CBD Oil For Allergies

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Cannabidiol or CBD, derived from Cannabis sativa, is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties that could be useful in managing allergies. Learn more. Allergies manifests as a defensive reaction of an overactive immune system. People can be allergic to food, pollen, animals, dust, and more. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties — but should you take it for allergies? Using CBD (cannabidiol) oil for allergies may improve inflammation and congestion, but research is ongoing. Learn about CBD nasal sprays and topicals for allergies.

CBD for Allergies – August 2022

An allergic reaction is one of the most prevalent chronic health conditions in the world. When a person encounters substances that they are allergic to, such as with pollen, mold, or dust, the immune system may overreact by producing excess antibodies.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound from the Cannabis sativa plant, reportedly contains anti-inflammatory properties that could be useful in treating allergies⁽⁶⁾. One way CBD can help with allergies is by reducing antibodies that trigger histamine –the leading cause of inflammatory responses in the body.

How CBD Oil Works to Help with Allergies

A study in 2009 found that cannabinoids are capable of inhibiting the activation of a specific type of white blood cell (T-cells) in mice. By impairing the release of these cells, CBD may be able to lessen antibody responses and reduce allergic symptoms ⁽⁷⁾.

Terpenes, which are present in full-spectrum CBD oil, have also shown to help lower antibody levels, as seen in a 2014 study. Researchers learned that alpha-pinene, a common terpene in Cannabis sativa, decreased the clinical symptoms of allergies in mice ⁽⁸⁾.

Researchers observed that the rodents rubbed their nose, eyes, and ears less frequently, indicating an improvement from allergic reactions. Lower levels of immunoglobulin E, a vital component that releases histamine, were also noticed in the mice. Histamine is responsible for the symptoms such as a runny nose, itching, and swelling in the nasal cavities.

Another study in 2005 suggests that cannabinoids may prevent heightened histamine responses. The research shows that certain cannabinoids could suppress the activation of mast cells that trigger histamine release ⁽⁹⁾.

Inflammation plays a crucial role during the onset of allergies, and one way that cannabis may help alleviate allergic symptoms is by reducing or preventing inflammation. Dr. Sue Sisley, a researcher on medical marijuana, notes that the Cannabis sativa plant may inhibit the inflammatory pathway.

“And that certainly does relate to allergies because if you can cut the inflammatory pathway, then it could certainly help the untreated allergies, all the classic symptoms, the itchy, runny nose, itchiness, hives, all those kinds of things,” Dr. Sisley states.

Besides reducing the symptoms of itchy skin, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose, cannabidiol can also alleviate allergy symptoms such as difficulty breathing in asthma. A study released in 2019 reveals that CBD treatment reduces inflammation in the airway, wheezing, and scarring of lung tissue in allergic asthma ⁽¹⁰⁾.

Another research study suggests that cannabinoids may affect mast cells similar to antihistamines ⁽¹¹⁾.

Despite these preliminary findings, Dr. Sisley cautions that the therapeutic properties of CBD tincture are still theoretical. Although proof of its effectiveness is not yet proven, the initial studies show CBD to have the potential of being a possible treatment for allergies.

The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Allergies

The Pros
  • The studies mentioned above show that the anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties of CBD oil may help treat allergies.
  • Cannabidiol, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does not alter the consciousness or trigger a “high” in individuals that consume its products ⁽¹²⁾.
  • Based on a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD oil is generally well tolerated and comes with an excellent safety profile ⁽¹³⁾.
  • Although mostly performed on animals, the findings above show that CBD may be an effective treatment in reducing allergy symptoms.
Cons
  • The studies on the efficacy of CBD in human beings are minimal and do not clarify whether or not the compound can reliably treat allergies.
  • According to Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary care physician that advocates the use of cannabis, states that fatigue, irritability, and nausea are common side effects of CBD ⁽¹⁴⁾.
  • Most of the research on the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD were clinical trials carried out on rodents and not human beings.

The labeling accuracy of cannabidiol products sold online leaves much to be desired. Dr. Grinspoon, as well as several researchers in a 2017 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), share the same sentiment⁽¹⁵⁾.

Consulting a doctor that is knowledgeable in CBD use is highly recommended. At the very least, seeking such medical advice can help ensure that the extract does not have a negative interaction with other allergy medications currently being taken ⁽¹⁶⁾.

How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Allergies

At the time of writing, no evidence points to CBD as a proper antihistamine. Based on findings, scientists theorize that CBD can affect mast cells enough to reduce allergic symptoms ⁽¹⁷⁾.

Many people suffering from seasonal allergies find that traditional antihistamines are only effective if started early. Over time, its efficacy begins to diminish to the point where it may no longer be useful against an allergic response.

As mentioned earlier, CBD has anti-inflammatory potential that may be useful in treating allergy. Several studies suggest that there are therapeutic properties present in cannabidiol.

One frequently cited study is in 2009 published by Future Medicinal Chemistry. The researchers in the study analyzed the importance of the CB1 and CB2 receptors and how cannabinoids could play a crucial role in regulating the immune system ⁽¹⁸⁾.

The main point of the said research is that cannabinoids can potentially be active anti-inflammatory agents. The authors learned that CBD is as effective as many of the widely available anti-inflammatory medications in the market.

Nagarkatti and associates looked at cannabidiol’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and how it appears to inhibit inflammation ⁽¹⁹⁾. The ECS is a system in both humans and animals that regulates much of the immune system.

A more recent study in 2018 analyzed how chronic pain and inflammation can be treated through various cannabinoid delivery systems.

The researchers mentioned that the trials support the potential anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids. This data makes cannabinoids suitable candidates for nano-sized drug delivery systems ⁽²⁰⁾.

The majority of findings on CBD’s effects on inflammation ultimately points towards its effects on the endocannabinoid system.

Scientists in a 2014 study had the same sentiment when they analyzed how the ECS plays a considerable part in handling inflammation. Their findings suggest that activating the ECS in a certain way can help regulate inflammation linked to various diseases ⁽²¹⁾.

In theory, the use of CBD oil to treat allergies may promote the increased production of healthy cannabinoids in the ECS. Although CBD does not directly affect the receptors present in the system, it may be sufficient enough to promote anti-inflammatory effects.

How to Choose the Right CBD for Allergies

A CBD nasal spray containing a concentration of anti-inflammatory cannabinoids and terpenes is something that the marijuana plant advocate Dr. Grinspoon envisions can treat allergies. Full-spectrum CBD oil is an example of a CBD product that contains all of the phytonutrients from industrial hemp as it comes with THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils.

There are also broad-spectrum CBD products, or CBD without the THC content, for consumers that have cannabis allergy to THC.

CBD isolates are also available, which are extracts that are made up of pure cannabidiol. Farmers typically obtain this type of CBD from hemp plants, due to its low or non-existent THC content.

Whichever type of CBD product people choose to use, it is always in their best interest to consult a doctor first before deciding to apply CBD oil for allergies.

The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:

  1. Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be purchased and used.
  2. Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
  3. Research product reviews before buying from an online store. When purchasing from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
  4. One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
  5. Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports.
  6. Consulting with a trusted medical professional who is experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.
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Conclusion

Allergies are one of the most common medical conditions that people around the world experience, especially in the United States. Common allergens such as mold, pollen, dander, or dust, which are seemingly harmless for most individuals, may cause an overreaction (as with anaphylaxis) in the immune system of people who are allergic to them.

CBD is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help allergy sufferers, especially those with rhinitis or hay fever. One example of how CBD can address allergic symptoms is by inhibiting antibodies that trigger histamine, or the main compound responsible for inflammatory responses.

Many other studies are suggesting that cannabinoids can potentially deal with allergies. Much of the research ultimately points towards how CBD can affect the endocannabinoid system.

Despite preliminary findings, medical experts caution that the therapeutic properties of CBD oil are still theoretical. It is always best for people to consult a doctor first before deciding to include any CBD product in their regimen.

CBD For Allergies: Can Hemp Oil Help Relieve Allergy Symptoms?

Allergies manifest as adverse reactions of an overactive immune system that do not occur in healthy people. Symptoms of allergies range from sniffling, sneezing to watery eyes, itchy throat, wheezing, and asthma attacks.

According to statistics, allergies are the sixth main cause of chronic illnesses in the United States, affecting roughly 19.9 million adults, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CBD is a plant-based compound unique to the Cannabis sativa L. family. Cannabis plants contain over 400 phytochemicals on top of CBD, so it goes without saying that at least one of these compounds can trigger allergies.

While the research into allergic reactions to products like CBD oil is scarce, the cannabis plant itself has been associated with allergies.

In today’s article, we’ll cover the topic of potential allergies to CBD oil; what may trigger them; what researchers are saying, and whether full-spectrum CBD oil can cause a person to experience typical allergy symptoms.

What You Need to Know About Allergies (Causes, Symptoms & Statistics)

Over 50% of the U.S. population suffers from allergies to at least one thing. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is the most common type of allergy, affecting up to 30% of American adults and 40% of children.

There’s no cure for allergies, they can be effectively managed with the right diet, supplementation, and certain lifestyle changes. Of course, people with allergies should also avoid triggers.

Some allergies are milder than others, but there are people for whom this condition is a severe problem that requires an individual approach.

As mentioned, the symptoms of allergies include sneezing, itching, droopy eyes, a runny nose, and sometimes problems with breathing.

Allergies are triggered by a compromised immune system. The immune system controls allergic reactions; when it functions normally, it can distinguish from harmful and safe compounds to eliminate potential dangers. However, when the communication between its cells is disturbed, the immune system starts to identify normal substances as potential threats — releasing antibodies to attack them.

People with allergies produce antibodies every time they get exposed to the allergen.

The main antibody responsible for allergic reactions is histamine. The antihistamine medications are formulated to prevent antibodies from damaging the immune system. Popular antihistamine drugs include Claritin, which is available without a prescription.

Food allergies are more challenging to treat. The immune system attacks proteins in the food, causing serious symptoms such as anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis can be fatal if left without immediate aid. People with allergies usually carry special pens infused with epinephrine to stop an anaphylactic attack.

A 2009 study published in the journal Immunobiology found that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC could trigger immunosuppressive processes in an overactive immune system (1). According to the authors, these compounds may block the reactions of the immune system against the “hostile” molecules.

Does CBD Oil Help with Allergies?

Although the research into the health benefits of CBD oil for allergies is limited, multiple studies have highlighted its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties. Inflammation is the underlying cause of allergic reactions.

A 2011 research report published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine analyzed the potential benefits of CBD for different inflammatory disorders (2). George W. Booz, the leading researcher and a professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, summarized them in the following way:

“Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress feed off each other. However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further development given its antioxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells.”

The authors concluded there’s no clinical evidence to support the theory that CBD oil relieves allergic reactions, so while some studies suggest anti-inflammatory effects exist (and they’re potent), we need more long-term clinical trials to officially support the use of CBD for allergies.

Should You Vape CBD Oil for Allergies?

CBD vapes, such as vape pens, offer the highest bioavailability of all available products. Up to 56% of the vaporized CBD ends up in your system according to various studies. However, CBD vapes often contain other compounds aside from cannabidiol, including thinners such as propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin.

The problem with propylene glycol is that it breaks down into dangerous aldehydes when heated, which can further irritate the lungs. If your allergic reactions include coughing, wheezing, or asthma attacks, CBD vape oil can do more harm than good. Some studies have found that smoking cannabis improves the lung function and capacity of asthma sufferers, but they analyzed the efficacy of medical marijuana, which contains both THC and CBD in different ratios — not to mention that the researchers used cannabis flowers, not vape oil.

How to Use CBD Oil for Allergies

CBD oil is the product of choice for many first-time users. It contains a hemp extract suspended in a carrier oil to provide higher bioavailability. CBD oils are packed in 30-ml glass bottles with droppers attached to them for precise dosing.

People take CBD oil to prevent allergies as well as to fight their symptoms. That’s because this form of consumption offers a relatively fast onset of effects — around 15-30 minutes after ingestion — with a long duration time, up to 6 hours.

CBD oil is taken under the tongue. The user needs to squeeze out the desired amount of oil using the dropper, place a few drops under the tongue, and hold it there for up to 60 seconds. This route of administration allows the CBD to absorb into the bloodstream through hundreds of tiny blood vessels in the mouth. Since most of the ingested oil avoids the digestive system, it doesn’t lose potency as much as CBD capsules or edibles.

Speaking of which, oral CBD products are a great alternative for those who would like to have a premeasured dose of CBD with each serving, as well as for people living busy lifestyles. CBD capsules and edibles mask the earthy flavor of hemp extracts, which makes them more enjoyable. The effects of CBD also last longer — up to 10 hours — despite a delayed onset. When you take a CBD capsule or gummy, they need to be processed by the digestive system, so it may take up to 2 hours until you can experience the effects.

CBD oil is a better pick if you need to quickly ease your symptoms and gauge your dose more accurately. On the other hand, capsules and edibles are better to kickstart the day and bolster your immune system against the triggers.

Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil?

An allergy to cannabis isn’t just a poor excuse for having red eyes during your adolescent times — it’s a real thing.

So, the answer is: yes, you can be allergic to CBD. Eating, touching, or inhaling cannabis plants can trigger allergic reactions as a result of contact with pollen. Inhaling that pollen may lead to hay fever.

A 2018 study found that people with allergies to plants, dust mites, cat dander, and mold, have a higher risk of developing an allergy to cannabis (3). However, no other study has yet investigated this subject as of this writing. More quality research is needed to establish a firm connection between cannabis and allergic reactions.

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Considering the risk of allergies from pollen or mold, you should be particularly careful when choosing CBD products; purchase only from companies who use organically grown hemp and test their CBD oils in third-party laboratories for potency and potential contaminants. The latter may trigger an allergy to CBD oil that may not result from CBD per se.

Possible Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil

As mentioned earlier, an allergy to CBD can manifest in many different ways. Two people may experience completely different symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell the difference between a CBD allergy and the mild side effects of CBD.

Potential adverse reactions to CBD oil include dry mouth, changes in appetite, dizziness, fatigue, and diarrhea. These aren’t the symptoms of an allergic reaction to CBD. Fortunately, the majority of these effects are nearly nonexistent in regular doses.

Here are a few possible signs of a CBD allergy:

  • Skin irritations: when you use a CBD topical, you may notice hives or a rash as the symptoms of your allergy to CBD. However, these reactions may be caused by one of the many ingredients in creams and other skincare products, so make sure to scan the list of ingredients thoroughly.
  • Dry, itchy, or red eyes: this symptom is commonly associated with cannabis users — it results from inhaling THC — but some people might experience droopy, red eyes after taking CBD oil. If you have this kind of reaction, it might be a sign that you’re allergic to CBD.
  • Migraines: While a slight headache might occur after taking a higher dose of CBD, migraines are a severe reaction that can indicate an allergy to some of the ingredients in CBD oil.
  • Breathing difficulty: If you experience difficulty breathing, seek immediate help. This is most likely the side effect of poor-quality products that contain mold or hazardous additives.

People with plant allergies are advised to try CBD isolate instead of full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. The latter is made using the entire plant, meaning they contain cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and plant waxes. Such products carry a higher risk of triggering an allergic reaction.

You can try a few different CBD products — full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate — to find out which form of CBD works without any adverse reactions. We also encourage you to check with a doctor for medical advice on what to do when you start experiencing the symptoms.

Studies on Allergic Reactions to CBD Oil

  • A study conducted by the Duke University School of Medicine found that about 20% of the 100 people they tested had allergic reactions to linalool, while 8% were allergic to limonene. These are the two most commonly found terpenes in full-spectrum CBD oils (4).
  • Doctors from the University of California, San Diego, published a letter entitled “Marijuana and stoned fruit” in the Annals of Allergies and Asthma, where they reported a 24-year-old male marijuana daily user experienced an anaphylactic reaction after eating yogurt with hemp seeds (5).
  • In a 2013 study published in the Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology, 21 patients with food allergies were tested in terms of reactivity to cannabis lipid transfer proteins (LTP), which are potential allergens (6). Twelve participants showed signs of allergies to cannabis, and all 12 had severe symptoms of food allergy than those without an allergy to the plant.

CBD & Allergies: Bottom Line

Although researchers have yet to fully understand the link between CBD and allergies, some studies have reported that the cannabinoid has remarkable anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation lies at the roots of all allergies, so while CBD won’t cure them, preliminary research and anecdotal reports indicate that CBD oil may be able to help ease the symptoms.

That is, of course, if you aren’t allergic to cannabis. CBD itself may not be an allergen, but in combination with the remaining 400 phytochemicals from cannabis, it can trigger an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, sniffling, or red, droopy eyes. Allergies may also be caused by other ingredients in CBD oil, such as synthetic additives.

If you want to reduce the risk of experiencing an allergy to CBD, it’s best to purchase from a trustworthy company that sells high-quality lab-tested products. Always make sure to check for third-party lab reports — or Certificates of Analysis (COA) — to check if the product is free of contaminants, solvents, or plant residue. Spending some extra time on research will save you money on CBD oil.

As the number of CBD users grows, researchers will be able to collect more information about potential allergic reactions and how CBD oil can mitigate their impact on our health.

Do you take CBD for allergies? Or do you know someone who is allergic to CBD oil?

References:

  • Rieder, Sadiye Amcaoglu et al. “Cannabinoid-induced apoptosis in immune cells as a pathway to immunosuppression.” Immunobiology vol. 215,8 (2010): 598-605. doi:10.1016/j.imbio.2009.04.001
  1. Booz, George W. “Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress.” Free radical biology & medicine vol. 51,5 (2011): 1054-61. doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.01.007
  2. Min, Jin-Young, and Kyoung-Bok Min. “Marijuana use is associated with hypersensitivity to multiple allergens in US adults.” Drug and alcohol dependence vol. 182 (2018): 74-77. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.039
  3. Nath, Neel Som et al. “Contact Allergy to Hydroperoxides of Linalool and D-Limonene in a US Population.” Dermatitis : contact, atopic, occupational, drug vol. 28,5 (2017): 313-316. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000318
  4. Bhatia, Prerana et al. “Marijuana and stoned fruit.” Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology vol. 120,5 (2018): 536-537. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2018.01.01
  5. Ebo, D G et al. “New food allergies in a European non-Mediterranean region: is Cannabis sativa to blame?.” International archives of allergy and immunology vol. 161,3 (2013): 220-8. doi:10.1159/000346721
Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

What to Know About CBD for Allergies

​Cory Martin is the author of seven books including “Love Sick” a memoir about dating, life in Hollywood and dealing with MS. Her essays have appeared online with CNN, HuffPost, Everyday Health, Psychology Today, Folks, The Mighty, and more.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Jurairat J. Molina, MD, MBA is a board-certified allergist who has been practicing in field of allergy and clinical immunology for the past two decades.

Allergies can greatly affect a person’s quality of life, causing symptoms like sneezing, congestion, rash, and swelling. These symptoms can disrupt your daily life, by causing discomfort, sleep loss, and lower productivity at work. If you experience any or all of these symptoms, it’s natural to want to seek relief.

People with allergies may consider CBD (cannabidiol) to help relieve their symptoms. While research into the effects of CBD on allergies is limited, there is evidence that the compound can help relieve pain and inflammation, and mitigate some of the body’s immune responses to allergens.

This article will discuss how CBD can help with allergies, the best types of CBD to use, and any side effects.

Verywell / Danie Drankwalter

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in many of the body’s systems and processes, including metabolism, immunity, and the central and peripheral nervous systems. The body produces cannabinoids that are received by cannabinoid receptors to keep the body functioning normally.

Cannabinoids help regulate the immune system by lowering inflammation in the body. When the body’s cannabinoid system is not working properly, inflammatory and immune-related disorders, such as allergies, can occur.

Because it’s a cannabinoid, CBD may be helpful in relieving allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, congestion, and runny nose.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, otherwise known as marijuana. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the other cannabinoid compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is non-psychoactive.

While CBD and THC are the most commonly discussed compounds from the cannabis plant, more than 100 other cannabinoids have been identified.

CBD vs. Hemp Seed Oil

The cannabis sativa plant has been cultivated in two different ways: “drug hemp” (marijuana) and “industrial hemp” (hemp). Drug hemp contains high levels of THC, whereas industrial hemp has a THC level less than 0.3%.

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Hemp plants grown for recreational or medicinal use have high THC and high CBD levels.

Industrial hemp is legal throughout the United States and is grown for fiber, paper, hemp seeds, construction materials, textiles, and hempseed oil.

Like CBD oil, hempseed oil has been touted for its health benefits. Hempseed oil is known for its nutritional value, as it contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hempseed oil also contains polyphenols, tocopherols, proteins, and carbohydrates, which have nutritional benefits.

Cannabis Allergy

While you may seek CBD or hemp to treat your allergies, be aware it’s possible to develop an allergy to cannabis itself. Hemp allergy is similar to other allergies, like pollen allergies. Symptoms can range from skin irritations, like rashes or hives, to respiratory afflictions such as asthma, congestion, and runny nose.

Though more research needs to be done, smoking marijuana or hemp may increase the likelihood of developing asthma and other allergic diseases. If you have allergic asthma, you may want to avoid smoking the compound.

Allergy Symptoms and Triggers

Allergies occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance that is normally harmless in most people. Common allergens include, but are not limited to:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Pets and farm animals
  • Insect stings and bites
  • Foods
  • Medication
  • Contact allergens, such as metals for fragrance ingredients
  • Mold

Many allergies are triggered by situations and environmental factors, such as a bee sting or eating certain foods.

Seasonal allergies can be triggered by pollen in the air when plants are blooming. Pet allergies can be triggered upon entering someone’s home where there is pet dander in the air.

Any of these types of triggers can cause symptoms. Common allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Runny nose, coughing, and sneezing
  • Breathing problems
  • Watery or swollen eyes
  • Itching
  • Rash or hives
  • Stomach or bowel problems

When to Seek Emergency Help

If you experience difficulty breathing or your throat begins to close or swell, call 911 immediately. This can be a sign of a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

CBD for Allergies

While research into the effects of CBD on allergies has been limited mainly to small studies and animal studies, there is promise that CBD can help mitigate or eliminate allergic symptoms and reactions.

Congestion

CBD is known to work on one of the pathways of the ECS that produces histamine-activating cells in the body. There is some evidence that CBD could greatly reduce the amount of histamine produced in an allergic reaction, which would reduce congestion.

Skin Rashes

The ECS helps regulate and control immune function in the body, and more recent research suggests that the ECS also plays a role in maintaining skin health.

Some studies suggest that CBD applied directly to the skin can help with rashes and other inflammatory conditions of the skin, such as eczema, but further research is still needed.

What Are the Side Effects of CBD?

Studies have shown that CBD is relatively safe to consume, however these studies are limited. Further research is needed to determine the effects of CBD on the entire body and its effects over long-term consumption.

The most common side effects of CBD are:

  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Mood changes and irritability
  • Lower appetite and weight loss
  • Diarrhea

Best CBD for Allergies

The most common methods for consuming CBD for allergies and inflammation are topical treatments, herbal extracts, and edibles. Choosing a method depends on the type of allergy symptom being treated.

For rashes and skin inflammation, a topical cream or ointment may be best. For hay fever and other full-body symptoms, an herbal extract, edible, or nasal spray might work best. A nasal CBD spray may be beneficial, as the lining of the nose is thin, and CBD can pass directly into the blood, which produces faster effects.

The other factor to consider is the type of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate.

  • Full-spectrum CBDuses all extracts of the cannabis plant, which includes CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and other cannabinoids. The THC concentration in full-spectrum is 0.3% or less.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but it has no THC.
  • A CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other parts of the cannabis plant.

The “Entourage Effect”

Some evidence suggests that broad- or full-spectrum CBD produces better benefits, due to the synergistic effects of the other compounds within the spectrum, including THC. This is known as the “entourage effect.”

Dosage

CBD dosage will depend on the delivery method chosen and what symptom is being treated.

Doses ranging from 300 mg to 600 mg have been shown to help treat anxiety disorders. Another study showed that a dosage of 25 mg helped improve poor sleep.

There is very little regulation on the dosing of CBD, so you may need to experiment until you find the right dose for your body and symptoms. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about appropriate dosing.

How to Buy CBD

Buying CBD will depend on where you live. In states where marijuana, and thus CBD derived from the “drug hemp,” is legal, you can find CBD at a dispensary. In states where marijuana is not legal, you will have to buy CBD that is derived from “industrial hemp.” As with all supplements, it is best to research the product to make sure it’s good quality.

A Word From Verywell

While much research still needs to be done on CBD and its effects, there is 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 there are many over-the-counter antihistamines that can help with seasonal and year-round allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions

CBD is not a decongestant, but it is theorized to work on the endocannabinoid system, which can reduce inflammation and congestion.

Using CBD for allergy treatment can be used the same way as other allergy medications, though it is important to note that the FDA has not approved CBD use for allergies. If you choose to try CBD to help manage your allergy symptoms, you can use a nasal spray, edible, or topical treatment.

Allergic asthma can worsen in people who are allergic to CBD, or the marijuana/hemp plants and their seeds. A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.

Terpenes are compounds in plants that cause their fragrance. Cannabis is known for its fragrance and therefore its terpenes. Terpenes are found in full- and broad-spectrum CBD. In one study on the effects of CBD for epilepsy, it was discovered that the full- and broad-spectrum versions had better outcomes, thus suggesting that terpenes play an important part in CBD’s effectiveness.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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