Marijuana Allergy: Fact or Fiction?
Since the 1970’s doctors have been investigating allergic reactions caused as a result of handling or smoking marijuana. In 1971, Dr. Barry Liskow, Dr. Jay Liss, and Dr. Charles Parker reported that “A 29-year-old housewife had symptoms consistent with an anaphylactoid response after smoking a marihuana cigarette for the first time. Scratch testing and passive transfer studies confirmed an immunologic basis for her response and indicated that it was related to the cannabinoid and perhaps specifically to the tetrahydrocannabinol component of the marihuana plant.” Evidence Here Over the years, allergic reactions to marijuana have not been researched as thoroughly as other allergies due to marijuana’s illicit status in many countries globally as well as within many jurisdictions within the United States. One of the most recent studies conducted in 2007 and published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, concluded that marijuana allergy in and of itself is quite rare. However, further medical and scientific research will likely need to be conducted in order to fully understand people’s reactions to marijuana, not only allergic reactions but the beneficial reactions experienced by medical marijuana patients. For now, it is believed that people who suffer from allergies to the Nettle family of plants including Elm trees are more likely to be susceptible to allergic reactions from coming into contact with or consuming marijuana in different forms. This is of course because marijuana itself is within the Nettle family of plants. In case you don’t believe us. One way to spot a marijuana allergy could be the time of year that it occurs, marijuana pollen is not detected in many areas before mid-July, most years it peaks in mid-August, and it is unlikely to be detected after mid-September. It’s the truth. The allergic reaction is caused by marijuana pollen and not necessarily the marijuana plant itself, as is the case with many allergies. As far as marijuana is concerned, the pollen is only produced by male plants. A female plant that has not been exposed to pollen will not produce seeds, so many growers will kill off male plants when they are discovered or will choose to only grow feminized seeds. However, some growers use pollen to get seeds for future grows, we recommend cloning (Check out our article on cloning) as it saves time and allows you to avoid having to separate male and female plants halfway through a grow. But, back to the whole allergy thing. If you experience the following symptoms after coming into contact with, but not smoking, marijuana, you may be allergic:
• Itchy skin
• Redness where exposed
• rash or hives
• dry, scaly skin
While, experiencing the following symptoms after smoking marijuana may also suggest an allergy:
• itchy, runny nose
• sore throat
• itchy, watery eyes (Note: this could just be a sign you’re high.)
• difficulty breathing (i.e. asthma)
Ultimately, if this is something you are concerned about, the best person to speak with would be your doctor. If you are using marijuana medicinally and were prescribed marijuana this may be an easier conversation than for someone who is using marijuana recreationally. Also, if you got to high and just think you are allergic you probably aren’t, stop being a hypochondriac, close WebMD, and find something to eat. It is important to remember that no one in recorded history has ever died as a result of a marijuana overdose or allergy, and most Marijuana Mythbusters know this already. Check out the poll. If you are one of the unfortunate souls who is allergic to marijuana our hearts go out to you, let us know and we will smoke twice as much just for you (not to rub it in or anything).