A Growing Need for Information About Cannabis Allergies
Nobody likes allergies, right? In fact, everyone I know absolutely despises them. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergieseach year. Cumulatively, that’s a huge number of people who will experience some sort of allergic reaction at a point in their life, whether it be to a particular variety of food, pollen, mold, or perhaps a more specific irritant such as cats.
What if, however, you found yourself with an allergic reaction to your job, or to something you greatly enjoyed, or, even worse, to something that you need? Stories of cannabis allergies have been emerging at a growing rate since legalization and reveal that they can frequently strike down budtenders, recreational consumers, and medical patients with a variety of symptoms.
For example, here is one of the typical communications we receive on the topic:
“I have tried one medical marijuana, and I used it for about 12 days. I found I was allergic to it. Then just to verify it was the hemp, I smoked a little, and got the same reaction. Bad allergies, total constant nasal drip, watery eyes, stuffy head. My eyes would even burn at times. Is there something equivalent for pain, that will not give me such bad effects? Or is there somewhere I can investigate further? I think it really does some of my arthritic pain. Thank You.” – Anonymous
Given the increasing frequency of these stories about people being allergic to cannabis, and the apparent need for more information, we felt it necessary to investigate the matter further.
An Unusual Background: Cannabis Allergy Research
After scooting beneath the radar of the scientific community for the longest time, marijuana allergies appear to be on the rise. Just as cannabis consumption has been trickling towards the mainstream in the U.S., cannabis allergies have been attracting increased attention from researchers. The correlation between the rise in allergies and the increase in legalization initiatives is surely significant.
From the outset, we should outline a number of quixotic attributes specific to cannabis and its production that make it particularly interesting as a source of allergies. First off, similar to plants such as ragweed, cannabis pollen grains are very buoyant, allowing for distribution across many miles, which can increase their effectiveness as an irritant. Though typically only produced by male plants, pollen can also be produced by females that express hermaphroditic male flowers. That there are a variety of preparations of cannabis sativa adds another level of complexity.
As you might be well aware, there are a multitude of ways in which cannabis products can be consumed. They can be smoked, vaporized, chewed, taken as a tincture, or used as a topical lotion. In addition to these factors, the isolation of female flowering plants, which aims to prevent pollination, increases the plant’s psychoactive properties by raising its THC content. As a result, the potency of cannabis has increased drastically over the years. Tragically, this could also play a role in allergic disease because THC has been suggested as a potential cannabis allergen.