Cannabis Science

10 May 2019

CBD and allergies

How CBD can help with allergies and their symptoms

By Mell Green

Whether acute, chronic or seasonal, allergies are both physically and metaphorically draining. Mold, pollen, dust, skin particles, particular food varieties, and other allergens frequently strike us down. It may be surprising to learn that inflammation is the root cause of most allergic reactions. Untreated, this hidden culprit has the potential to cause a domino effect of even more serious health issues than just a runny nose or itchy eye. Many of you have probably experienced some sort of allergic reaction at a point time in your life, and regardless of why it started and what your symptoms are, it’s important to treat at the start. While there are many conventional over the counter options available, but what happens when they don’t work? And, are the side effects worth dealing with?

CBD is a potent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory and said to be highly effective in not only reducing inflammation but also in alleviating other annoying allergy-related symptoms. So, if you’re in search of answers and wanting to taste the gospel of this all-natural alternative, read on.

What are allergies and how have they been treated?

Let us understand that allergies are not the same as symptoms. They are broken down into three different categories: inhaled, ingested, and contact. Allergens inhaled affect the eyes, nose, and lungs, ingested allergens affect the intestines, stomach, and mouth, and lastly, contact allergens mainly affect the skin.

If you’re not well-versed in the biology behind allergies, in short, pro-inflammatory mediators called cytokines get released after immune defenses in the body are triggered by foreign substances (allergens). In trying to identify and neutralize these allergens, a localized inflammatory response is triggered by the immune system, which can cause a number of reactions in the body, including hyperinflammation.

Cytokine release in response to allergic reaction that can be medicated by CBD
A 3D rendering of Cytokines being released as part of an allergic response. Rendering by Manu5

So, we can conclude that inflammation and allergies basically go hand in hand; when allergens trigger a reaction, inflammation is sure to quickly ensue. Allergens float around everywhere you go, and although most people aren’t affected, people with allergies may present with multiple symptoms including the following:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Eye irritation
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hay fever
  • Sneezing
  • Hives
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus Pressure
  • Dermatitis (i.e. swelling and or blistering of the skin)
  • Anaphylaxis (e.g. bee sting)
  • Coughing
  • Inflammation

As said before, there are many traditional treatments for allergies, but the most popular drug used are antihistamines. When you have an allergic reaction, your body will release a substance called histamine, which brings on symptoms. By blocking the release of histamine with antihistamines, in theory, symptoms should quickly subside. However, often these kinds of drugs come paired with side effects such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Hives
  • Dry Mouth
  • Restlessness or moodiness
  • Anxiousness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Urination troubles
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Blurred vision
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Swelling
Histamine release by cells can be medicated by taking CBD
How your cells react to allergens and the release of histamine as a response. CBD can help to medicate this response and soften allergic reactions.

CBD – A low-risk allergy relief treatment

Because of the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory aspects of cannabidiol, it’s thought to suppress the immune system’s response to allergens, thus, helping prevent discomforting symptoms. But, just how? Well, because it has quite an intimate relationship with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS contains a number of cell receptors located all throughout the body that responds to different agonist. With a little encouragement from CBD, cell receptors work to correct whatever is going wrong in the body by giving the green or red light to specific functions. Treating allergies with CBD works much like antihistamines, except histamine release gets naturally blocked by its cannabinoid-induced effects. This keeps the body in a healthy homeostatic state and free of adverse reactions to allergens.

Compared to pharmaceuticals, there aren’t any known documented cases of harmful side effects found in humans treating allergies with CBD, but we’ve no doubt more research is being conducted on the matter.

How CBD can help with different allergies and symptoms


Inflammation:

During an allergic reaction, the immune system tries its best to remove all harmful agents inflicting damage and inflammation. However, a weak immune system may fail to fix the site of distress. CBD can aid against inflammation by activating CB2 receptors in the ECS that reduces the number of cytokines in the body as a result.

Pain and Tension:

Chronic pain and tension are allergy-related symptoms that occur when the body is overworked in the process of flushing out allergens. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is effective for pain management and reduces the intensity of pain for both mild and chronic instances.

Allergy-induced Asthma:

There’s a strong link between allergies and the development of asthma. Rhinitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose), sinusitis (inflammation of a nasal sinus), and asthma are all different localized problems caused by inflammation. However, as an anti-inflammatory, CBD combats this with ease. On another note, for smokers who have asthma, it goes without saying that smoking isn’t the best consumption method when treating with CBD. Try edibles or vaping instead.

Sinusitis:

As a side effect of allergies, sinusitis brings on everything people hate about allergies — congestion, coughing, and breathing difficulties. The anti-inflammatory properties in cannabidiol can help open up sinus passageways by breaking up congestion caused by irritated tissues in the nasal cavity. That said, treating with CBD can greatly help ease these symptoms.

Seasonal Allergies:

People who suffer from allergies during the season change may find cannabidiol useful for alleviating their effects. Seasonal allergies typically aggravate the throat and sinuses, and treating with CBD not only can reduce inflammation, but its antimicrobial properties can help relieve sinus pressure as well as guard the nasal cavity.

A field full of pollen that give you allergies that can be helped with CBD oil
With CBD this might be a less daunting sight, next time allergy season comes around. Pic by Lukasz Szmigiel.

Final thoughts on CBD and allergies

All in all, cannabidiol treatment for allergies seems positive and safe to use. With CBD research quickly moving out of its preliminary stages, we’re developing a clearer understanding of how it influences and controls specific responses in the ECS. Hopefully, in the near future, we’re able to solidify a dosage of CBD-rich medicine for inflammation and other sensitivities. Fingers crossed.

Post author
Mell Green
Mell Green is an enthusiast of all things cannabis and writes content that represents some of the best things that we as a people can strive for: good health and happiness.
See more from Mell Green

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