Allergies can greatly affect a person’s quality of life, causing symptoms like sneezing, congestion, rash, and swelling. All these symptoms can disrupt your daily life by causing discomfort, sleep loss, and lower productivity at work. It is natural to want to seek relief. Some people opt for traditional medications, while other look at CBD for allergies. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive and non-intoxicant cannabinoid of the cannabis plant.
People with allergies may consider CBD to help relieve the symptoms of allergies. Though the research related to CBD for allergies is limited, there is evidence that suggests CBD can help relieve pain and inflammation.
Unlike germs and other pathogens, allergens are inherently harmless. Things like pollen should not cause your immune system to go haywire. But in people with specific allergies, the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks threatening invaders. The overreaction causes the symptoms we commonly associate with allergies — sneezing, congestion, irritated eyes, itching, and so on.
It is natural to want some relief from these symptoms, but is CBD the answer? Find out if CBD can help with allergies.
Can CBD Help With Allergies?
One crucial thing to mention is that CBD is not a cure-all. You cannot use CBD as a treatment for severe allergic reactions. However, some research studies suggest that CBD may have some impact on allergies.
A 2014 Animal study on pinene – a terpene found in the cannabis plant can reduce the symptoms of fewer allergies. You can find terpenes in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products. However, CBD isolates do not contain any ingredient except cannabidiol.
Moreover, a 2019 animal study looked at the effects of CBD on allergic asthma shows that CBD has reduced the symptoms, including airway inflammation.
What we know about CBD and allergies so far is based on animal studies and experimental lab models. Human studies will provide more insight into how CBD can help allergic reactions like contact dermatitis.
Allergies – Signs & Symptoms
Before diving into the detailed treatment of allergies, let us first understand what allergies are and what causes them.
If you experience allergies at a specific time of the year, you may have a seasonal allergy. Seasonal allergies include:
- Allergic rhinitis
- Hay fever
When the immune system perceives an allergen as foreign, it produces antibodies to fight it that result in allergy. Some common allergens include:
- Dust mite
- Pets and farm animals
- Insect sting and bites
- Contact allergens
Seasonal allergies can be triggered by pollen in the air when plants are blooming. Pet allergies can be triggered upon entering a place where there is pet dander in the air. Any of these triggers can cause symptoms. Common allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Runny nose
- Breathing problem
- Watery or swollen eye
- Rash or hives
- Stomach or bowel problem
CBD for Allergies:
The endocannabinoid system – ECS plays a vital role in the body’s metabolism, immunity, central and peripheral nervous system. ECS works with the help of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. When the body’s endocannabinoid system does not work properly, inflammatory and immune-related disorders such as allergies can occur.
Cannabinoids help regulate the immune system by lowering inflammation in the body. CBD may help in alleviating allergy symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD works on pathways of the ECS that produce histamine – activating the cells in the body. Some research studies show that CBD can greatly reduce the amount of histamine in an allergic reaction, which would reduce congestion.
ECS regulates and controls immune function in the body. And a recent research study indicates that ECS also play role in maintaining skin health. Therefore, CBD applied to the skin can reduce skin rashes and other inflammatory conditions of the skin. People with eczema and psoriasis use CBD-infused creams to manage the symptoms.
Can You Be Allergic to CBD?
Before taking CBD products, you might be wondering whether they are allergic or not. You may not tolerate CBD and can experience the side effects.
Moreover, some terpenes like linalool and D-limonene may be allergic. Overall, CBD is a well-tolerated and safe cannabinoid to use. The World Health Organization has recognized it as a safe chemical substance.
How Does CBD Compare to Other Allergy Treatments?
Typical treatments for allergies include:
- Nasal, topical, and oral corticosteroids
- Mast cell stabilizer
- Epinephrine for severe allergies
Aside from all these treatments, the best solution is to avoid the triggers. While you may want to try CBD and see if it helps with your allergies, there’s little evidence that CBD is an effective allergy treatment. Traditional treatments are backed by more research.
Is It Safe to try CBD for Allergies?
Cannabidiol is a pretty safe cannabinoid. However, you cannot use CBD to treat severe allergic reactions. Additionally, if you are allergic to terpenes or any other ingredient, you can avoid that product.
It is possible to experience the side effects of CBD. Some common side effects include:
- Appetite change
- Weight change
Moreover, the FDA has not regulated CBD products as other supplements and medications. Also, they don’t guarantee that over-the-counter (OTC) CBD products are safe and effective. However, they send lawsuits to the companies that make unnecessary health claims about cannabidiol.
To avoid the unhealthy product, ensure consulting your healthcare professional before using CBD. There is the potential for CBD to interact with some medications and supplements.
While much research still needs to be done on CBD and its effects, there is a promise that it could be useful for treating allergy symptoms. If you are considering taking CBD to help alleviate symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider to discuss the best options. In the meantime, remember that many over-the-counter antihistamines can help with seasonal and year-round allergies.
Moreover, think about the type of CBD you want. You can get CBD in various forms too. Companies sell CBD as topicals, edibles, capsules, gummies, and more.
CBD probably will not do a better job at treating allergies than traditional treatments. But it probably will not hurt to try.
Talk to your doctor before taking CBD. This is especially important if you have severe allergies that require an emergency Epipen, or if you currently take medications or supplements.