Allergies are a serious medical condition that can cause a great deal of stress and discomfort for millions of people. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation says that about 50 million people experience some kind of allergies on a regular basis.
Allergies can be anywhere from mild to severe with symptoms ranging from sneezing and itching eyes to hives and asthma attacks. Sadly, there is no known cure for allergies, and other than medications to mask the symptoms, allergy shots, and lifestyle changes, not much can be done.
CBD (cannabidiol) has gained a lot of traction as a therapeutic cannabinoid, and some people are using CBD for allergies. Can CBD help with allergies? Let’s do a bit of digging into the available science and more.
Can CBD Help with Allergies?
While the necessary research to offer a definite “yes” does not yet exist, the earliest research does show promise that CBD may help with allergies for some people. CBD is definitely not going to be the solution or cure-all for your allergies, but the natural properties of the cannabinoid may help soothe some of your symptoms.
The Current Research On CBD for Allergies
A small animal study in 2006 found that CBD seems to interfere with the release of histamines, which are a major component in why you experience reactions to certain stimuli when you have allergies. For example, keeping histamine release at bay may mean you experience fewer issues like watery eyes or sneezing.
In 2019, researchers published the results of a study looking to determine if CBD could help reduce inflammation in the airways among mice with allergy-related asthma. After inducing an allergic asthma reaction, the mice were treated with CBD. The researchers reported that CBD lowered the inflammatory responsiveness of the airways of the mice, regardless of how much CBD they were given.
Reasons CBD May Work to Help with Allergy Symptoms
To understand why CBD may help with some allergy symptoms, you first have to get a look at why you have allergic reactions in the first place. In the most general terms, an allergic reaction occurs when the immune system detects some sort of threat in your environment. For example, if you come in contact with pollen, your body may see that pollen as a threat.
The perceived threat is counteracted by sending out antibodies in your bloodstream. These antibodies trigger the release of histamine, which directly causes inflammation and a litany of bodily reactions. In return, you may experience symptoms like:
- A runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Skin irritation
- Itchy throat
- Difficulty breathing
While the immune system is only trying to protect your body when you have an allergic reaction, the reaction can be to some everyday irritants impossible to avoid. For example, you may be allergic to dust, pollen, pet dander, food, medication, and more.
Now, let’s take a look at how CBD may help with allergy symptoms.
Anti-Inflammatory Effects of CBD
The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD are relatively well-established, even though the studies are not related to allergies. For example, the cannabinoid may help with certain types of pain or help people dealing with inflammation-based skin problems. Because allergy symptoms have a great deal to do with inflammation, it is easy to speculate CBD could be beneficial.
Immune System Support and Regulation
There is so much we still don’t know about cannabinoids, but researchers have suggested that CBD may help to regulate immune system responses. In a review published in 2020 in the journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, it was noted:
“Overall, the data overwhelmingly support the notion that CBD is immune suppressive and that the mechanisms involve direct suppression of activation of various immune cell types …”
Essentially, science has pointed out that CBD could have a big role to play in mediating some of the functions of the immune system, even though those roles are not clearly understood. Since the immune system is the direct reason you have an allergic reaction, CBD may offer some level of regulation that could help.
Why Some People Are Choosing CBD for Allergies
Even though the research into CBD for allergies is limited and there is a lot yet to be established, a lot of people have started using CBD for allergies. Most are looking for a more natural way to manage the symptoms that come along with allergies because typical medications can come along with undesirable side effects. Some of the most common medications for allergies like loratadine and fexofenadine may offer some relief, but both medications come with a slew of side effects like:
- Stomach pain
- Skin rash
- Irritated, red eyes
- Sore throat
CBD offers a potential way to curb symptoms without major side effects. The general side effects given for CBD in typical dosage amounts are dry mouth, reduced appetite, and possible fatigue. Most people who try CBD don’t experience any side effects at all.
Remember, CBD Is Not an Allergy Cure But May Curb Symptoms
With everything stated, CBD is probably not going to step into your life and eliminate your allergy woes. For example, CBD may not eliminate seasonal allergies so you actually enjoy spring, make it possible for you to own a cat in spite of cat allergies, or otherwise. However, if you are interested in more holistic ways to soothe your symptoms, CBD may be worth a try.
As always, if you are currently taking prescription medications for allergies, be sure to talk to your doctor about your plan to try CBD. CBD may interact adversely with certain medications.
Looking to Try CBD for Allergies?
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