Allergy to marijuana has been on the rise with the legalization of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana in certain states. Here in California, recreational marijuana has become legalized on January 1st, 2018. Medical marijuana has been legal for more than 20 years but now with the full legalization in California, there will be more reactions that doctors need to be aware of. However, most people who have reactions to marijuana will be heavy consumers or those who work in industrial cultivation, as cannabis is a mild allergen.
In Colorado, where recreational marijuana is currently legal, an allergy practice surveyed their patients on marijuana exposure to see if they had an allergy to marijuana or not.
The study results showed:
- 53% never used marijuana
- Of those who never used marijuana, 11% had symptoms from passive exposure
- Of those who actively use it, 47% experienced some type of symptoms. Symptoms ranged from asthma, shortness of breath, cough, skin rash, hives, itchy or red eyes, headache, dry mouth or nausea.
Many of these symptoms would not necessarily be “allergy” related, but can be just from using marijuana. Cannabis sativa or THC, could be the allergen that causes people to have allergic reactions. It has also been speculated that marijuana could also contain mold or pesticides in it that causes symptoms.
There is no current commercially available testing for marijuana allergy. But it is possible to do skin allergy testing to native extracts of the flower. With the legalization of marijuana in many states, allergy symptoms will become more prevalent. Symptoms can range from sneezing and rashes to full blown anaphylaxis. Although most people who do experience symptoms will be heavy users or those who work in cultivating it, allergy to marijuana will likely become more frequent.
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