It’s estimated that allergies affect over 500 million people in the US each year. From food and fungus, to dogs and cats, people are allergic to countless different things. Cannabis included. Being allergic to cannabis is more common than you might think. As marijuana legalization sweeps the nation, more and more people are discovering an allergy to it.
More People Allergic to Cannabis than You Might Think
It’s thought that some 36 million people could be allergic to cannabis. And while it’s not necessarily a red flag warning, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology believes “the evolving legal status of [cannabis], its highly prevalent use throughout the world, and the varied forms in which it is used could translate into its growing role as a clinically relevant allergen that might be encountered.”
Allergies to illicit substances aren’t typically reported. There’s not a lot of research, and no one who’s using something illegal necessarily wants to go to their doctor and tell them about it. With the rise of legality concerning cannabis however, it’s a bit easier to broach the subject.
A review released by the French Journal of Allergology reported that allergies to cannabis seem to be growing. Increased reports of being allergic to cannabis may be surfacing as it becomes more widely accepted. If it’s not illegal, it’s much easier to discuss any offset symptoms a person might be experiencing.
Allergies are the body’s response to an immune overreaction. The body attempts to protect the respiratory system from what it sees as outside invaders. Pollen is the most common allergy there is. And pollen is undoubtedly a big part of cannabis.
What are the Symptoms of Being Allergic to Cannabis?
Researchers have found that cannabis can cause several different allergy symptoms. Hay fever, rashes, and pink eye are common in those allergic to cannabis. And they can show up whether a person smokes some flower or concentrate, and even when they eat an edible. And if you’re allergic to cannabis, don’t even think about using a topical.
For those allergic to the pollen contained in cannabis, using it can provoke some pretty uncomfortable symptoms. The most common symptoms of a cannabis allergy include:
- Runny nose
- Pink eye
- Skin irritation through consumption or handling the plant (can include hives, rashes, itching, and swelling)
If you think you might have an allergy to cannabis, you can easily get it diagnosed with a skin prick test. This will determine if you’re sensitive to a specific allergen, which in this case would (unfortunately) be cannabis.