It may seem like a fantasy – or misinformation. But in fact, it is possible to be allergic to cannabis. Largely unknown even a few years ago, cannabis allergies began to be recognizable. These allergies can take many forms.
According to a recent study in Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, exposure to proteins in the plant can cause an abnormal immune response.
A 2012 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology also has interesting findings. 17 people were tested for skin exposure to cannabis extracts. They all developed negative skin reactions (rashes and itching). 15 people also had runny noses and sneezing.
This is of course very ironic. Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory for most people. But some are simply allergic to weed.
Causes & Symptoms ?
Itchy skin and red eyes are the most common reactions. More severe symptoms include anaphylactic shock. It can be fatal. But the most common allergies to cannabis are similar to pollen allergies. In fact, people allergic to cannabis are usually sensitive to plants such as amaranth and ragweed. There also seems to be a link between cannabis allergies and food allergies.
Additional potential contributor
Several studies have identified another potential perpetrator. It is a very specific type of protein known as lipid transfer protein or PTL. This PTL is also frequently associated with allergies. A study published in 2007 discovered a PTL called Can S3. In at least one skin test study, patients showed specific sensitivity to this protein.
In fact, cannabis allergies are similar to contact dermatitis. This disorder is most common in individuals who have direct and regular contact with the plant. These people frequently report itching and red skin. The eyes may also become red and irritated.
Cannabis allergies can also cause respiratory distress. Symptoms include inflammation of the airways, sneezing and in some cases nausea and vomiting.
What else ?
Other theories explain why some people are “allergic to cannabis”. These include sensitivities to the chemicals used during the cultivation process. This is, of course, a real problem. But it’s an easy problem to solve. Only use organic weed.
The other popular theory at the moment is that people are also allergic to the mold that can grow on poorly refined cannabis.
How to manage the symptoms
The easiest way to treat a cannabis allergy is to get away from it. If you think you’re allergic, see an allergist make it happen. Most allergies are treatable by desensitizing the patient to the allergen. Unfortunately, at least for now, there is no treatment for cannabis allergy.
Who is sensitive to allergic reactions
People who are highly exposed to cannabis are those who are most exposed to allergens. These are growers, caterers, and testers. If your job is at stake, prepare yourself well. Wear a mask, gloves, and goggles and prepare antihistamines and inhalers just in case.
If you are severely allergic and work closely with the plant, it is important to consider alternatives. Maybe your career in the Green Rush should branch off.