What You Need to Know About Marijuana Allergy

Who wants to get itchy, red skin. Of course, no one. However, there are different sorts of allergy. It can be with pollen, mold, fur, or a particular kind of food. 

If you’re a marijuana lover, you may be alarmed upon seeing stories of marijuana allergy. Such cases happen to budtenders, medical users, and recreational consumers. Curiosity would make you dig for information. Although you haven’t experienced any signs, you still need to know the exact circumstances.

The Possibility of Having Marijuana Allergy

You get an allergy as your immune system overreacts when defending your respiratory system from intrusion of some outsiders. The body produces antibodies to keep out the intruders but allergic responses arise. 

The most common allergen is pollen which can is from trees, weeds, and grasses. Any type of molds can also cause allergy. Some are fine dwelling in dry places but some thrive in moist locations. Both of these things can be found in marijuana. Thus, the possibility of marijuana allergy.

An article entitled ‘Emerging Allergens: Cannabis’ was published in Belgium. It tells the public about the research that features Cannabis Sativa which is a variety of marijuana. This plant can bring forth allergic symptoms like skin rashes, pink eyes or conjunctivitis, hay fever or allergic rhinitis, and asthmatic symptoms when smoked, chewed, or inhaled.

Exposure to Marijuana Plant

Marijuana sensitization can be influenced by aerobiology as pollen travel through the air. Those who leave near plantations marijuana have a higher risk of getting the allergy. A study regarding this issue was conducted in Omaha Nebraska where the plants grow in the wild and they are commercially cultivated too. 

There are 127 patients in the study on which 61% have asthma symptoms or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. They all tested positive from the prick skin test. Rhino conjunctivitis will let you have a runny nose, post-nasal drip, sneezing, itchiness on eyes or nose, red eyes, and nasal congestion.

Seventy percent of the subjects have respiratory symptoms when Cannabis pollination season comes. Marijuana sensitization was taken into account. 14.6% are marijuana smokers, 18.2% are frequent consumers, and only 5% are non-smokers.

If you plan on being a budtender, you have the awareness of the risk of marijuana allergy. Exposure to the plant may cause allergy. Just like the case of some patients who don’t use weed but still have marijuana allergy. One of them had contact with sinsemilla and it’s being blamed to the high THC level of the plant.

Another allergic reaction with marijuana can occur due to cross-reactivity with other plants. A young man who smokes weed and got to touch the peach peel developed urticaria. There are other cases like food pollen syndrome linked to several foods. Anaphylaxis can happen with pepper, fig, tomato, and more.

Determining the Exact Symptoms of Marijuana Allergy

You have to determine the exact symptoms and reactions of marijuana allergy. Even though mold is a possible factor, you better consider the inherent part of the plant which would cause allergy. Some individuals can react to both plants and molds.

It may confuse you a bit but fungal contamination which refers to mold on marijuana can cause allergy. The term used for it is allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. 

The true marijuana allergen responds to some specific substances that are naturally found in the Cannabis plant. It’s a matter of anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity towards the plant. Different ways of exposure can be the root of the allergic reactions.

For instance, inhaling the Cannabis pollens gives you asthma, allergic rhinitis, and conjunctivitis. Exposure to pollen or smoke causes sneezing, nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, dyspnea or difficulty breathing, pharyngeal pruritus or itchy throat, and conjunctival infection.

When consuming Cannabis, the symptoms of allergy are skin irritations. You can also be allergic by just touching the plant. There are various symptoms such as hives, swelling, anaphylaxis, itching, and difficulty in breathing or speech. Allergic asthma can happen during occupational seasonal exposure to the plants.

Some experts speculated that marijuana consumption has something to do with eosinophilic pneumonia. Symptoms pop up after consuming marijuana for recreation.

Diagnosing Marijuana Allergy

When you think you have the allergy, what are you supposed to do? You probably think to go straight to the hospital. But you have to see the doctor that specializes in this matter. The right thing to do is to book an appointment with an allergist.

Skin testing is the means to diagnose a marijuana allergy as of the moment. Pricking the skin will determine the person’s sensitivity to a certain allergen. A blood test that involves IgE, an allergen-specific to know if an individual is allergic to a certain substance.

When the body protects itself from threat, the immune system releases an antibody called IgE or immunoglobin E. IgE can be unique to every allergen so, through a blood test, it will be revealed if you are allergic or not to some elements. The tests quickly show results but they’re not invasive.

Going back to the skin testing, a positive result is not enough to declare that someone has marijuana allergy. The record of the symptoms which includes the time and place of occurrence should be compared. 

The area for skin testing is observed for 15 minutes if any reactions come up. If redness and itchy bumps appear, it’s the sign of being allergic. The sensitivity is greater when the bumps are wider. 

When the result is negative, it is followed by intradermal tests. It’s for the allergist to obtain more information on underlying symptoms. 

Skin testing may sound simple but it should be administered by a trained practitioner who knows the risks and variables. The extracts used in this test are made of marijuana leaves, buds, and flowers. Differences in the extraction method and source material can make the diagnosis vague. Additives and contaminants in the natural allergen can also get in the way.

There’s no standard test for diagnosing marijuana allergy as of the moment. The person’s history related to the matter can help the physician in advising the patient.

Are there Treatments for Marijuana Allergy?

There are different symptoms and dealing with them can be done in various ways. Since the legalization of marijuana, there are stories from people and how they dealt with the situation.

A patient who frequently smokes marijuana developed nasal congestion. It led to chronic cough when he began working as a trimmer in a marijuana growing establishment. The symptoms are pacified by the use of an inhaler and nasal spray. 

There’s another patient who has a history of allergy and asthma shows symptoms after working in a marijuana growing facility and dispensary. It’s asthma and marijuana allergy altogether. The person suffered from eye inflammation and hay fever. 

There is a medication program for this health condition. Minimizing exposure to marijuana is a part of the treatment.

A case of a heavy marijuana consumer opened a new perspective. He opened up about smoking marijuana wax extracted with carbon dioxide that has around 60% to 70% THC. There’s no sign of sensitization and pollen test came out as negative. 

It was discovered that the concentrate has some additives that trigger a reaction from the patient. 

Regarding the symptoms of marijuana allergy, treatments can be given. But it depends on the severity. Those who are chronically allergic, they are advised to avoid the plant. 

Antihistamine, nasal decongestant, and intranasal steroids can be used to treat this allergy. An inhaled corticosteroid or Beta-agonists can treat asthma. Some receive immunotherapy every week to counter it.


There is no standardized diagnostic test for marijuana allergy. Although some treatments can combat the symptoms, it’s best to ask advice from a physician about it. 

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