The time for rejoicing that the cold, dark winter is over can be short-lived for some. Warmer, sunnier weather can also signal the beginning of allergy season and all that comes with it: sneezing, watery eyes, asthma, congestion. For the more than 50 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergies, spring is just no fun.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, you’ve probably tried many medications and are willing to try just about anything to help ease your symptoms. But have you tried cannabis? It’s well-documented that marijuana can fight inflammation and pain, two common allergy symptoms. But how can you best consume cannabis for allergies?
We’ve compiled our three most popular Q&As on consuming cannabis to help control allergies. If you have more questions about how marijuana may help with your hay fever, head over to our Answers page where you can ask a question. A knowledgeable member of our community will point you in the right direction.
Q: I have really bad seasonal allergies and want to use something natural to help.
Could marijuana help? If so, any specific things I should look for?
Answer: @drolson This is a very simple question but it requires a very complex answer. Using high cannabidiol (CBD), low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis regularly twice a day will reduce the inflammatory load in your body over approximately over two and a half to three weeks—but that may not be enough.
Here are a few more suggestions:
Be sure to chew your food thoroughly, so you mix your saliva with your food because your saliva contains the antibody called secretory IgA. Making sure to coat your food in saliva will make your body think the food is part of you and will stop over reacting to it. Eliminate all foods that can promote congestion like milk and cheese. For many people this includes wheat and soy as well because food sensitivities increase the reaction in your body to seasonal allergies.
When you come in from outside during high allergy season, make sure you shower to remove all pollens from your hair, eyebrows, nostrils and skin. Consider changing your pillowcase every night before you go to bed and even consider renting an air filtration system to remove pollens, dust mites and dander from your environment.
There are many natural remedies you can use to reduce your response to pollens and allergens like stinging nettle or ingesting one teaspoon of local, raw honey to act like an immunization against the allergies. Our animals do carry in pollens on their coat so it’s wise to brush your animals before they come in the house.
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters do work to filter the air adequately, so use one to set up a "safe room" in your house where you can spend time and be allergy free.
These are just a few of the simple things you can do to reduce your reaction to allergens. Hopefully I’ve given you enough things to think about and you can start clearing your environment of allergens.
If all these suggestions do not produce adequate resolution you could always consider moving closer to the ocean because the breezes that come off the ocean don’t contain the heavy pollen unload.
Good luck, keep working at this and you will find what works for you. I have 45 years’ experience and lots of tricks up my sleeve to help you if you need further help.
Q: I understand cannabis can be used for asthma. How do I find the right strain?
Answer: @ryan It may be difficult to find the "perfect" strain, but what many new users miss is that most strains are actually very similar in how the cannabinoids affect your wellness. The mental feelings may differ drastically and there is a significant different between sativa and indica, but past that things start to smooth out for many illnesses. This is because many of them are mostly helped by either THC or CBD.
Currently there is not a lot of research on specific strains that help allergies, just a lot of evidence that cannabinoids can help your lungs to open up. Since cannabis has such a low risk for patients, I would recommend vaporizing a hybrid cannabis strain. Try asking your budtender for a nice middle of the road strain that doesn’t cause you anxiety (just in case you’re prone to those types of feelings).
Q: Can cannabis help my allergies?
I’m sick and tired of taking antihistamines.
Answer: @drgerhart Scientists in Germany have discovered that applying THC ointment or solutions to the skin of mice and then exposing them to allergens resulted in decreased inflammation and swelling when compared to non-treated mice.
It appears that activating the CB-1 and CB-2 receptors (the main cannabinoid receptors) reduces the symptoms caused by plants that produce hypersensitivity rashes similar to poison ivy or poison oak.
There’s limited literature available on this topic, but allergy and hypersensitivity to cannabis is rare.
Additionally, Cannabis shares some molecular and other characteristics with antihistamines which we use to treat allergies.
Further study needs to be done before we can say definitively that cannabis helps with allergies, but these initial findings may lead to more work in this area.
Photo credit: Daniel Jensen