CBD for Allergies: Can It Really Help Soothe Your Symptoms?
Do you suffer from allergies and grapple to find relief? Millions of people understand the struggle. When your immune system is faced with something it deems as harmful such as pollen or mold, it reacts. This reaction is referred to as allergies.
We’ll get more into what allergies are, but those of us who experience at least know that they are no walk in the park. Fortunately, there are techniques that can provide relief. Continue reading to learn more and to find out about CBD for allergies.
Quick Background on Allergies
Our immune system creates antibodies to harmless substances because it thinks they’re unsafe. These antibodies are called allergens. Allergens can cause an allergic reaction which we commonly refer to as the allergies we experience.
Types of Allergies
There are several types of allergies. Causes and symptoms vary from allergy to allergy. Here are the most common kinds.
Also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever, a pollen allergy is one of the most common. Plants can release small pollen grains to fertilize other plants. The grains can travel by wind and affect those allergic to it.
Pollen allergy symptoms include:
- Runny and itchy nose
- Watery, red eyes
- Swelling around the eye area
A food allergy occurs when your body has a certain antibody to a specific food. It typically affects babies and children but can show up at any age. Sometimes a food allergy begins later in life. Common food allergies include but aren’t limited to milk, nuts, egg, and fish.
An allergic reaction to food usually occurs within minutes and symptoms can be severe. Food allergy symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the mouth
Mold, tiny fungi with spores, are a common allergy trigger. Mold floats around the air as pollen does. It’s usually found in spaces that are damp like a bathroom or pile of leaves. Hot, humid weather can amplify mold.
Mold allergy symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Eye irritation
- Itchy or sore throat
Oftentimes, people don’t realize that latex is more than just gloves. It can be a material for dental dams, syringes, stethoscopes, and more. A latex allergy typically occurs for someone who’s continually in contact with latex. This includes healthcare workers and people who have had several surgeries.
Latex allergy symptoms include:
- Skin rash
- Eye irritation
Animal Dander Allergy
Animals secrete proteins from their sweat glands and shed them in dander (dead flakes on the skin). Their proteins can also be found in their saliva and urine. However, most allergic reactions occur from exposure to dander. Those who are allergic to the proteins can have an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of an animal dander allergy include:
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Red, watery eyes
- Itchiness in and around the eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Facial pain and pressure
Insect Venom Allergy
Have you ever gotten a bee sting? Not only does it hurt, but you can also react in other ways if you’re allergic to their venom. This also goes for other insects such as wasps and yellow jackets.
Common symptoms of an insect venom allergy include:
- Difficulty breathing
Can CBD Help Soothe Your Allergies?
Allergy medications often cause drowsiness. If you’re looking to avoid that side effect, CBD for allergies could be a better solution. This is only one reason why CBD has become a popular way to naturally relieve allergy symptoms.
First, let’s take a look at how CBD reacts in the body. Our body has processes that affect our health and wellness. Cannabinoids can provide benefits when our processes are off balance. This happens when it activates CB1 and CB2 receptors in the nervous system. When we talk about allergies, we’re mostly dealing with CB2 receptors. These receptors work to regulate the immune system and inflammatory responses.
Research has found that CBD helps prevent cells from releasing histamines. As a result, those who suffer from allergies can experience less coughing, sneezing, and itching. A more recent study has shown that CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory. This means that it can relieve symptoms such as nasal pressure, stuffiness, breathing difficulty, and pain.
In fact, BoomBoom’s CBD nasal inhaler customers have found it to be excellent for allergy relief. It’s a blend of essential oils, menthol, and active cannabinoids. Check out what users have to say about it:
Figuring Out The Right Dosage
When it comes to effectively using CBD for allergies, it’s important to use the appropriate dosage. Here are some factors that affect the ideal amount of CBD:
- Amount of CBD in your product
- Other medication you’re taking
- Your body weight
- Your metabolism
Someone who has a low BMI would probably need a smaller dose of CBD than someone with a high BMI. With that said, there are different strengths of CBD. Oftentimes, the amount of cannabinoids in a product is displayed as 100 mg, 500 mg, and 1,000 mg.
If you’ve never used CBD before, you will probably want to start with a low dose. Since different variables affect the right amount of CBD for you, start small. Over time, you can increase the dosage. Monitor the results and change it up as needed.
Types of CBD Products That Could Have Fastest Allergy Relief
There are several options when it comes to CBD products. Choosing the right one depends on personal preferences and what you’re using it for. In regards to CBD for allergies, here are some top products to consider.
CBD Nasal Spray
CBD nasal sprays typically contain CBD and saline solution. It’s simply sprayed in the nose and inhaled. It travels up your nose to provide immediate results to improve congestion and breathing.
CBD Nasal Inhalers
As mentioned, CBD nasal inhalers are one of the most effective products for allergy relief. It’s similar to the spray as it works instantly to open airways and improve breathing.
CBD Oil Tincture
The CBD oil tincture is one of the most popular products as it’s been around since the beginning of CBD. It’s also used to treat a variety of health and wellness imbalances. It’s applied under the tongue or in a beverage. It doesn’t work immediately to relieve allergy symptoms. Nonetheless, it can be used over time to boost the immune system and regulate the body’s processes.
For relief on the go, CBD edibles are a great option. They often taste good, too. Keep in mind that edibles don’t give quick results and don’t directly affect allergy symptoms in the way a nasal spray or inhaler can.
You can use multiple CBD products together. If you do this, it’s especially important to keep an eye on the dosage.
When choosing your products, it helps to know the different types.
- Full-spectrum CBD oil: consists of all Cannabis plant compounds including THC (0.3% or less)
- Broad-spectrum CBD oil: has almost all Cannabis plant compounds except for THC (0%)
- Isolate CBD oil: pure Cannabidiol; 99% CBD and 0% THC
Side Effects of CBD
Keep in mind that all wellness products affect users differently. If you’re avoiding CBD for allergies due to potential side effects, you’ll be happy to hear that research has shown that there are low risks. High-quality THC-free products made in the United States and tested by a third-party lab should be safe with little to no side effects.
CBD products with THC can cause psychoactive effects such as drowsiness and mood changes. Using THC-free products can allow you to avoid psychoactive effects.
Additionally, there is no known dependency to THC-free products.
Other Remedies for Allergy Relief
You can use other treatment methods to relieve allergy symptoms alongside CBD. Common treatments include:
- Antihistamines such as Allegra (can cause drowsiness)
- Nasal sprays like Flonase
- Immunotherapy (a shot for severe allergies)
- Vitamin C
- Changing out air filters in your home regularly
Note that there is no cure for allergies. However, you can reduce nagging symptoms by avoiding or reducing contact with allergy triggers and incorporating the regimens mentioned.
If you’re looking to use CBD for allergies to find relief, studies show this is certainly possible. Determine your symptoms and consider which products are best for your needs. CBD affects individuals differently.
If allergy symptoms are severe, contact a medical professional.
Interested in learning more about CBD for allergies? Read more here !
What to Know About CBD for Allergies
Cory Martin is the author of seven books including “Love Sick” a memoir about dating, life in Hollywood and dealing with MS. Her essays have appeared online with CNN, HuffPost, Everyday Health, Psychology Today, Folks, The Mighty, and more.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Jurairat J. Molina, MD, MBA is a board-certified allergist who has been practicing in field of allergy and clinical immunology for the past two decades.
Allergies can greatly affect a person’s quality of life, causing symptoms like sneezing, congestion, rash, and swelling. These symptoms can disrupt your daily life, by causing discomfort, sleep loss, and lower productivity at work. If you experience any or all of these symptoms, it’s natural to want to seek relief.
People with allergies may consider CBD (cannabidiol) to help relieve their symptoms. While research into the effects of CBD on allergies is limited, there is evidence that the compound can help relieve pain and inflammation, and mitigate some of the body’s immune responses to allergens.
This article will discuss how CBD can help with allergies, the best types of CBD to use, and any side effects.
Verywell / Danie Drankwalter
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in many of the body’s systems and processes, including metabolism, immunity, and the central and peripheral nervous systems. The body produces cannabinoids that are received by cannabinoid receptors to keep the body functioning normally.
Cannabinoids help regulate the immune system by lowering inflammation in the body. When the body’s cannabinoid system is not working properly, inflammatory and immune-related disorders, such as allergies, can occur.
Because it’s a cannabinoid, CBD may be helpful in relieving allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes, congestion, and runny nose.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, otherwise known as marijuana. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the other cannabinoid compound derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is non-psychoactive.
While CBD and THC are the most commonly discussed compounds from the cannabis plant, more than 100 other cannabinoids have been identified.
CBD vs. Hemp Seed Oil
The cannabis sativa plant has been cultivated in two different ways: “drug hemp” (marijuana) and “industrial hemp” (hemp). Drug hemp contains high levels of THC, whereas industrial hemp has a THC level less than 0.3%.
Hemp plants grown for recreational or medicinal use have high THC and high CBD levels.
Industrial hemp is legal throughout the United States and is grown for fiber, paper, hemp seeds, construction materials, textiles, and hempseed oil.
Like CBD oil, hempseed oil has been touted for its health benefits. Hempseed oil is known for its nutritional value, as it contains a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hempseed oil also contains polyphenols, tocopherols, proteins, and carbohydrates, which have nutritional benefits.
While you may seek CBD or hemp to treat your allergies, be aware it’s possible to develop an allergy to cannabis itself. Hemp allergy is similar to other allergies, like pollen allergies. Symptoms can range from skin irritations, like rashes or hives, to respiratory afflictions such as asthma, congestion, and runny nose.
Though more research needs to be done, smoking marijuana or hemp may increase the likelihood of developing asthma and other allergic diseases. If you have allergic asthma, you may want to avoid smoking the compound.
Allergy Symptoms and Triggers
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance that is normally harmless in most people. Common allergens include, but are not limited to:
- Dust mites
- Pets and farm animals
- Insect stings and bites
- Contact allergens, such as metals for fragrance ingredients
Many allergies are triggered by situations and environmental factors, such as a bee sting or eating certain foods.
Seasonal allergies can be triggered by pollen in the air when plants are blooming. Pet allergies can be triggered upon entering someone’s home where there is pet dander in the air.
Any of these types of triggers can cause symptoms. Common allergy symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Runny nose, coughing, and sneezing
- Breathing problems
- Watery or swollen eyes
- Rash or hives
- Stomach or bowel problems
When to Seek Emergency Help
If you experience difficulty breathing or your throat begins to close or swell, call 911 immediately. This can be a sign of a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
CBD for Allergies
While research into the effects of CBD on allergies has been limited mainly to small studies and animal studies, there is promise that CBD can help mitigate or eliminate allergic symptoms and reactions.
CBD is known to work on one of the pathways of the ECS that produces histamine-activating cells in the body. There is some evidence that CBD could greatly reduce the amount of histamine produced in an allergic reaction, which would reduce congestion.
The ECS helps regulate and control immune function in the body, and more recent research suggests that the ECS also plays a role in maintaining skin health.
Some studies suggest that CBD applied directly to the skin can help with rashes and other inflammatory conditions of the skin, such as eczema, but further research is still needed.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD?
Studies have shown that CBD is relatively safe to consume, however these studies are limited. Further research is needed to determine the effects of CBD on the entire body and its effects over long-term consumption.
The most common side effects of CBD are:
- Drowsiness or lethargy
- Mood changes and irritability
- Lower appetite and weight loss
Best CBD for Allergies
The most common methods for consuming CBD for allergies and inflammation are topical treatments, herbal extracts, and edibles. Choosing a method depends on the type of allergy symptom being treated.
For rashes and skin inflammation, a topical cream or ointment may be best. For hay fever and other full-body symptoms, an herbal extract, edible, or nasal spray might work best. A nasal CBD spray may be beneficial, as the lining of the nose is thin, and CBD can pass directly into the blood, which produces faster effects.
The other factor to consider is the type of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate.
- Full-spectrum CBDuses all extracts of the cannabis plant, which includes CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and other cannabinoids. The THC concentration in full-spectrum is 0.3% or less.
- Broad-spectrum CBD contains CBD and other cannabinoids, but it has no THC.
- A CBD isolate is pure CBD with no other parts of the cannabis plant.
The “Entourage Effect”
Some evidence suggests that broad- or full-spectrum CBD produces better benefits, due to the synergistic effects of the other compounds within the spectrum, including THC. This is known as the “entourage effect.”
CBD dosage will depend on the delivery method chosen and what symptom is being treated.
Doses ranging from 300 mg to 600 mg have been shown to help treat anxiety disorders. Another study showed that a dosage of 25 mg helped improve poor sleep.
There is very little regulation on the dosing of CBD, so you may need to experiment until you find the right dose for your body and symptoms. You can also talk to your healthcare provider about appropriate dosing.
How to Buy CBD
Buying CBD will depend on where you live. In states where marijuana, and thus CBD derived from the “drug hemp,” is legal, you can find CBD at a dispensary. In states where marijuana is not legal, you will have to buy CBD that is derived from “industrial hemp.” As with all supplements, it is best to research the product to make sure it’s good quality.
A Word From Verywell
While much research still needs to be done on CBD and its effects, there is promise that it could be useful for treating allergy symptoms. If you are considering taking CBD to help alleviate symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider to discuss the best options. In the meantime, remember that there are many over-the-counter antihistamines that can help with seasonal and year-round allergies.
Frequently Asked Questions
CBD is not a decongestant, but it is theorized to work on the endocannabinoid system, which can reduce inflammation and congestion.
Using CBD for allergy treatment can be used the same way as other allergy medications, though it is important to note that the FDA has not approved CBD use for allergies. If you choose to try CBD to help manage your allergy symptoms, you can use a nasal spray, edible, or topical treatment.
Allergic asthma can worsen in people who are allergic to CBD, or the marijuana/hemp plants and their seeds. A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.
Terpenes are compounds in plants that cause their fragrance. Cannabis is known for its fragrance and therefore its terpenes. Terpenes are found in full- and broad-spectrum CBD. In one study on the effects of CBD for epilepsy, it was discovered that the full- and broad-spectrum versions had better outcomes, thus suggesting that terpenes play an important part in CBD’s effectiveness.