Cannabis is a wonderful, natural treatment for a whole host of medical conditions and symptoms – people use it to treat everything from mild headaches and muscle pain to cancer and Multiple Sclerosis. But just like anything else we put into our bodies or breathe in, it is possible to be allergic to cannabis.

In the US, more than 50 million people struggle with allergies of some kind. It’s not surprising, then, that cannabis allergies are beginning to surface as cannabis continues to become more accessible, and as more people begin to try it for both medical and recreational purposes. Unfortunately, people who just want to try cannabis for fun aren’t the only ones affected – cannabis allergies could impact people who have turned to the medicine as a last resort, or who work in the cannabis industry.

Symptoms of a cannabis allergy could in some cases go unnoticed for awhile, mistaken for side effects – think red and runny eyes, and a stuffy head. But cannabis side effects often vary from strain to strain, and depending on the ingestion method, so if one tries a number of strains, smoked, vaporized, and eaten, and sees no chance in symptoms, a cannabis allergy could be to blame.

This Leafly article outlines a few reasons cannabis makes a worthy allergen:

  • Like other common allergens such as ragweed, cannabis has “buoyant” pollen that floats effortless on the slightest breeze, enabling it to spread and be breathed in. Pure female plants don’t produce pollen, but other genders (male, hermaphroditic), do. If the pollen in cannabis is what affects you, you could find certain edibles, concentrates, tinctures and topicals are suitable, though growing your own cannabis is likely out of the question.
  • THC could be another cause of allergic reaction. As new strains are developed with higher and higher percentages of THC, this cause is becoming more prevalent. If the best medical cannabis strain for you I is one high in THC, or if you use cannabis recreationally for the psychoactive effects, the allergic potential of THC is unfortunate. The good news is, if THC is the cause of your allergic reaction, it’s possible a high-CBD, low-THC strain could work for you, as long as the psychoactive sensation is not your primary goal.

Some people who have used cannabis without any issue could discover an allergy when they begin growing their own cannabis. Likewise, a cannabis gardener who has never tried cannabis (assuming one exists) could experience no symptoms until they actually ingest the plant.

Interestingly, cannabis sativa seems to be more problematic than indica, causing symptoms like hay fever, skin rash, and asthmatic reactions. Mold growing on a cannabis plant could also instigate a reaction, but inhaling mold through smoked cannabis can cause other serious health problems, as well.

We’ve mentioned symptoms like hay fever, red eyes, and stuffy heads, but like any other allergen, cannabis can also cause hives, itching, and trouble breathing, and even anaphylaxis in the most serious cases.

All this said, a cannabis allergy is highly unlikely to prove a significant health risk, and cannabis should not be avoided solely based on the fear of allergy. If you try cannabis and discover what you believe are allergic reactions, you may choose to get tested for the allergy, or you may simply try a different strain (indica instead of sativa, for instance) or a different ingestion method!

Know you’re not allergic to cannabis pollen? Then why not grow your own all-natural healing medicine. Growers Choice offers a wide selection of premium cannabis seed strains suitable for everyone – from those who have never had dirt under their fingernails, to the most established green thumb.


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