGIES: FINAL THOUGHTS
While conventional allergy medications are commonly recommended or prescribed, all-natural, holistic alternatives aren’t quite there yet. Over the last 20 years, cannabinoid research and its effects on allergic reactions are making headway. CBD has been suggested to impair antibody responses and decrease allergy symptoms.
Until more research emerges and brings forth further findings of CBD oil and its allergy-reducing benefits, allergy sufferers will have to hold promise to the current research findings.
Curious about what Nanocraft Sciences has to offer? Keep reading!
HOW TO USE
Cannabinoid Options of Application:
Transdermal (Skin)- Topical Salve : This application is typically used for acute and direct application. Such as an ankle sprain, arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, and migraines. Full-spectrum salves provide a whole panel of cannabinoids for increased potency.
Edible CBD Applications:
CBD Oil Tinctures:
Tincture oils are utilized in full-spectrum form (whole plant derived) and Isolated forms (Pure CBD) that are applied directly under the tongue or mixed in water. This form is typically used for direct application to the central nervous system and the entire body for ailments like anxiety, stress, epilepsy, insomnia, sleep disorders, depression, PTSD, autoimmune responses, ADHD, cancer, systemic inflammatory disease such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. All applications are available as CBD isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum.
CBD Soft Gel Capsules:
Full-spectrum soft gels essentially have the same application as tincture oils. The difference is that each soft gel is measured to a specific milligram to provide a consumer with a perfectly measured dose of CBD. This would be used for any ailments one might use CBD for, including all the ones listed above.
Check out our other posts for more information!
* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. It does not exploit or provide medical advice of any kind. Therefore, any reliance you place on the information below is strictly at your own risk. Please check with your medical provider before starting or changing a CBD routine.
- Lu H, Kaplan BLF, et al. Suppression of T cell costimulator ICOS by 9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2009.
- Nam S, Chung C, et al. The therapeutic efficacy of α-pinene in an experimental mouse model of allergic rhinitis. International Immunopharmacology. 2014.
- Petrosino S, Verde R, Vaia M, et al. Anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic cannabinoid, in experimental allergic contact dermatitis. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. 2018.
- Small-Howard AL, Shimoda LMN, et al. Anti-inflammatory potential of CB1-mediated cAMP elevation in mast cells. Journal of Biochemistry. 2005.
Allergy season will soon be upon us again. Here comes the not-so-fun part of Spring being right around the corner…. If you’re familiar with seasonal allergies, then you definitely know what I’m talking about. The weather is warming up, “spring is in the air”, the birds are chirping…but you can’t quite enjoy it beca