Allergies of different types bother a significant part of the global population. Allergic reactions result from the immune system mistaking potentially harmless particles as health threats. The plant-derived therapeutic, CBD that has gained immense popularity recently has several applications in the treatment of allergies.
But can CBD cause allergies? Well, the answer is “it may”. Before we get into a detailed discussion, take note of the fact that the side effects of CBD and the allergic reactions it may cause in people are not the same.
How Do Allergies Work?
Allergy is hardly an unfamiliar term to us. Runny nose, watery eyes, constant sneezing, itching and difficulty in breathing are the common symptoms of allergies.
Allergic reactions are caused by our immune system. It normally has the ability to distinguish between harmful and harmless substances. But in some cases, the immune system may falsely identify harmless compounds as harmful substances and generate the respective response. At every point the body encounters the allergens, the immune system creates antibodies to attack the invaders.
In the case of plant allergies, histamines produced in response to the introduction to the allergens act as the antibodies. Antihistamines are taken to combat the allergic reaction.
Food allergies are even more complex. Severe symptoms like anaphylaxis are caused when the immune system attacks the proteins in the food. The condition could lead to fatalities if not treated properly.
What Are The Side Effects Of CBD?
The side effects of CBD should not be mistaken for the allergies caused by it. Side effects are mostly caused by taking CBD in high doses or because you are sensitive to CBD. The common side effects of CBD include:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Increased tremor in Parkinson’s disease
What Are The Allergic Reactions To CBD?
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people who are allergic to CBD start showing symptoms after touching, inhaling, smoking or consuming any products that contain CBD. On identifying allergens, the immune system produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E, which causes allergic reaction symptoms. The intensity of these reactions varies from person to person depending on their immune system and immunoglobulin E levels. Moreover, the nature of the allergies does not remain constant.
As CBD is a plant-derived compound, the allergic reactions to CBD are similar to that of pollen, fungi and seasonal allergies. The symptoms go away after you discontinue CBD use. Common allergic reactions to CBD include:
- Dry cough
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Sore throat
Consuming CBD or applying CBD topicals may cause skin allergies. The skin reactions include:
- Inflammation and redness
- Dry skin
- Skin irritation
Anaphylactic shock is a serious allergic reaction that could put you through life-threatening situations. The chance for CBD leading to anaphylactic shock is extremely rare although possible. When a person is in the condition, their body is flooded with chemicals that narrow airways and restrict their breathing.
The following are the symptoms of anaphylactic shock.
- Dizziness or fainting
- Shortness of breath and wheezing and difficulty in breathing
- Loss of consciousness
How To Diagnose CBD Allergies?
Doctors use two methods to diagnose allergies to CBD; blood test and skin prick test. The accuracy of the blood test is better than that of skin prick test but its results are slower than the skin prick test.
In the skin prick test, a diluted allergen like CBD is applied to the skin using a needle. If the person is allergic to CBD, the skin area to which the CBD was applied becomes inflamed, red or itchy.
In a blood test, a blood sample is drawn to test it for the presence of antibodies to CBD. If antibodies are detected in numbers more than expected, the person may be allergic to CBD.
How To Avoid CBD Allergies?
If you are diagnosed as allergic to CBD, discontinue its use. If you are using full spectrum CBD, it is difficult to point out the exact compound that caused the allergic reaction because full spectrum cannabis products come with many cannabis compounds. CBD isolate is a better option you can try.
The quality of CBD products also has a lot to do with possible allergic reactions. Low quality products may contain unwanted substances in them that could cause allergies in some people. If you are using a cannabidiol product for the first time, try out a small dose and wait to see if it causes any allergic reaction. If not, you can confidently go ahead. If you are selecting CBD topicals, apply a small amount of the topical on your skin to see if it generates any reaction. In some cases, the ingredients other than cannabinoids in the CBD product may be causing the allergy. Check the ingredient list of cannabidiol products thoroughly to ensure that it does not include anything that you are allergic to.