By now, most people know that CBD is a compound that comes from industrial hemp. Hemp is of course a type of cannabis, and cannabis allergies are becoming a more commonly reported occurrence. It’s likely that people are only just discovering they’re allergic to cannabis due to recent legalization of the plant in several states.
Since CBD comes from cannabis, it’s easy to wonder whether you might be allergic to CBD, too. CBD oil reactions certainly are not common, but are they possible? And if they are, how would you know if you’re having an allergic reaction to CBD oil?
New users have a lot of questions. We will address all things allergies here in this article, so read on to find out how what precautions you can take when using CBD products.
Basic allergies stats in the U.S.
Over 50% of people in the US have allergies to at least something. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is one of the most common allergies. It affects between 10 and 30% of all American adults, and may affect up to 40% of children.
Allergies are manageable. After all, you can avoid the thing you’re allergic to as much as possible. Furthermore, the most common allergies usually have treatments. Hay fever tablets, for example, are available over the counter. If your allergies are severe, however, treatment might be a little more difficult.
How Allergies Work
Allergies are familiar to many people. They result in sneezing, itching, a runny nose, watery eyes, and sometimes difficulty breathing. But what actually causes these symptoms?
The immune system is responsible for allergic reactions. Usually, this system can differentiate between harmful and non-harmful compounds. But sometimes it gets confused. When you have an allergy, the immune system identifies benign compounds as potential dangers. It creates antibodies to ‘attack’ these invaders. In fact, antibodies form every time the body encounters the allergen.
With plant allergies like hay fever, histamines act as the antibodies. The medications used to tackle them are antihistamines – they work to prevent antibodies from causing their damage. Common antihistamine medications include Claritin, which you can buy over-the-counter vitually anywhere. CBD allergies would fall under the category of a plant allergy.
Food allergies are more complicated. The immune system usually attacks proteins in the food, causing severe symptoms like anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated immediately. Sufferers usually carry an epi-pen (containing epinephrine) around at all times to treat an allergic reaction as it arises.
In 2009, a study in Immunobiology suggested that cannabinoids, including CBD and THC, could be part of a pathway to immunosuppression. This means that they may limit the reactions of the immune system. Does this suggest you could use CBD oil for allergies as a preventative means? Not exactly. Research is thus far very limited, and definitely not certain.
On the other side of the coin, there is a worry that CBD might cause allergies. Is there any truth to this claim?
Can Someone Be Allergic to CBD?
It is possible to be allergic to marijuana. With this being the case, it follows that some people might be allergic to CBD, right? Smoking, eating, or touching cannabis plants can trigger cannabis allergies, as can inhaling cannabis pollen. The latter falls into the category of hay fever.
A 2018 study found that those with allergies to cat dander, mold, dust mites, and plants have an increased risk of developing a cannabis allergy. This is just one study, though; more research is necessary to establish a firm link between these allergies.
You could be allergic to weed if you are allergic to pollen or mold. If this is the case, then contaminants in CBD products should be a concern to you.
As for the cannabinoids themselves, it may be possible to be allergic to CBD. In 1971, a study found that THC could produce an allergic reaction. CBD and THC have similar molecular structures, which means that CBD also has the potential to cause a reaction. It’s essential, however, not to confuse the side effects of CBD with an allergic reaction, because the two are quite different.
Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil
A CBD allergy can manifest in a number of ways. Two people might not necessarily experience the same symptoms. It can also be tricky to separate a CBD allergy from the run of the mill side effects of CBD.
Side effects of CBD include lethargy, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and a dry mouth. These are not things that occur in case of a CBD allergy, and they are nothing to worry about. Usually, side effects do not persist after a few uses.
CBD oil allergies, on the other hand, have different effects.
- Skin irritations: Particularly when using topical CBD, some users may notice a rash or hives. This may well be a result of CBD. However, this could also be caused by one of the many other products in creams and balms, so be sure to look into it to find out what caused the reaction.
- Dry, itchy, or red eyes: Weed is infamous for causing red eyes as a result of dryness. THC is the culprit here, not CBD. A minority of users may experience this after using CBD, though. If you experience excessive watering or bloodshot eyes, it might be an allergic reaction rather than a side effect.
- Migraines: While some CBD users experience a slight headache for the first few uses, migraines are a sign of something more serious.
- Respiratory problems: If you can’t breathe, seek medical attention immediately. With CBD products, breathing issues are likely to be the result of poor-quality products that contain contaminants from the hemp plant, such as pollen or mold.
People with plant allergies are advised to try and avoid CBD products, particularly full-spectrum ones. Full-spectrum products contain so many compounds that it can be hard to tell what caused the allergic reaction. It could have been pollen, plant waxes, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, trace amounts of THC, or really anything.
CBD isolates could be the way to go for those who already have allergies. In case you didn’t know, an isolate is a product that contains nothing but pure CBD. As a result, there is a minimal risk of experiencing an allergic reaction.
You should still be careful, though. It’s a good idea to try a small amount of CBD first to see if you notice any negative effects. You should also check with a doctor to see if they can give you any medical advice about what to do when experiencing an allergic reaction.
Final Thoughts on CBD Allergies
An excellent way to mitigate CBD reactions is to buy from a high-quality brand. A lot of the trouble appears to stem from unwanted plant matter ending up in the final product, and this is only going to happen with unscrupulous manufacturers. Always check the lab reports of your CBD products to verify that there are no contaminants. It might be worth splashing a little extra cash to ensure a good quality product.
Right now, there is limited research on CBD allergies. We expect that the data will grow as the number of CBD users does, as it’s crucial for consumers to stay safe. CBD allergies are rare, but there is a possibility they will occur. People with conditions and pre-existing severe allergies should be especially careful.
We recommend consulting a doctor about your allergies before jumping into the CBD world. Try a low ‘test dose’ before upping the quantity of CBD you take each day, and perhaps opt for an isolate product which contains nothing but CBD.