The worst kind of weed allergy: marijuana

marijuana-11983879Allergies with marijuana from smoking have not been well documented (likely due to the illegal nature of using it!), but reactions/allergies from hemp manufacturing or laboratory use have been reported. With the legalization of marijuana in several states, legal repercussions from reporting side effects from recreational marijuana use will be moot point and may lead to more reporting about reactions.

In general, with any reaction or allergy the first step is avoidance if at all possible. So in the case of marijuana, you would just avoid it. Unlike certain antibiotics, where desensitization would be life saving (like penicillin), or in environmental allergy, where certain allergens are widespread (like oak), with marijuana, you can just avoid it. I know, its not very exciting, it would be more entertaining if there was some sort of complicated challenge where we would desensitize you to marijuana by having you smoke a little each day (doctors orders right?). That wont be happening anytime soon.

The cases where people can truly not avoid it (hemp industry workers, narcotics officers, cannabis growers), then desensitization with immunotherapy (essentially allergy shots for marijuana), have been done, but it is not standardized and studied in very small numbers. Other options such as omalizumab therapy has been done in one patient.

Clearly, as legal acceptance of recreational marijuana use grows we will gain more awareness of side effects/allergies and in turn be able to devise more appropriate ways of treating it. I have a feeling a research study on marijuana use may have a good number of participants . . .

I’ll be discussing cannabis allergy on local Fox News Monday March 9th on the 9am hour. Tune in for more info!

Also, check out this great review in the Annals of Allergy Asthma and Immunology about Cannibis sativa: http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(15)00035-6/pdf

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