For those who experience frequent bouts of hives (clinically known as urticaria), the discomfort can be next level. Read on to learn more about how cannabis can help with urticaria.
Pretty much everyone has had hives at some point in their lives. Whether you brush up against something your skin doesn’t like or you eat something that causes the reaction, the appearance of red, raised and itchy welts is not a welcome sight. For some people, hives—which are clinically called urticaria—are a regular occurrence related to an underlying health condition. The good news is, cannabis may be able to help. Keep scrolling to learn more.
What is Urticaria and Why Does It Happen?
Urticaria occurs because of a release of histamines in response to an allergen or trigger. This reaction causes blood vessels to leak fluid into the surrounding tissues. Acute urticaria that happens in relation to a specific trigger (foods, medications, insect stings, etc.) usually lasts for a few hours to a few days. Chronic urticaria can last for more than six weeks; this type can be difficult to diagnose and manage.
Many people confuse urticaria for bites or a contact rash when the telltale welts appear. But urticaria has an interesting characteristic—it tends to morph and move, varying in size and shape. You may have a patch of hives on your shoulder at one point, only to find that it has moved or appeared on another area of your body a little while later. A bite or a different type of rash is more likely to remain static, or to expand out from a visible centre.
Can Urticaria Be Dangerous?
If urticaria is accompanied by other allergic symptoms, including swelling and breathing difficulties, the situation may become more of an emergency. In the case of escalating symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
How is Urticaria Treated?
You can help to alleviate a bout of hives by taking an antihistamine, which essentially blocks the action of histamine in the body (go figure—the name says it all). If you know (or even suspect) the trigger, it goes without saying that you should cease all exposure to whatever has caused the histamine response. Chronic urticaria is often idiopathic, which means there isn’t always a clear reason for its appearance. It can be a bit of a guessing game for physicians to figure it out.
Regardless of the type of hives you’re navigating, the discomfort is likely your immediate concern. Try taking a cool bath or shower to get some relief. You can also use ice packs to ease the itch. Wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing as well, as tighter items may cause the hives to crop up where the clothes touch your body.
How Cannabis Can Help with Urticaria
The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of cannabis can aid in the treatment of urticaria. Those experience a flare-up of hives can try a topical preparation, or they can consider a whole-plant extract in tincture form.
For those with chronic urticaria, taking CBD regularly may be worth a try. The hives may be related to an autoimmune issue, and CBD has been proven to support immune system function. It suppresses immune system memory and slows down T-cell production, helping to reduce future autoimmune-related episodes.
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