CBD (cannabidiol) isn’t a magic cure-all, but several of its fans believe it has helped them deal with their allergies.
Given how spring is fast approaching, we’re excited to see greener landscapes dotted with bursts of colors here and there. Unfortunately, spring also signals the peak of allergy season again.
In the US alone, more than 19 million adults and 5 million children have been diagnosed with allergic rhinitis—better known as hay fever, a type of allergy caused by plant pollen or dust. These stats are even more mind-boggling when you consider the millions of Americans who suffer from various respiratory, skin, or food allergies.
If you belong to any of these groups, you might be looking for natural but effective alternatives to your typical allergy meds. This article will discuss how CBD might be the key to reducing or eliminating your allergy symptoms. However, since CBD is also a potential allergen, we shall also tackle the signs to look out for just in case it turns out you’re allergic to CBD, too.
CBD and Allergies
First off, note that there is no known cure for any type of allergy. However, you may reduce the negative impacts of allergy on your quality of life through proper diet, exercise, certain medications, and of course, avoiding its triggers.
That said, many CBD brands and users think that the interaction of this cannabinoid with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps address the underlying cause for several allergy symptoms.
The objective research studies supporting such a claim are at their preliminary stages at the moment. A 2014 study involving rats demonstrated how full-spectrum CBD could lower the number of allergy symptoms that the animals had experienced. Full-spectrum CBD refers to a type of extract that contains all the natural compounds found in the hemp plant, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Many people shy away from THC because of its psychoactive properties, however.
As you can see, we still need more scientific and clinical studies to determine the full potential of CBD against allergic reactions. Nonetheless, we also value the feedback from actual CBD users who have had first-hand experience of the therapeutic effects of this cannabinoid.
The Big Question
If CBD had worked well for others with the same allergies as you have, should you take it as a guarantee that CBD would be just as effective on you?
Not at all.
We have different sensitivity thresholds to cannabinoids. Some require only a minimal amount to feel its impact on their physical or mental state, while others have to take a high dosage just to reach that state. Therefore, it’s a matter of figuring out how much CBD and which type of CBD product would deliver your expected results.
If you haven’t used CBD before, you might be understandably wary about this trial-and-error approach. However, there is no harm in trying CBD as long as you know what points to look for during this process. These points do not cover only the product type that would be most suitable for you, but also the brand’s trustworthiness.
As a guide, here are the essential things to keep in mind while looking for the ideal CBD product that will help you better manage the symptoms of your allergy:
Your Doctor’s Opinion
Even if you typically experience mild allergic reactions only, we suggest checking in first with your doctor about your intention to use CBD as a relief for your condition. Again, CBD by itself won’t put your health at risk. However, its interaction with other medications you might be taking right now could lead to adverse effects that you could have avoided in the first place.
Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate
As stated earlier, full-spectrum CBD has exhibited a good potential in reducing allergy symptoms. This observation most likely stems from the occurrence of the “entourage effect”, wherein other cannabinoids and chemical compounds naturally found in the hemp plant have enhanced the strength of CBD.
Since not everyone is keen on consuming THC, brands offer products made of broad-spectrum CBD extract as an alternative. Though it does not contain THC, broad-spectrum CBD may also induce the entourage effect—albeit to a lesser degree—especially when it blended well with other popular cannabinoids, such as CBN (cannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol).
Still, some people don’t want to risk getting “high” at all because most broad-spectrum extracts still contain trace amounts of THC. As such, they opt for CBD isolates instead. Though there is no chance of experiencing the entourage effect, choosing CBD isolates may provide you relief from pain or discomfort caused by your allergy.
Type of CBD Product
Most CBD fans who use it for allergies prefer taking it as an oil. A typical CBD oil mainly consists of CBD extract and carrier oil for increased bioavailability. It may be consumed on its own through the sublingual method or added to your food or beverage.
The sublingual method involves placing a few drops of CBD under your tongue to allow the soft tissues there to absorb CBD faster compared to ingesting it right away. The disadvantage of taking this approach is the careful measuring it requires.
Those who don’t want to go through this hassle tend to opt for CBD capsules or edibles. Each piece has a premeasured CBD dosage already, and they can be swallowed or chewed without prep work at all. The caveat, however, is the longer time it would take for the CBD effects to kick in. Comparing the two methods, CBD taken sublingually may provide allergy relief within 15 to 30 minutes, while anything you have to digest will take up to 2 hours.
If you intend to take CBD to address your allergic reactions quickly, we suggest going for CBD oil to get faster results. However, if you want to strengthen your body’s defenses and get a nice energy boost while you’re at it, then the regular intake of CBD capsules or edibles might be a better choice for you.
Transparency of the CBD Brand
We can’t rely on the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to tell us which CBD brand to trust because the federal government hasn’t yet made significant efforts in this regard. However, many CBD brands provide access to the product COAs (certificates of analysis) from third-party testing facilities to prove how potent and safe their respective CBD products are. Be sure to read through the COA to check how updated it is and whether they have tested each product batch.
As we have shared earlier, most of the supporting evidence about the effectiveness of CBD against allergies comes from actual users. Therefore, you should pay attention to the feedback given by customers who have tried the CBD product you wish to purchase before trying it yourself. Take note of any side effects they have felt since CBD may still cause drowsiness, changes in appetite, fatigue, or nausea, among others.
Customer reviews can also be a great way to know a CBD brand better. People usually share their experience with the shipping and handling of their orders and customer support they have received from the brand.
By evaluating a CBD product and brand through these factors, you would have more confidence about your decision to add CBD into your day-to-day routine. Don’t forget to check out the special deals and promos from the brands and other wellness sites to get the most value out of your money as you explore your options.
How to Tell If You’re Allergic to CBD
While CBD has been beneficial for many consumers, some people can’t use it because they are allergic to it. In a 2018 study, the researchers have noted how more individuals with known allergies to plants, mold, or dust mites have developed allergic reactions to the cannabis plant. That’s because these plants also have pollens, which is one of the primary triggers of hay fever.
You can lower this risk by looking for CBD products that have been tested independently for their purity. Reputable CBD brands sell products that do not contain contaminants, including pollens, dirt, and molds. CBD isolates could also reduce the risk because the production process removes all other plant compounds from the final crystalline extract.
Note that an allergy to CBD looks different from its typical side effects. If you feel dizzy or inexplicably exhausted after taking CBD, don’t worry because those are not signs of an allergy. Instead, be on the lookout for the following symptoms of a CBD allergy:
- Dry or itchy eyes
- Hives or rashes on your skin
- Difficulty in breathing
The last sign should cause alarm since that points to a severe allergic reaction. In such cases, seek immediate medical help and stop using that CBD product.
The Bottom Line
We still haven’t found the cure for allergies, but more ways to better manage its symptoms are available today. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD promise to help address the root cause of our allergic reactions. Still, we need more scientific research to understand the relationship between the two.
Finding the right CBD brand that will best match your allergy-related needs can be done through careful research and examination of the available options in the market. By doing so, you can prevent wasting your money on CBD products that don’t work as promised—or they cause you to develop an allergic reaction to CBD.
Given what you have learned in this article, are you interested in trying CBD for your allergy? Which type of CBD product do you think would work well considering your needs and preferences?