Allergies To Cannabis
3 min

Allergies To Cannabis Are Actually Caused By Mold And Pollens

3 min
News Research

The legalization in USA brings to sunlight some new health issues: Can cannabis cause allergies? Maybe, even if the first cause for skin or respiratory allergic diseases is actually pollen and moldy buds, not cannabis flowers, THC or CBD alone. Seems like workers in the cannabis growing operations are the people with more chances to get an allergy.

Just like many other plants and animals, cannabis can trigger some kind of allergic reactions in humans. No need to panic: It happens only to a very limited number of individuals, and the cannabis peculiar components, such as cannabinoids, are not responsible for causing allergies. Conversely, THC and CBD proved both in lab researches and practical medicine to act as anti-inflammatory agents.

A lot of people sometimes experience some moderate or severe allergic reaction, often caused by plants’ pollen, food, mold or maybe pets. Most of the allergenic substances are clearly identified; we know that some very common proteins can trigger allergies. These proteins are abundant in cannabis plants too, but no research actually points to a specific cannabis compound as a cause for allergies. According to the data available today, the most likely causes for allergies and other unexpected adverse effects are mold, mildew and pesticides contained in bad quality buds or extracts.


In a limited number of patients, cannabis pollen or smoke inhalation can cause allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, nasal congestion, pharyngitis. A new review of previous studies was recently published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. According to these studies, cannabis pollen exposure can be responsible for symptoms such as a runny nose, inflammation, coughing, sneezing, and swelling around the eyes. The skin can experience inflammation with hives and itching. Although different studies point out work-related allergic contact dermatitis and respiratory diseases, cannabis allergies are still relatively uncommon. Researchers are now focusing on the correlation between the rise in allergies supposedly caused by cannabis and the recent legalization in USA and Canada.


A vast majority of the reported allergy episodes concern people who are often exposed to large quantities of plant matter, such as growers, trimmers, processers, and budtenders. People who never had adverse reactions to cannabis did develop hives and itching after handling the plant. This might become a problem for guys trying to get a job in the blooming cannabis industry.

In countries where cultivation is regulated, allergies associated with cannabis are frequently reported, as the consumption becomes mainstream. Allergies can develop either over a short or long time period, and people who live close to big cannabis cultivations seem to experience more evident reactions to pollen, mold and mildew spreading out from flowering plants. Physicians now encourage growers to protect their skin and respiratory airways when they are working on plants. All the areas of the growing facilities should be clean and properly ventilated in order to offer the worst possible environment to allergenic parasites. Nevertheless, cannabis pollen can glide on the air for many kilometres, and hermaphroditic females can make pollen too.


Consult a doctor as soon as any serious allergic reaction appears. She or he would probably know nothing about cannabis-related allergies, but they will somehow treat their patient. Although still uncommon, cannabis allergies can be treated in the same way as other allergies. Cannabis allergens contained in pollen, flowers and leaves may even cross-react with other allergenic sources from plants, like fruit peels and pollen, thus complicating the medical diagnosis. The identification of the all possible cannabis allergens will help understanding the eventual risks for sensitive patients or workers in the cannabis industry.

While waiting for further research, it is useful to remind that cannabis buds can become moldy when they are not properly cured and stored. People who are allergic to mold may have reactions, and the most unfortunate ones might react to both the plant matter and mold at the same time. It is anyhow reported that most of the patients who are able to get better quality cannabis stop having allergic reactions. Needless to say, it is very important to know where buds and extracts come from, and how the plant was grown. It’s also useful to learn how to detect signs of mold or pesticide use.


While it’s not clear if cannabinoids or other cannabis chemicals can actually cause allergies, it is pretty clear THC and CBD can fight inflammations, and therefore some kind of allergies symptoms. Extracts from the hemp plant were traditionally used to treat inflammation. Cannabis-based treatments for irritated skin and other allergy symptoms were normally available until the plant was criminalized in the first half of 20th century.

Today’s science made increasingly clear that cannabinoids receptors play a crucial role in the regulation of mammals’ immune system. Some recent researches, such as the one titled “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs”, suggest that cannabis can help in the treatment of allergies and autoimmune disorders. Scientists found that mice deprived of cannabinoids receptors had much more severe inflammatory reactions compared with “normal” lab rats. On the opposite, mice with artificially activated cannabinoids receptors showed fewer symptoms of rashes and a reduced skin inflammation.

These years many people are using different cannabis derivatives, with or without psychoactive effects, in order to fight skin inflammation and respiratory diseases. Cannabis is also used alone or together with other medical herbs in order to improve our immune system’s ability to resist pathogens’ attacks from the environment. In this scenario where modern science once again confirms ethnic medicine practices, the allergic episodes reported on a few patients in USA can probably be considered like rare and minor adverse effects.


Written by: Zamnesia
Zamnesia has spent years honing its products, ranges, and knowledge of all things psychedelic. Driven by the spirit of Zammi, Zamnesia strives to bring you accurate, factual, and informative content.

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