CBD For Allergies
Does CBD Help With Allergies & Seasonal Allergies?
As the weather gets warmer and days grow longer, there’s much to be excited about. Spring brings about the blooming of flowers, the return of chirping birds, and the glow of the sun. However, the return of spring also means the return of seasonal allergies for many individuals.
Spring allergies affect quite a large portion of the global population. It’s estimated that 10-30% of the world population suffers from seasonal allergies. The severity of seasonal allergies can range from a slight annoyance to a life threatening condition. Experiences differ from person to person, but there is almost unanimous agreement that current over the counter medications for seasonal allergies aren’t ideal.
There is a lot CBD can do and new discoveries are frequently made as researchers continue to learn more about the cannabis compound. What does research say about using CBD for spring allergies? Can CBD help with allergy symptoms? Before diving into what science has to say, it’s important to first understand how allergies work.
What Causes Allergies?
The body possesses an immune system to protect us from health threats such as bacteria and viruses. While the immune system is mostly effective at performing its role, it isn’t perfect. The immune system can sometimes overreact when exposed to seemingly harmless food or environmental particles.
Particles of pollen, mold, dander, and dust can be carried through the air to coat surroundings. These particles can exist in greater quantities in the spring when plants start to grow and bloom again and air conditioners kick on to circulate dust that has accumulated over the winter. For reasons unknown, the immune system can render harmless particles like pollen or dust as a threat. In order to combat the threat, the immune system kicks into overdrive in an attempt to purge and eliminate the threat.
The misfire of the immune system when allergens pick up in the Spring is what is responsible for symptoms that are referred to as spring allergies.
Symptoms of Environmental Spring Allergies
The immune system’s aggressive response to allergens can manifest in many different symptoms (none of them too pleasant). Spring allergies can last two months or more, depending on the weather and environment. Symptoms of spring allergies include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itching & dermatitis
- Rashes & hives
- Watery eyes
For most individuals, Spring allergies amount to little more than an annoyance. However, those with severe allergies can experience more frightening symptoms such as throat swelling and difficulty breathing. Individuals with asthma may have increased difficulty breathing as a result of allergies, which can be serious and life threatening.
Conventional Treatment for Seasonal Spring Allergies
Traditionally, allergies have been treated with over the counter antihistamines and decongestants. Common medications for seasonal allergies include:
While over the counter medications can be effective at treating symptoms related to seasonal allergies, they can also come with very nasty and undesirable side effects. Side effects of various antihistamines and decongestants include:
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
The long list of potential side effects related to over the counter medications combined with undesirable results in certain cases have led many individuals to seek alternatives to over the counter medications for spring allergies.
Can CBD Help Fight Allergies?
Research surrounding CBD is still in its infancy, but studies have found many different benefits from CBD use ranging from stress relief to chronic pain management. Can CBD do anything for allergies? Many people have started experimenting with CBD for allergy relief with positive results. One particular consumer on Reddit had the following to report:
“What I didn’t expect was for it to completely neutralize my seasonal allergies — which are pretty severe — and, relatedly, my asthma. For once, I can breathe through BOTH my lungs and nostrils during the spring without having to drown myself in cetirizine”
Unfortunately, there isn’t yet enough research to confidently proclaim that CBD is an appropriate solution for spring allergies. Nevertheless, there is research to support that CBD can assist with allergies in several different ways.
CBD & The Immune System
As previously mentioned, allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. CBD has been shown to play a role in helping to regulate the immune system. Histamines are chemicals the immune system produces to help the body get rid of allergens. By reducing histamines, you in turn can potentially reduce allergy symptoms.
One particular study conducted in 2005 found that CBD may help prevent your cells from releasing histamines. This could mean less sneezing, wheezing, and other related allergy symptoms.
Yet another study conducted in 2005 found that cannabinoids can impair the activation of T-cells. T-cells are a type of white blood cells that increase antibody activation and response. Activated T-cells can lead to an increase in histamines. Thus, impairing T-cells also assists in reducing allergy symptoms.
In studying CBD and the immune system, scientists have also started to study the terpenes present in cannabis. A 2014 study concluded that a specific terpene found in cannabis (alpha-pinene) helped to reduce antibody levels in mice.
While more research is certainly needed, there is mounting evidence that CBD’s interaction with the immune system could help to reduce allergy symptoms.
CBD As An Anti-Inflammatory
In addition to playing a role in balancing the immune system, studies have also found CBD to be a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- A 2011 study found that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way pain receptors respond to stimuli.
- A 2017 studyconcluded that CBD significantly reduced acute inflammation in the joints of rats with osteoarthritis.
- A 2015 review from the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that CBD reduces inflammation through several pathways in the body and could potentially be an effective treatment for a range of conditions characterized by inflammation.
Inflammation is a significant factor in allergic reactions. Allergic inflammation can lead to joint pain or discomfort. For spring allergies, swelling of the lining of the nose or protective tissue surrounding the eye is common. As a compound with anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may be able to help with inflammation caused by allergic reactions.
Therefore, while CBD may not necessarily be a treatment for allergies, there is scientific evidence that it could help with allergy symptoms.
CBD Is Not A Cure For Allergies
It’s important to understand that there is a clear distinction between curing allergies and easing allergy symptoms. CBD will not cure or eliminate your allergies entirely. CBD may help alleviate some of your allergy symptoms. If you’re thinking about trying CBD for your allergy symptoms, it’s best to first consult your doctor. Replacing allergy medication with CBD is not advised without medical supervision as severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
Interested In Trying CBD For Your Spring Allergies?
Green Wellness Life is exclusively dedicated to selling CBD products that are independently lab tested, safe, affordable, and designed to promote optimal human health. You can browse our CBD shop to find the products that may be right for you.
We are not medical professionals and we cannot diagnose or treat any medical conditions. We can point you to products we feel may be the best fit for you or answer any questions you may have about CBD or individual products. We take great care to provide as much information as possible on the latest studies and reviews so that you can make informed decisions. Contact us by submitting a contact form or calling (888) 772-7875 to speak with one of our CBD product experts.
About Hannah Laing
Hannah has been working in the hemp industry and at Green Wellness Life for nearly 3 years. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2017 and received a second Fibromyalgia diagnosis in late 2018. She is the third generation in her family to struggle with managing Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis, with both of her parents being disabled. Not many humans are as well acquainted with the sustained difficulty of managing chronic illnesses, especially at such a young age.
The Grand Valley State University student is currently studying health communications and is dedicated to educating and promoting health and wellness. She has attended 3 different universities and studied across the country medicine, journalism, and is almost done earning a bachelor of science degree. She has been a published author since 2011 for both her poetry and many op-ed pieces. Moreover, she worked as a TEDx event organizer for 2 years, was a Future Problem Solvers coach for 2 years, and has first hand experience shadowing both physical therapists and chiropractors.
CBD means allergy relief without the foggy side effects of over-the-counter meds.
More people are turning to CBD for relief of their allergy symptoms to avoid the drowsiness that often results from using over-the-counter products.
What causes allergies?
Allergies result because your body has made a mistake. The mast cells in your immune system have confused harmless proteins, such as pollen or pet dander, with more infectious invaders. Mast cells are a part of your body’s white blood cells or the immune system. Mast cells have histamine and other inflammatory chemical agents or antibodies. When stimulated by allergens, mast cells release histamines and other inflammatory agents into the bloodstream.
Histamines cause swelling of your nasal tissues, also accounting for a runny nose and watery eyes. You may also experience itching. Occasionally, you can develop hives.
Inflammation plays an essential role in your immune system’s response to potential invaders. It’s also a significant factor in the severity of your allergy symptoms.
Antihistamines and their side effects
Any drug or compound used to reduce or suppress the physical effects of histamines is an antihistamine. The most common antihistamine medications are over-the-counter brands, such as Benadryl, Tavist, Claritin, and Allegra. There are also more potent prescription drugs your doctor may prescribe: Optivar, Clarinex, Atarax, and others.
Many antihistamines have some unpleasant, though mild, side effects. Drowsiness is often the biggest problem, but side effects can also include dizziness, nausea, and dry mouth. In other cases, antihistamines react with other medications you may be taking.
All good reasons for trying CBD for your allergies.
Can you use CBD oil as an antihistamine?
Although CBD isn’t a true antihistamine, many people have had good results using it to treat their allergy symptoms. Research has shown that CBD, found in hemp and in cannabis, may help prevent mast cells from releasing histamines into the bloodstream.
CBD also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which help relieve the inflammatory effects of your body’s histamine response to allergens. Working through your body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD calms the body’s inflammatory response. Research into CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties has shown those properties are distributed through the ECS, decreasing inflammation.
A review published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care showed that the evidence to date supports the notion that the ECS plays an important role in regulating inflammation.
Moreover, CBD can successfully treat seasonal allergies because it helps regulate your white blood cells’ production and actions when you are exposed to allergens. It also helps to keep airways open, reducing coughing and breathing difficulties.
CBD is also antimicrobial, which could help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Researchers believe high-grade CBD oil opens sinuses, reducing pressure in nasal cavities, and helping to prevent congestion. At the cellular level, CBD’s antimicrobial action disrupts and prevents microorganisms’ growth. This is great news for allergy sufferers. CBD protects against the bacteria from everyday surfaces of countertops, textiles, and other allergen sources.
So far, there is no clinical evidence that CBD acts as a true antihistamine. However, it appears to mimic the effects of antihistamines. Anecdotally, it’s a different story. According to one CBD user: “I started using a full-spectrum CBD formula on a daily basis for allergies. Prior to taking it, I was taking an OTC allergy relief medication. I was tired most days and didn’t get much relief. Within a week of daily CBD use, my allergies subsided.”
Often traditional OTC antihistamines are initially effective, but after a while, they become less effective. Many allergy sufferers then turn to a steroidal nasal spray. The drawback of steroidal sprays is using them for several months out of a year to relieve symptoms. Given CBD’s ongoing effects for other conditions, it’s too soon to tell if CBD for allergy relief will continue its long-term benefits for allergy sufferers.
CBD is an anti-inflammatory.
CBD’s well-known anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could also provide benefits for allergy sufferers. Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation in nasal and eye tissues to soothe allergic reactions. Several studies support claims about CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects.
A 2009 study published in Future Medicinal Chemistry, is one of the most often referenced studies. In the study, researchers examined the use of CBD as an anti-inflammatory. Their findings suggested that CBD helps the endocannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2—regulate the immune system. The authors discovered CBD was as effective as several anti-inflammatory drugs. They concluded, “Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents.”
In a 2019 report in Molecules, researchers investigated cannabinoid delivery systems to treat pain and inflammation. After reviewing some studies, they found the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in reducing inflammation related to the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis joint pain. Researchers concluded that early preclinical and clinical data support findings of endocannabinoid agonists (agents) that activate CB2 receptors.
While CBD doesn’t directly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, it does stimulate them to provide
Pulmonary benefits of CBD
In a 2013 study published in Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers examined CBD’s effects on guinea pigs. One group of guinea pigs received an antigen to induce throat muscle contraction, a common hay fever symptom. Results showed that CBD reduced airway obstruction, leading them to conclude CBD has the potential for relieving obstructive airway disorders.
Another study published in the Biochemical Journal in 2005, looked at the link between CB1 receptor intervention with mast cells, which release histamines that cause allergy symptoms. Although the results were inconclusive, researchers found that CB1 receptors could help with the immune system’s hypersensitivity.
What Is the correct CBD dosage if I’m taking it for allergies?
Most CBD users turn to tinctures or oils for a more accurate dosage. Most people find that one or 2 daily doses of 25 mg, held under the tongue for about a minute, can reduce allergy symptoms. Current advice is to increase each dose weekly by about half until you receive the most relief.
You can use CBD oil as a replacement for OTC allergy remedies or in addition to your medication regimen. CBD doesn’t have harmful interactions with OTC medicines or immunotherapy.
A word of caution: If you plan to use CBD for your allergy symptoms, do consult with your doctor. We don’t advise you to replace current medications without your doctor’s oversight. Also, remember that anaphylactic reactions can be life-threatening. Do not use CBD in the case of an acute reaction or when your breathing is impaired.