young woman suffering spring allergy and blowing nose with a tissue in the nature

CBD for Allergies: Does it Help? 2020 Guide

You know the feeling. Your eyes are red and itchy, your throat feels tight, and the sneezing is so uncontrollable you can barely get a word out. You have allergies. Whether seasonal or related to unintended exposure to something you usually try to avoid, it's annoying. Especially when you have to explain to people over and over again that you're not actually sick, it's just allergies. What if CBD for allergies could provide some relief from these symptoms? 

What are Allergies?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to a typically harmless substance 1 Allergies Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 2015. Allergies. AAFA. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America . These substances are called allergens and can be anything, such as pollen, dust mites, pet hair, or ingested food. 

Once the immune system deems these allergens as harmful, it produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE detects allergens, triggering an immune response aimed at fighting off the allergen. This immune response involves the release of histamine, a substance that causes inflammation in the body’s tissues, thus producing an allergic reaction. 

A woman suffering from allergies in a grass field

What are Allergy Symptoms? 


Allergic reactions can present with respiratory symptoms (sneezing, coughing, trouble breathing, etc.) or as a rash (such as hives). When it comes to ingested allergens, gastrointestinal distress may occur. 

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With more serious allergic reactions, trouble breathing and swelling of the throat may require emergency medical treatment. We’re talking calling 911 and deploying an EpiPen if possible. Because, while allergies can be incredibly frustrating, they can also be life-threatening. 

 

Allergies are considered to be a chronic health condition that impacts 10 to 30 percent of the world’s population 2 White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary. By Prof. Ruby Pawankar, MD, PhD, Prof. Giorgio Walkter Canonica, MD, Prof. Stephen T. Holgate, BSc, MD, DSc, FMed Sci and Prof. Richard F. Lockey, MD. World Health Organization. . This means a lot of people are looking for relief from the allergy symptoms that affect their daily lives. 

 

CBD for Allergies—How Does it Work? 


According to 
anecdotal reports, allergy sufferers have tried CBD oil for allergies. People have reported taking CBD oil for allergies sublingually (under the tongue), ingesting CBD edibles, and applying CBD oil topically. 

 

But as of now, scientific studies into the benefits of CBD oil for allergies is lacking. We can’t definitively tell you how, or even if, CBD for allergies works. But we can break down what we know so far. 

 

What Does the Research Say?


Unfortunately, anecdotal reports contain the most information we currently have regarding how well CBD for allergies might work. We’re still waiting for the scientific community to catch up and officially conduct experiments to verify these reports. That said, there are some things we know about CBD that suggest it has therapeutic potential to help treat allergies.

 

Several studies show that CBD can help regulate the immune response, which could potentially translate into a reduction in the body’s overreaction to allergens 3 Immune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol. Nichols, J. M., & Kaplan, B. (2020). Immune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 5(1), 12–31. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2018.0073 Nichols, J. M., & Kaplan, B . Further research has found that CBD may reduce histamine release 4, 5 Anti-inflammatory potential of CB1-mediated cAMP elevation in mast cells. Small-Howard, A. L., Shimoda, L. M., Adra, C. N., & Turner, H. (2005). Anti-inflammatory potential of CB1-mediated cAMP elevation in mast cells. The Biochemical journal, 388(Pt 2), 465–473. https://doi.org/10.1042/BJ20041682 Small-Howard, A. L., Shimoda, L. M., Adra, C. N., & Turner, H. . With fewer histamines released, allergy symptoms like sneezing and wheezing may lessen or stop completely. 

 

Several studies have also documented the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD 6 Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Philpott HT, OʼBrien M, McDougall JJ. Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Pain. 2017;158(12):2442-2451. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001052 Philpott HT, OʼBrien M, McDougall JJ . Since allergic reactions ultimately result from inflammation due to histamine release, it is possible that the anti-inflammatory impact of CBD might reduce allergy symptoms. 

Ready to Use CBD for Allergies?


CBD oil for allergies has gained a lot of traction with allergy suffers, and there is anecdotal evidence to support its use. However, due to the lack of research surrounding CBD for allergies, it’s best to talk to your doctor before trying this alternative allergy treatment. Once you’ve consulted with a physician, there are several 
CBD delivery methods you can test out.

 

For the treatment of allergies, CBD can be taken as an oral spray, capsule, or tincture. You can also vape CBD, although it is essential to note that inhaling vapors may further aggravate certain respiratory allergic symptoms. 

 

Finding the right CBD dosage can vary based on things like bodyweight, sensitivity, and your reasons for using CBD. But with some trialing, you should be able to find out if using CBD for allergies works for you.

FAQs

Does CBD help with allergies?

The research does not yet exist to answer this question definitively. However, anecdotal reports and research on the anti-inflammatory and histamine-reducing effects of CBD suggest that CBD has the potential to help treat allergies. 

Can CBD oil help seasonal allergies?

Although CBD oil for seasonal allergies has a lot of anecdotal support, there is not yet have enough scientific evidence to know if it is the best treatment option.

Is hemp oil good for allergies?

Like CBD, there are no specific studies on the benefits of hemp oil for allergies.

Can you have a bad reaction to CBD?

While CBD has a relatively high safety profile, CBD should not be used to treat some conditions, and further research into its toxicity is needed 7 An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034 Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. . When in doubt, always discuss any potential new treatment ideas with your doctor before trialing. 

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