CBD for Allergies: Does it Help? Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), roughly 50 million Americans experience allergies each year. Perhaps even more surprising is that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness.
With that in mind, is it at all surprising that the pharmaceutical industry makes a killing through prescription and over-the-counter allergy medications? Unfortunately, there’s no magical cure for allergies. Some get them, and some dodge the genetic bullet. But if you deal with issues like allergic rhinitis (hay fever); or experience sensitivities to foods, drinks, or topical products, allergy symptoms can quickly ruin your day.
CBD for allergies isn’t a novel idea, but it hasn’t received a lot of mainstream attention. Then again, the key to CBD’s anti-allergic benefits (if any) may lie in its other effects.
But can CBD products prevent allergy symptoms from seasonal allergies, contact allergies, certain foods, or other triggers?
Existing evidence suggests it’s indirectly possible.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which means it’s a cannabis Sativa constituent found outside the body – specifically in the plant species of the same name.
However, we also produce internal varieties of these compounds called “endocannabinoids.” These play a crucial role in maintaining mental and physical homeostasis – a critical state of equilibrium.
We wouldn’t access these essential benefits and functions without the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors, located primarily in the central and peripheral systems, respectively. These are the driving forces behind our endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Some cannabinoids bind to both the CB1 and CB2 (like THC), while others only interact with one. In some cases, certain phytocannabinoids don’t attach to either; CBD is one of them.
Instead, CBD works through other pathways, eventually altering the shape of the endocannabinoid receptors and, in turn, the way they respond to cannabinoids. This effect allows CBD to modify or even block the effects of other cannabinoids.
What Are The Benefits of CBD That May Help with Allergies?
Evidence for CBD’s therapeutic value continues to mount. “Hemp” or “marijuana” derived CBD products have a long list of alleged health effects.
While we’re still separating fact from fiction, increased interest in CBD and cannabinoid medicine found unveiled some potentially good news for allergy sufferers everywhere.
Although it’s uncertain whether CBD targets allergies, many allergic reactions trigger symptoms that CBD is strongly believed to address.
There is a lot of evidence that suggests CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties. Many people believe it helps reduce swelling from chronic illnesses, like arthritis, or injuries, such as sprains.
Allergy symptoms vary, but skin irritations are often the result of seasonal allergies or other sensitivities.
People exposed to allergens may experience rashes, hives, swollen faces, or puffy eyes. But is CBD effective on allergic reactions like these? Research suggests it’s possible, especially since CBD’s anti-inflammatory benefits have strong (but not conclusive) scientific support.
A 2018 review in the Journal of Pain Research showed CBD reduced inflammation associated with chronic pain. Admittedly, research doesn’t focus on CBD’s anti-inflammatory impact on allergic reactions. But if CBD products help reduce inflammation from chronic pain, allergic reactions may see similar anti-inflammatory results.
Some allergic reactions can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Certain foods, like milk, can spell big trouble for anyone lactose intolerant. Nausea, vomiting, and gas are just a few of the symptoms caused by food sensitivity. And that doesn’t count a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Every human being knows how unpleasant gut issues can be, whether they’re allergic or not.
If you have food allergies or other sensitivities, there’s a notable about of information suggesting CBD’s many benefits to gut health.
The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation points out CBD’s beneficial effects on gastrointestinal health. They mention preliminary evidence that CBD can help with colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Both of these are ultimately the result of inflammation in the intestines.
More importantly, inflammation is a typical immune response that affects the intestines in the same way. So, if the inflammatory responses triggered by IBS and colitis could respond well to CBD, could we see the same effect for allergies? Again, that’s a big “maybe,” but a promising one.
Immune System Balance
Allergic reactions are excessive immune responses to something benign that your body perceives as hostile. This immune reaction is the driving force behind inflammation, gastrointestinal problems, and other unpleasant symptoms.
If CBD’s effects can curb the immune reaction, it may help people experience fewer allergy symptoms. There’s strong evidence of CBD’s involvement with our body’s internal defense system.
A 2015 publication in the Journal of Immunology discovered that CBD and THC might both help suppress the immune response that triggers an allergic reaction, making them useful against an overactive immune system.
CBD for Allergies: Does CBD Oil Help with Allergies?
CBD oil may help reduce allergy symptoms incidentally due to its potential therapeutic effects, precisely thanks to its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. Most experiments involve ingestible CBD, which strengthens the case for oral CBD products like oil.
Mild symptoms from hay fever aren’t dangerous, but a severe allergic reaction isn’t appropriate for CBD. If you experience anaphylaxis or any other strong immune system response, immediately seek medical attention.
Studies on CBD and allergies have been promising and alarming, depending on the condition. A 2020 review of existing literature published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology explains that “Several studies have demonstrated the participation of the ECS in the development and maintenance of allergic diseases, but the data related to the actual role of cannabinoids in allergy are still controversial.”
However, they also note, “In contrast, other studies have shown that CBR-2 (CB2)-mediated signalling contributes to the exacerbation of asthma.”
So, on the one hand, CBD could help relieve some allergy symptoms but might be dangerous for others. This unpredictability is why you have to be very careful when experimenting with supplements.
How Does CBD Compare to Other Allergy Treatments?
CBD (as far as we know) doesn’t block histamine to relieve allergy symptoms. It’s not comparable to Benadryl (diphenhydramine) or Claritin (loratadine).
From what people say about CBD, the side effects (if any) are much less severe than some OTC drugs. Benadryl, for instance, is notorious for its sedative properties. While CBD allegedly triggers relaxation, it won’t put you to sleep in the middle of the day.
Is CBD as effective as OTC allergy medication? That’s a question experts still can’t answer.
Is It Safe to Try CBD for Allergies?
CBD is considered relatively safe, with no potential for abuse or addiction. However, there could be issues if you use certain prescription medications. Don’t try CBD oil before speaking with your doctor.
What CBD the is Best for Allergies?
Let’s assume a future hard-hitting peer-reviewed study proves CBD works for allergies and ends up on drug store shelves. What kind of products would they be, and what would the instructions say?
The CBD products will likely be just like other allergy medications, available in oral or topical formats.
Broad-spectrum CBD would be the best option since it carries a variety of other compounds that can contribute to the overall effect without THC (although topical THC won’t cause intoxication).
Properly cultivated, extracted, and tested CBD is the best choice. The trick is how to spot it.
Third-Party Lab Reports
Third-party lab reports are a must-have for any CBD vendor worth its salt. If they don’t test their products, it’s a sign of laziness. And if they’re too lazy to test their products, odds are they cut corners in other, potentially dangerous ways.
Certificate of Analysis
A certificate of analysis is the most reliable way to confirm the quality of your CBD. It verifies that the product was tested (potentially several times). COAs contain crucial information like ingredients, contaminant levels, and cannabinoid content.
The reports should be easy to read and contain all the information necessary to make the correct purchase. For an excellent example, check out these lab reports from Colorado Botanicals.
But don’t assume all reports are accurate. Some companies fake their results. To verify authenticity, look for the following red flags:
- Lab tests are done in-house
- Testing company isn’t listed on the paper
- Missing information (i.e., contaminants, THC, terpenes)
- Sloppy presentation (different fonts, misaligned letters, faded images, etc.)
Would you go to a car dealership that won’t say anything about the models they sell? We hope not! So it’s fair to say the same logic applies to anything you buy, including CBD products.
Trust your instinct. If a company seems shady, it likely is. Here are a few things to look for:
- Are the ingredients listed?
- Do they mention their hemp source?
- Is the vendor’s customer care accessible and helpful?
- Is the Certificate of Analysis (COA) posted and accessible?
- What (if any) guarantee do they offer?
Businesses understand that reputation can make or break them. A brand may seem reputable, but sometimes their internal practices don’t reflect their big words and fancy labels. However, if something’s rotten inside, it eventually shows on the outside. Sloppy procedures can have disastrous results for customers.
Unfortunately, many review sites are biased, often exaggerating a product’s benefits while downplaying or excluding severe pain points. See what independent reviews tell you before buying CBD oil, softgels, or other products. Try sites like Reddit or Trustpilot, where you find experiences from genuine customers.
Odds are, you’ll see a plethora of opinions covering products, customer service, shipping, and more. There will always be unhappy clients, so don’t let a few bad reviews sway you. Instead, see what those reviews tell you and check if the good opinions substantially outweigh the bad.
Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil?
To date, we don’t know if CBD itself causes allergic reactions. However, the cannabis plant – like many plants and plant products – may cause mild allergic reactions. These include spring allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and coughing.
Cannabis might also cause skin irritations, like rashes or hives. It could potentially trigger anaphylaxis as well. This is because terpenes in common plants cause some allergies.
Unfortunately, we have little to go on at the moment. A single small 2018 study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence noted that people who have allergies to multiple allergens like animal dander, dust mites, pollen, fruits, or vegetables are more likely to experience adverse reactions.
However, we need a lot more research to determine the validity of those findings.
How Much CBD to Take for Allergies?
Aside from the FDA-approved epilepsy drug Epidiolex, there are no dosing guidelines for CBD products.
The golden rule for dosing cannabis is “start low and go slow.” Start with a low dose and work your way up. We suggest this CBD dosage calculator if you’re at a loss for where to begin.
How Long Does CBD Oil Help with Allergies?
As we mentioned earlier, CBD oil (or any ingestible CBD) can remain effective for up to eight hours. However, over time, you may notice the effects waning. This is a sign you’ve built a tolerance to CBD, which will likely require a gradual dosage increase.
Summary: CBD Oil and Allergies
CBD oil for allergies is a unique concept. The cannabinoid’s immune system suppression and anti-inflammatory properties are well-documented but primarily anecdotal evidence.
Still, people might use CBD oils as alternatives to over-the-counter or prescription drug administration. Although CBD for allergies may seem like a good idea, cannabis plant medicine has a long way to go. Don’t try CBD without talking to a medical professional.
CBD Oil for Allergies
CBD or cannabidiol is being researched for a range of different uses, which include everything from anxiety-induced conditions to neurological disorders. Beyond CBD’s potential for offering relief for severe issues, it is also best known for being used as aids for smaller health concerns like increasing happiness, eradicating stress, improving mood, decreasing inflammation, and relieving insomnia. What’s more, CBD can also help people deal with those nagging seasonal allergies that refuse to go away.
10 Best CBD Oil for Allergies in 2022
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Have you ever dealt with allergies? If so, you would know how difficult allergies can make your life. It can make your eyes watery and itchy, and that uncontrollable runny nose, coughing, or constant sneezing can truly make life difficult. Fortunately, CBD might be able to help you with that.
Let us take an in-depth look into how you can use CBD for allergies.
Causes of allergies
Some of the common environmental allergens are:
- Dust mites and pet dander;
- Mold and pollen;
- Cigarette smoke;
- Certain proteins in food.
In most cases, the symptoms deteriorate during certain seasons like spring. During spring, trees and flowers start to produce pollen when they’re blooming and these are termed seasonal allergies.
Another type of allergy that people experience is associated with food. Some people experience allergic reactions to certain types of food. In this case, the body’s immune system recognizes neutral proteins as enemies and makes an attempt to fight them. Quite similar to seasonal allergies, the symptoms may include coughing, inflammation, redness, and itching.
Symptoms of allergies
A hyperactive immune system starts to release various chemicals like histamine and other compounds. These compounds trigger the allergy symptoms that are experienced by most people. The symptoms of allergies are:
- Coughing and sneezing;
- Nasal congestion and runny nose.
People with asthma require medical attention as allergy symptoms lead to worsening their breathing. Also, food allergies can be quite deadly as it can send your body to anaphylactic shock. If immediate help is not received, a person may suffocate and it can be fatal.
Severe allergies can be fatal. It can also make many chronic conditions more severe for the sufferer, such as eczema, COPD, rhinitis, asthma, and autoimmune disease. While there are quite a few over-the-counter medications available on the market for common allergies, research suggests that CBD for allergies is a much safer and more effective option.
More choices available
How Does CBD Oil Help With Allergies?
The body is encouraged to produce more cannabinoids by CBD oil. Also, CBD helps the body in maintaining optimal levels of cannabinoids. These cannabinoids help in influencing an extensive range of biological functions including the body’s immune response.
CBD oil can help your body deal with allergies in the following ways:
- CBD oil helps to strengthen the immune system – Allergic reactions are not something that happens out of the blue. They typically develop after your immune system has been exposed to allergens for several months or years. If your immune system is healthy, you are less likely to act out to eradicate the falsely detected enemies or irritants. When you take CBD oil for allergies, you are stimulating the endocannabinoid system in your body to enhance the functioning of your immune system. CBD is capable of interacting with the immune cells in your body through the cannabinoid receptors and this will result in strengthening your immune system.
- CBD is an antimicrobial agent – Are you prone to infections? If so, you might be living in an environment that is filled with allergens. Terpenes and CBD in full-spectrum CBD oil are well-known for having antimicrobial properties, and therefore, CBD oil can be used to combat allergies and prevent allergic reactions. This is particularly possible because CBD oil helps in aiding your body in fighting off the infection instead of simply attempting to get rid of falsely identified enemies.
- CBD oil has amazing anti-inflammatory properties – Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD oil is widely popular. The main cause of allergy is inflammation and this contributes to aches, puffiness, and soreness that you might be experiencing during allergy season. CBD for allergies address inflammation and this results in reducing discomfort.
- CBD helps in reducing stress – Both seasonal and food allergies can be quite annoying. It can be mentally and physically stressful. If your body or mind is under an increased amount of stress, your allergy symptoms can worsen. Marijuana helps allergies by reducing your stress.
If you were wondering can CBD help with allergies, this is how it can help you. To know more, check out our reviews and also find a list of the top 10 CBD oil that you can use for allergies.
CBD For Seasonal and Food Allergies
Take a look at how CBD oil helps with different types of allergies.
A lot of people are using CBD for seasonal allergies because CBD helps in eliminating the side-effects of allergies caused due to seasonal allergens. Full-spectrum CBD oil is known to reduce pressure in the nasal cavities by opening up sinuses. It helps to prevent congestion. Inflammation in the sinuses and throats is caused due to seasonal allergies and it might make it difficult for you to talk, drink, eat, and breathe without irritation. As per studies, taking CBD oil might help in reducing the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Food allergies can be avoided if you stop consuming the items that cause an allergic reaction. But, if you accidentally happen to consume the food items that you are allergic to, you might experience hives, tingling in the mouth, and swelling of the lips. You may even experience itching and shortness of breath. However, you mustn’t take food allergies lightly because it might lead to anaphylaxis. This is a condition that is life-threatening and it can rapidly progress. If you do experience anaphylaxis, you will require immediate medical attention.
However, for regular food allergic reactions like inflammation, swelling in the throat, itching, and headaches, you can use CBD oil for food allergies. Since CBD oil has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, it can tackle your allergic symptoms and also promote a healthier immune system. Moreover, CBD helps to mitigate pain signals and also reduces physical discomfort.
How to Use CBD Oil?
If you are thinking of trying out the cannabis allergy treatment, including CBD oil as a part of your daily self-care routine. There are a few different forms of CBD that you can use to combat allergies.
- CBD oil – This is the most versatile and common way of consuming CBD. It contains hemp extract that is suspended in a carrier oil for higher absorption and easier dosing. You can use a dropper to draw out your preferred amount of CBD oil and place it under your tongue for about 1 minute before swallowing.
- CBD capsules – If you do not like the flavor of CBD oil, you can try CBD capsules. These capsules contain a pre-meditated CBD dosage per serving. CBD oil capsules can be taken anywhere and there’s no hassle of measuring the dose. – Gummies and other CBD products are becoming extremely popular because they’re easy to consume and are available in myriad flavors. These edibles come in various sizes, shapes, flavors, and formulas. – If you need fast relief from your allergies, vaping CBD would be up your alley. Simply load your vape pen with CBD e-liquid and puff it when you need it.
- CBD topicals – CBD topicals are good for treating visible symptoms of allergies like swelling, redness, and skin irritation. You have to apply it directly onto the affected body part and gently massage it so that it is quickly absorbed in your skin.
If you want to use CBD for your allergies, you are recommended to use it as a part of your daily routine. Think of CBD oil as a preventive measure because this isn’t a cure for your allergies. It can only help to alleviate the symptoms of your allergies and provide you relief.
As for the recommended CBD dosage, you need to start slow. See how your body reacts to CBD and you can increase the dosage accordingly.
So, now that you have an understanding of how you can use CBD for your allergies, it is important to remember that CBD oil is not a cure. CBD helps in reducing or may even prevent the symptoms that are associated with allergies. As the available information regarding the use of CBD for allergies is still scarce, we recommend that you consult a healthcare professional before you start consuming CBD oil. This is particularly needed if you are already taking supplements or some kind of medication for allergies or other health conditions.
Take a look at our top 10 list of the best CBD oil for allergies and choose the one that is right for you.