What does research say about using CBD for spring allergies? Before diving into what science has to say, it’s important to first understand how allergies work. The body possesses an immune system to protect us from health threats such as bacteria and viruses. While the immune system is mostly effective at performing its role, it isn’t perfect.
The immune system can sometimes overreact when exposed to seemingly harmless food or environmental particles. Particles of pollen, mold, dander, and dust can be carried through the air to coat surroundings. These particles can exist in greater quantities in the spring when plants start to grow and bloom again and air conditioners kick on to circulate dust that has accumulated over the winter. For reasons unknown, the immune system can render harmless particles like pollen or dust as a threat. In order to combat the threat, the immune system kicks into overdrive in an attempt to purge and eliminate the threat. The misfire of the immune system when allergens pick up in the Spring is what is responsible for symptoms that are referred to as spring allergies. The immune system’s aggressive response to allergens can manifest in many different symptoms (none of them too pleasant). Spring allergies can last two months or more, depending on the weather and environment.
Symptoms of spring allergies include: Runny nose Nasal congestion Headaches Fatigue Wheezing Coughing Itching & dermatitis Rashes & hives Sneezing Watery eyes Swelling. For most individuals, Spring allergies amount to little more than an annoyance. However, those with severe allergies can experience more frightening symptoms such as throat swelling and difficulty breathing. Individuals with asthma may have increased difficulty breathing as a result of allergies, which can be serious and life threatening. Conventional Treatment for Seasonal Spring Allergies. Traditionally, allergies have been treated with over the counter antihistamines and decongestants. Common medications for seasonal allergies include: While over the counter medications can be effective at treating symptoms related to seasonal allergies, they can also come with very nasty and undesirable side effects. Side effects of various antihistamines and decongestants include: Anxiety Burning Stinging Drowsiness Dizziness Nausea Vomiting Restlessness High blood pressure Irritation Rapid heartbeat Confusion Moodiness Blurred vision Dry mouth. The long list of potential side effects related to over the counter medications combined with undesirable results in certain cases have led many individuals to seek alternatives to over the counter medications for spring allergies. Research surrounding CBD is still in its infancy, but studies have found many different benefits from CBD use ranging from stress relief to chronic pain management. Many people have started experimenting with CBD for allergy relief with positive results. One particular consumer on Reddit had the following to report: “What I didn’t expect was for it to completely neutralize my seasonal allergies — which are pretty severe — and, relatedly, my asthma. For once, I can breathe through BOTH my lungs and nostrils during the spring without having to drown myself in cetirizine” Unfortunately, there isn’t yet enough research to confidently proclaim that CBD is an appropriate solution for spring allergies. Nevertheless, there is research to support that CBD can assist with allergies in several different ways. As previously mentioned, allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. CBD has been shown to play a role in helping to regulate the immune system. Histamines are chemicals the immune system produces to help the body get rid of allergens. By reducing histamines, you in turn can potentially reduce allergy symptoms. One particular study conducted in 2005 found that CBD may help prevent your cells from releasing histamines. This could mean less sneezing, wheezing, and other related allergy symptoms. Yet another study conducted in 2005 found that cannabinoids can impair the activation of T-cells. T-cells are a type of white blood cells that increase antibody activation and response. Activated T-cells can lead to an increase in histimanies. Thus, impairing T-cells also assists in reducing allergy symptoms. In studying CBD and the immune system, scientists have also started to study the terpenes present in cannabis. A 2014 study concluded that a specific terpene found in cannabis (alpha-pinene) helped to reduce antibody levels in mice. While more research is certainly needed, there is mounting evidence that CBD’s interaction with the immune system could help to reduce allergy symptoms. In addition to playing a role in balancing the immune system, studies have also found CBD to be a powerful anti-inflammatory. A 2011 study found that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way pain receptors respond to stimuli. A 2017 studyconcluded that CBD significantly reduced acute inflammation in the joints of rats with osteoarthritis.
A 2015 review from the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that CBD reduces inflammation through several pathways in the body and could potentially be an effective treatment for a range of conditions characterized by inflammation. Inflammation is a significant factor in allergic reactions. Allergic inflammation can lead to joint pain or discomfort.
For spring allergies, swelling of the lining of the nose or protective tissue surrounding the eye is common. As a compound with anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may be able to help with inflammation caused by allergic reactions.