Could I be Allergic to Marijuana?

Marijuana joint & plant
Is it possible to develop an allergy to weed?. Photo © Mexico Shoots/Moment Open/Getty Images

Question: Could I have a marijuana allergy? Is it possible to be allergic to weed or pot? Whether you are new to medicinal marijuana or have used it in the past without problem, if you are having symptoms of an allergy, read on...

Answer: It is quite possible to have a marijuana allergy. Many types of pollen from plants, such as ragweed, flowers and trees, can cause allergic reactions in some people, and marijuana is no different.

Marijuana flowers produce pollen that can prove problematic to sensitive individuals.

Marijuana Allergy Symptoms & Treatment

A marijuana allergy can cause skin problems if the plant and/or flowers are handled. Symptoms of skin irritation might include:

• itching

• redness

• rash or hives

• dry, scaly skin

There is also some evidence that marijuana might be an airborne allergen, with individuals becoming sensitized after inhalation of marijuana pollen. Airborne allergy symptoms from marijuana are generally similar to the problems caused by any other airborne allergen, such as:

rhinitis or hay fever (itchy, runny nose)

• nasal congestion

• a sore throat

• itchy, watery eyes

• respiratory problems, such as asthma

If you suspect you have developed a marijuana allergy, it is generally best to avoid the plant altogether. If you have been using marijuana for medicinal purposes, you might want to speak with your physician and seek professional medical advice.

He or she might be able to suggest alternative treatment options for your condition/symptoms that won't cause allergic reactions.

Sources:
Freeman, G.L., M.D. "Allergic Skin Test Reactivity to Marijuana." The Western Journal of Medicine. 1983 June; 138(6): 829–831.

Stokes J.R., Hartel R., Ford L.B., Casale T.B.

"Cannabis (hemp) positive skin tests and respiratory symptoms." Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2000 September; 85(3): 238-40.

Edited and updated by Chris Raymond, February 12, 2016.

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