Cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, is a drug derived from the plant of the same name. Similar to other vegetation, allergic reactions to marijuana are not uncommon. Marijuana allergies are fundamentally no different than other chemical allergies with similarities in most aspects.
In recent years, marijuana allergies seem to have become more frequent, and based on different risk factors and a person’s genetics, certain individuals are more likely to experience an allergic reaction to marijuana than others. Like any other allergy, the causes of an allergic response to marijuana can vary.
The causes of an allergic reaction to marijuana can differ based of certain factors, such as the type of marijuana, the type of exposure, and the person exposed. Research from 2013 study has shown that Cannabis sativa may bring about more allergies than other strains of cannabis In addition, different methods of exposure can induce an allergic reaction in varying individuals.
For example, simple exposure to the pollen from cannabis plants can induce an allergic response in certain people, whereas others might experience an allergic reaction from direct smoking of the plant, touching of the plant, or oral ingestion of the plant.
Furthermore, different factors can put certain users at a higher risk of reacting negatively to cannabis. These include people who suffer from asthma, people who suffer from plant allergies, and people with allergies to foods or substances with similar protein properties to that of cannabis. Similar to how the causes of a marijuana allergy can vary, so too can the symptoms.
The symptoms of an allergy to marijuana can differ from person to person. Allergic reactions to marijuana can include mild symptoms such as red eyes, runny nose, and itchiness to more serious symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, inflamed skin, and even anaphylactic shock. In very serious cases, certain allergic reactions to marijuana, if left untreated, can result in death. A topic of interest regarding marijuana usage is the theory that smoking marijuana will result in asthma.
For people who suffer from asthma, marijuana smoke, like any other smoke, can irritate the lungs and trigger a flare-up. However, there isn’t enough research to prove this claim. Marijuana allergies, like any other allergies, can be diagnosed and prevented.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In order to diagnose a marijuana allergy, doctors can perform a skin test or blood test. A skin test is conducted by the doctor pricking your arm or back with a small amount of the allergen and then watching for symptoms. Blood tests are conducted by looking for antibodies that are specific to a certain type of allergen. The more antibodies there are, the more likely you are to be allergic to a specific substance. In regards to treatment, there is no current solution for a marijuana allergy. The only treatment is avoidance.
Marijuana allergies present a common format just like other allergies, with a variety of causes, a range of symptoms, and risk factors that increase the likelihood of a response to the substance. With preparation and a few diagnostic tests, marijuana allergies can be discovered and prevented before they start.