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Could I Have a Marijuana Allergy?

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Updated July 07, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Person rolling joint, close-up of hands and bag of marijuana
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Question: Could I Have a Marijuana Allergy?
Is it possible to have a marijuana allergy? Whether you are new to medicinal marijuana or have used it in the past without problem, if you are having symptoms of an allergy, read on...
Answer:

It is quite possible to have a marijuana allergy. Many pollens from plants such as ragweed, flowers, and trees can cause allergic reactions in some people. Marijuana is no different. Marijuana flowers produce pollen that can be problematic to sensitive individuals.

Marijuana Allergy Symptoms

A marijuana allergy can cause skin problems if the plant or flowers are handled. Skin irritation may include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • rash or hives
  • dry, scaly skin

There is some evidence that marijuana could also be an airborne allergen with individuals becoming sensitized after inhalation of marijuana pollen. Airborne allergy symptoms from marijuana would be similar to any other airborne allergen and may include:

  • rhinitis (itchy, runny nose)
  • nasal congestion
  • sore throat
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • respiratory problems, such as asthma

If you think you might have a marijuana allergy, it is best to avoid the plant altogether. If you have been using marijuana medicinally, you may want to speak with your physician to get medical advice. There may be other treatment options for your symptoms that won't cause allergic reactions.

Sources:

Freeman, G.L., M.D. Allergic Skin Test Reactivity to Marijuana. Western Journal of Medicine. 1983 June; 138(6): 829–831.

Stokes JR, Hartel R, Ford LB, Casale TB. Cannabis (hemp) positive skin tests and respiratory symptoms. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000 Sep;85(3):238-40.

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