Are You at Risk for Marijuana Allergy?
Sometimes, people exposed to marijuana plant may experience allergy-like symptoms. Can you develop an allergic reaction to weed? In fact, marijuana allergy is possible, as in those who are using medicinal marijuana for the first time, as for those who have been consuming it before without any problems.
Like many other plants, including flowers, trees and ragweed, marijuana plant produces pollen that may trigger allergies in some people. Pollen particles coming from a marijuana flower can cause a reaction that affects the respiratory system, as well as the skin.
You can also develop allergy symptoms after eating a marijuana edible or marijuana seeds.
What Are the Common Symptoms of a Marijuana Allergy?
If the skin of an allergic person comes into contact with marijuana plant or flowers, he or she may experience irritation leading to red, itchy, dry, and scaly skin, as well as rash or hives.
There also have been some reported cases of allergic reactions resulting from inhalation of weed pollen. Airborne hemp dust, typically found in places of industrial processing of marijuana, is another possible source of the allergen.
Thus, when marijuana acts as an airborne allergen, the symptoms it may cause include: allergic rhinitis or hay fever, nasal congestion, itchy or watery eyes, and a sore throat. Some people also experience respiratory problems like asthma.
Marijuana as a Food Allergy
In places where recreational or medicinal use of marijuana is legal, weed-containing edibles are getting popular.
Food allergies are rarely caused by marijuana products. However, a reaction to a marijuana edible may be similar to other food allergies. In some cases, the reaction is severe and even life-threatening (e.g. anaphylaxis). The symptoms may include skin rash or hives, ocular problems, swelling, shortness of breath, and trouble speaking.
In addition, your immune system may also cross-react to marijuana, if you have an allergy to other foods, and vice versa. According to various research studies, food potentially cross-reacting with weed include: bananas, peaches, citrus, grapefruits, tomatoes, eggplants, almonds, and chestnuts.
How to Diagnose a Marijuana Allergy?
If you notice having symptoms that resemble an allergic reaction, you should visit an allergy specialist. Normally, allergies are diagnosed using skin, oral challenge, or blood testing. The easiest way to indicate a marijuana allergy is to perform a skin test. However, because of certain legal limitations concerning marijuana use, your doctor may need to think of other options. They may recommend that you go to a specialized laboratory and conduct a blood test. Otherwise, diagnoses can be made based on your own report of your symptoms.
Can You Treat an Allergy to Marijuana?
As any other type of allergy, marijuana allergy is an incurable disorder. The best way to prevent symptoms is to limit your exposure to weed in any forms.
People who had been using marijuana as part of treatment before becoming allergic to it, should discuss alternative options with their doctor.
In case exposure to marijuana is inevitable, you can ease some unpleasant symptoms with over-the-counter or prescription medications, such as antihistamines or decongestants.
If you have a severe hypersensitivity to marijuana, you may be recommended to carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you, in case of an emergency. Reactions leading to anaphylaxis should be treated with an immediate epinephrine shot and a follow-up medical care.