smoking weed nasal congestion

8 Signs You’re Allergic To Weed

With the growing movement to legalize marijuana in the United States, of course more people are likely going to use it. But pot isn’t all fun and games, so you might want to know about the signs you’re allergic to weed. That’s right — on top of just not liking marijuana or having had a bad experience with it, some people are straight-up allergic to it. After all, marijuana is a pretty potent (if generally safe) substance, otherwise people wouldn’t be so keen to get their hands on it for various reasons. Every drug has its risks, and weed is no exception.

Even if you don’t use marijuana yourself, the chances that you might run into others who do are high — over 100 million Americans have used pot according to the organization NORML, which works to reform marijuana laws, including 25 million just in the past year. It’s also worth noting that for some allergens, people aren’t born with the allergic reaction; instead, allergies may develope over time after repeated contact with the allergen. These encounters may gradually sensitize some people to a potential allergen, although we don’t fully understand why yet.

That means even if you’ve had no trouble with marijuana allergies in the past, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that you might have trouble with them in the future. And it’s no laughing matter, because avoiding marijuana particles is actually quite difficult — one sufferer, for example, told U.S. News and World Report in 2015 that she tends to avoid dance clubs, stores, and even entire states where marijuana is legalized in order to protect her health.

Stay on the lookout for these symptoms of weed allergy, so you can be extra careful to avoid exposure if indeed you have the misfortune of being allergic to marijuana.

1. Breathing Trouble

Dyspnea, or labored breathing, is a common symptom of a weed allergy. This could happen to you even if you didn’t smoke or otherwise inhale any of the marijuana, though some people turning up with this symptom have worked around hemp used in textiles too.

2. Congestion And Sneezing

Oh, rhinitis — this is when the lining of your nose becomes inflamed, such as due to exposure to an allergen like weed. Predictable consequences include congestion, sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose, and post-nasal drip (which possibly leads to a sore throat).

3. Headache

All that congestion can easily give you a headache. So basically weed may help you to deal with pain, unless it causes it. Oops.

4. Fatigue And Irritability

Marijuana characteristically leads to chillness. unless you’re allergic to it, that is. It’s easy to see that all these symptoms can accumulate into poor sleep, fatigue, and irritability.

5. Itchiness

It’s not normal to feel intensely itchy after exposure to marijuana (or ever, really). This is a big red flag.

6. Rashes

Some weed allergy sufferers report developing rashes or hives along with their itchiness. Definitely enough to dampen your high.

7. Conjunctivitis

Yep, that’s good old pink eye. Weed can do it to you if you’re allergic!

8. Food Allergies

Last but not least and worst of all, some researchers claim that consuming marijuana may make users more susceptible to fruit and vegetable allergies. If you unfortunately start seeming generally allergic and have a hard time pinning it down, this horrible but aptly named “cannabis-fruits/vegetables syndrome” is worth considering.

With the growing movement to legalize marijuana in the United States, of course more people are likely going to use it. But pot isn’t all fun and games, so you might want to know about the signs you’re allergic to weed. That’s right — on top of just…

Marijuana allergies a growing problem, study says

March 5, 2015 / 5:34 AM / CBS News

With marijuana use becoming increasingly common — and legal for either medical or recreational use in a growing number of states — doctors are warning about a little-known health risk: It’s possible to be allergic to pot.

The authors of a new study say it’s a problem we could start seeing more often. Their research, published this week in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, rounded up the medical evidence documenting cases of allergic reactions to the marijuana plant, also known by its Latin name Cannabis sativa. “Although still relatively uncommon,” they write, “allergic disease associated with C sativa exposure and use has been reported with increased frequency.”

Like most plant allergens, they note, cannabis pollen can cause symptoms like allergic rhinitis — inflammation of the nasal passages accompanied by sneezing, congestion, itching and a runny nose — along with eye inflammation and asthma.

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The authors, allergy and immunology specialists Dr. Thad Ocampo and Dr. Tonya Rans, say that in people with allergies, just touching the plant can cause skin reactions such as hives, itching and puffiness or swelling around the eyes.

Exposure to marijuana smoke can also set off symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, bloodshot eyes and an itchy throat.

Another potential allergy risk comes from ingesting edible cannabis products. One patient cited in the study suffered a serious reaction after eating hemp seed-encrusted seafood and required antihistamines and a shot of epinephrine, an emergency treatment for potentially life-threatening allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. Later tests proved the patient was not allergic to seafood — hemp seeds from the cannabis plant were the culprit.

Even in people who don’t use marijuana themselves, more widespread and open cultivation of the plant could lead to allergy problems. Cannabis pollen, which normally sheds in late summer and early autumn, is “very buoyant, allowing for distribution across many miles,” the study says.

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The study urged doctors to be aware of marijuana as a possible source of allergy symptoms when making a diagnosis. The authors note that as pot becomes legal in more places, “marijuana might become an increasingly relevant ‘weed’ for the allergist.”

What advice do they have for patients who might be sensitive to marijuana? In a nutshell, just say no. “As with other allergens, avoidance is recommended,” they write.

A person who does develop allergy symptoms from marijuana might be helped by treatment with antihistamines, intranasal steroids or nasal decongestants, they said. Those with a history of anaphylaxis, a severe whole-body allergic reaction that can include difficulty breathing or swallowing, were urged to keep a prescription epinephrine injector, like an EpiPen, on hand.

First published on March 5, 2015 / 5:34 AM

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Pot doesn't just make you high — it can make you sneeze, wheeze and break out in hives, allergy specialists warn