Medical marijuana offers many benefits for patients depending on the strain of the plant being used and the ailment in question. In recent years, scientific studies have revealed that there is conclusive evidence that marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain. More specifically, marijuana’s chemical compound cannabidiol (which our body has natural receptors for) can effectively treat muscle spasms and neuropathic pain experienced from multiple sclerosis and nauseous side-effects of chemotherapy.
Despite growing awareness of what cannabis can do for various patients there’s also an attendant concern about allergic side effects of the drug. As a pollinating plant, researchers have found that cannabis can cause an array of allergies to occur in some patients who are sensitive to it.
Want to know all there is to know to date about cannabis allergies and symptoms? Then continue reading for our complete guide.
Possible Allergies to Medical Marijuana
A specific type of marijuana plant, cannabis sativa, can cause several allergic reactions in patients. The reactions are as follows: rhinitis (hay fever), conjunctivitis (pink eye), pruritus (itching), contact urticaria and/or angioedema (skin rashes, hives or swelling), and asthma. Some allergy experts claim that the rise of these allergic reactions is due to a non-specific lipid transfer protein present in sativa called Can s 3. Other medical practitioners believe reactions are due to a high-concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Since the marijuana industry still faces a lot of stigma, allergic reactions to the plant in its different forms has unfortunately been underreported. But willfully neglecting the study of such allergies is dangerous, as some doctors like Toronto’s Dr. Gordon Sussman have determined that in some cases patients can be hypersensitive to marijuana. Some patients have hypersensitive or even anaphylactic responses to cannabis.
Allergists like Dr. Sussman are currently working towards a better understanding of what causes hypersensitivity and allergies to develop in patients who have been using marijuana long term for their medical therapy.
This issue is even more import when you consider how legalization is in the works for next year. As such, marijuana should be destigmatized and patients who might have allergies to marijuana should be able to easily discuss this and other related matters with their doctor.
Symptoms of Allergic Reactions
Patients and those considering therapeutic treatment should have a good working knowledge of cannabis allergy symptoms. According to current allergist research, sensitization can occur through consumption whether by inhalation, cutaneous (skin) contact, ingestion, or intravenous needle.
Like pollen-related allergies, patients can experience nasal congestion, a stuffy or runny nose or post-nasal drip, sneezing, itchy throat, coughing and problems with breathing. These symptoms are mostly found in those who consume marijuana through inhalation.
For those who consume marijuana by ingestion, or who generally handle the drug with their bare hands, symptoms of itching, hives and swelling have been reported. When a person is hypersensitive to marijuana or experiences anaphylaxis, these symptoms are more pronounced and difficulty in breathing and talking occurs alongside other symptoms. For workers at dispensaries, developing a sensitivity or hypersensitivity could result in seasonal asthmatic reactions.
There has been speculation that developing hypersensitivity contributes to eosinophilic pneumonia, too.
Molds Causing Allergic Reactions to Marijuana
One last significant note to make about marijuana allergies and symptoms is that if you have suddenly developed sensitivity or hypersensitivity to the drug, you should inquire as to the quality of plant. Some producers of marijuana don’t properly store marijuana and as a result, the plant grows molds. In other words, you might be suffering from adverse side-effects of consuming marijuana that has become moldy. This instance of allergies is especially impactful if you have a poor immune system.
As medical marijuana becomes more accessible and widespread across Canada, medical practitioners, dispensaries, and patients alike must be vigilant about quality of product. Being aware of marijuana allergies, their causes, and their symptoms can save lives and keep patients safe when successfully treating their conditions.