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Humans commonly experience allergic reactions to many kinds of plant pollen. However, only male cannabis plants produce pollen, whereas female plants are more widely used for oil and cannabinoid production. Large-scale industrial hemp fields may include a variety of mature males (pollen) as well as fertilized females (oil and seeds).

The impact of hemp pollen on everyday consumers, as well as the communities that work and live near these production facilities, has not been studied. People can also develop allergies to some of the terpenes found in cannabis. For instance, researchers from the Duke University School of Medicine found that about 20% of the 100 people they tested had an allergic skin reaction to linalool, whereas 8% had reactions to limonene. These kinds of contact allergies may not be common in the general population, but individuals who are employed in the production of cannabis products and CBD oil could be more at risk. In addition to the skin, the lungs are another target for allergic reactions to terpenes. Assessing the risk is somewhat complicated because some terpenes are irritants, whereas others, such as eucalyptol, may actually provide a protective, anti-inflammatory role and might help to control inflammatory diseases like asthma and COPD. Gordon Sussman, an allergist in Canada and professor at the University of Toronto, said there is very little published research on CBD oil allergies. “But we know that cannabis sativa is an allergen and we know that it's a common allergen.” Humans commonly experience allergic reactions to many kinds of plant pollen. Most cannabis products, including CBD oil, are made using female cannabis plants. He said that cannabis allergies, like other forms of allergies, can worsen as exposure to the allergen continues.

Most people with cannabis allergies suffer from a runny and stuffy nose (rhinitis), eye irritation (conjunctivitis), and sometimes wheezing, Sussman explained. But there have been cases of more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis, which have primarily resulted from ingestion of hemp seeds. According to a letter entitled “Marijuana and stoned fruit,” written by medical doctors from the University of California, San Diego, and published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology on Feb. 2, 2018, a 24-year-old man who smoked marijuana daily visited their allergy clinic two weeks following an anaphylactic reaction after eating yogurt with hemp seeds. Immediately after consumption, he developed oral pruritus [itching] that progressed to shortness of breath, facial swelling, and pre-syncope [sensation prior to fainting],” the letter stated. Those with food allergies may also be susceptible to cross-reactivity. “You can have a cross-reaction with certain foods that share certain antigens, certain components, with the cannabis plant itself,” Silvers said. Such foods may include tomatoes and stone fruits containing pits such as peaches, he said. It's a similar cross-reactivity to what is seen in people with ragweed allergies who might experience symptoms such as itchy mouth if they eat fruit in the melon family, he added. “The same thing goes with cannabis and tomatoes and peaches and almonds and a number of other foods … eggplant, grapefruit, apples,” Silvers said. There is no clinical evidence CBD oil can help allergies. A 2013 study from the “Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology” tested 21 patients with food allergies for reactivity to cannabis lipid transfer proteins (LTPs), which are probable allergens. Twelve of the 21 test subjects were allergic to cannabis, and all 12 had more severe reactions to food allergy than those without a cannabis allergy. A 2008 study, also from “Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology,” tested 32 subjects for an allergic reaction to cannabis LTPs, as well as tomato, peach peel, and pollen extracts. The study found that all test subjects sensitive to tomato allergens were also sensitive to cannabis. There was also cross-reactivity noted with peach peel. Silvers said that the type of allergic reaction depends on the type of exposure. In addition to cannabis pollen allergies and food-based allergies, skin allergies are also a possibility. “Touching the plant can very easily develop a dermatitis, itching, and skin reactions,” he said. While there isn't much research supporting the idea that CBD oil can help the discomfort associated with common allergy symptoms, there is some research related to its general effects on inflammation, which is part of the body's allergic reaction process. A 2011 research report published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine examined the potential role of CBD in various inflammatory-type conditions. Booz, a professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, concluded in the report: “Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases.

Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress 'feed off' each other.

However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further drug development given its antioxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells … .” According to Silvers, there is no clinical evidence CBD oil can help allergies and, while experimental laboratory research suggesting anti-inflammatory effects exists, there's no clinical patient substantiation. Great question and the vast majority of CBD brands might be making the problem worse. By vast majority, we're estimating in the 90 percentile! Of course, mast cells figure right into this nonsense.

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