Can cannabis help with pollen allergies?

Over 100 million people in the United States and Canada struggle with seasonal allergies. When spring begins and flowers and plants bloom, noses begin their annual run. In 2021, more than $13.4 billion was spent on people seeking relief from runny noses and sneezes. Typical symptoms include nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose and throat, runny nose and eyes, and post-nasal drip. But can cannabis help against pollen allergies? It kind of depends.

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While pollen is generally a problem when it's warm, it can happen from spring through fall. For many, this means tree pollen starting in February, followed by grass pollen and ragweed later in the summer and fall. Although further research can be conducted, marijuana may be helpful for a portion of those affected.

Marijuana is considered anti-inflammatory and it appears that marijuana can reduce histamine levels in the body. This suppresses the immune system's allergic reaction to pollen and other allergens. By reducing inflammation, marijuana can potentially open the airways and provide relief, similar to over-the-counter allergy medications, but without some of the side effects. Additionally, for some, it can be a sleep aid to overcome insomnia/fatigue disorder.

However, it is important to note that marijuana itself can also act as an allergen in some people. The pollen-rich cannabis plant can trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, resulting in symptoms such as stuffy eyes, watery eyes and itchy nose. There is also a risk of cross-reactivity, where people who are allergic to things like trees, weeds, or latex can react to hemp or cannabis products. If you're planning on trying cannabis as a tool, consider gummy bears as a way to consume the distilled plant.

For those looking into marijuana, you should pay attention to the actual benefits you may receive. Although it provides relief for some, marijuana is not a one-size-fits-all solution to seasonal allergies. As with any new treatment, it is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine the best approach.

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