CBD has been shown to help with an abundance of ailments. In this article, we will be focussing on what CBD can do for allergies.
Can CBD help Allergies? Yes, CBD can help with allergies because of the anti-inflammatory properties it has. This means that CBD will help to reduce the severeness of your allergies and the severeness of symptoms.
Studies and research on CBD are in their early stages and therefore are quite limited. But users of CBD for allergies do however stand by its effectiveness in treatment.
Many variables have to be considered with CBD because it depends on the product, the quality of it and how some people metabolize CBD differently, just as with any biohacking supplement.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers of industrial hemp plants. CBD is a cannabinoid, these are compounds found in the cannabis plant species.
Unlike the similarly prominent cannabinoid, THC. CBD is non-psychoactive meaning it does not produce a ‘high’.
Because CBD is extracted from industrial hemp plants, it contains less than 0.2 – 0.3% THC content, so long as the product abides by this content level, it is legal in the US, UK, and Canada.
THC is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant species, it is responsible for the ‘high’ that cannabis gives you.
What are allergies?
Your body can react to a particular food or substance in different ways when this reaction is negative it is called an allergy.
They are commonplace in society with supposedly a quarter of people having an allergy to something, at one point in their life, so being able to biohack them is more important than ever.
Children are particularly vulnerable to allergies, but as they grow these allergies often disappear.
Allergies can affect the wellbeing of many people, reactions can range from mild to severe.
Common allergies are:
- Pollen from grass and trees (hay fever also known as a seasonal allergy)
- Dust mites
- Food (nuts, cow’s milk and fruit for example)
- Animal skin and hair particles
Things that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
Symptoms can occur within minutes of contact with an allergen and can include:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Red, itchy or watering eyes
- Asthma or eczema
These symptoms are a nuisance but are mild and nothing too serious.
More severe reactions can occur, one of these reactions being an anaphylactic shock which happens when your immune system releases many chemicals which leads to shock, your blood pressure dropping and your airways narrowing, which blocks breathing.
It can easily be fatal, and urgent treatment is needed if it occurs.
Traditional remedies for allergies
One of the best and most obvious ways of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen. This is not always easy however and therefore there are alternatives in medication.
There are different types of medication used for allergies, these are:
Antihistamines – which are taken before or at the beginning of being exposed to an allergen in order to stop a reaction from taking place
Lotions and creams – can help to treat the symptoms of itchy, red or dry skin
Decongestants – which help to treat the symptoms of a blocked nose, they can be in capsule, liquid or nasal spray form
Steroids – help to reduce the general redness and swelling that a reaction can cause
A treatment called immunotherapy is an alternative to medication and can potentially alleviate the allergic reaction altogether over a period of time.
Immunotherapy is the process of exposing the person to the allergen in a controlled manner over an extended period of time in order to help the body to get used to it and no longer have a reaction to it, or a less severe reaction to it.
How does CBD help?
CBD will not cure your allergy but it can be effective in relieving some of the most common symptoms associated.
One of the most renowned uses of CBD is to reduce inflammation. Inflammation can be an issue with allergies through the inflammation of the nose (rhinitis), inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) and inflammation of the airways (common with more severe reactions – asthma).
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties derive from the way it makes the body use cannabinoids better and more efficiently.
For example, the beta-caryophyllene cannabinoid which, in interacting with CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, releases fewer pro-inflammatory signal substances otherwise known as cytokines.
This decrease in pro-inflammatory signal substances can lead to:
- Opening of the airways, which can make it easier to breathe
- A decrease in nasal pressure which relieves sinus congestion and reduces mucus
Research also suggests that cannabinoids can affect mast cells in the same way that antihistamines can. Mast cells are the cells that release histamines in an allergic reaction.
Furthermore, CBD’s common treatments for chronic pain and insomnia can help in allergy relief as some allergy sufferers can struggle to get a good night’s sleep if any sleep at all when they are experiencing reactions to allergens. CBD can help as it is a depressant and promotes not just sleep but deeper sleep also.
CBD forms and dosage
CBD comes in a variety of forms, these include:
- Oil in sprays and tinctures
- Vaporizers/vape oils
- Infused water
- Infused coffee
- Shower gels/bath bombs/bath salts and shampoos
Forms of CBD for allergies depend on what symptoms you are trying to control. If you are trying to treat redness, itchiness or dryness of the skin then look to the CBD creams and lotions to relieve these issues.
For general allergy treatment, inflamed nose, sinuses, and eyes, look to the other forms, vapes can provide quick but no so long-lasting relief.
Capsules and oils provide long-term relief. There is no scientifically outlined dosage of CBD for each ailment.
People follow guidelines that vary depending on where you look. The dosage depends on weight, and the ailment you are trying to treat.
In using topicals, like CBD creams and lotions, the dosage is not an issue as you just apply the cream until the desired effect is seen or felt.
For capsules, tinctures and other forms look to the lower to medium dosage sections in the table below which gives an outline of body weight relating to dosage.
Misconceptions surrounding CBD
Does CBD get you high?
CBD does not get you high.
Legal CBD extracted from industrial hemp plants are legally required to contain less than 0.2 % in the UK, and 0.3% in the US, THC content.
This amount is insignificant and presents no risk of getting ‘high’ from taking any CBD products.
Legality of CBD
In Canada, CBD along with recreational marijuana use is legal, however individual provinces have their own laws so check here for a more detailed outline on the legality of CBD in Canada.
CBD products from Canada may contain more than the legal amount of THC (as there is no limit) than other countries allow, so be cautious in transporting or trying to import CBD products from Canada.
In the United States, some states have legalized recreational marijuana use while some outlaw CBD as they do not differ it from marijuana itself, check here for a state by state guide on the legality of CBD in the US. In federal law, CBD is legal so long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.3% THC content.
In the United Kingdom CBD is legal as long as it is extracted from industrial hemp plants and contains less than 0.2% THC content.
In Australia, CBD and other ‘medicinal cannabis’ products can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner following an in-depth assessment of the patient’s condition and individual, outside circumstances.
Side effects and risks of CBD
Side effects of CBD are largely uncommon and insignificant. Short term side effects include:
- Tiredness + mood changes
- Appetite change
Long term side effects are unstudied as studies have only recently begun on CBD.
Failing a drug test because of CBD
Drug tests look for THC and its metabolites.
Because CBD contains trace amounts of THC a false positive can result from taking CBD so be cautious when taking CBD before a drug test.
Both the Hemp and Marijuana plant, which CBD can be derived from, contain THC. Industrial Hemp is legal because the amount of THC is limited to 0.2 – 0.3%, where Marijuana plants have no limit, which is why the plant is illegal.
CBD can interfere with your body’s ability to process certain pharmaceutical drugs; specifically, it inhibits cytochrome p450.
As with some other medications, CBD is metabolized in the body by the enzymes in the CYP450 system. So, in competing for these enzymes, CBD can reduce the metabolism of other drugs, raising their blood levels and having the inhibitor effect described above.
This means that lower dosages are more likely to be required without knowing so. This could lead to the potentially harmful levels suggested above.
Clinical trials have shown this where CBD is provided in hundreds of milligrams (mg) daily.
The average CBD supplement pill can range from 10 to 40 mg, therefore the effect may not be as strong in smaller doses of CBD.
Drugs that are affected by grapefruit do have warnings so watch out for these and avoid CBD when seeing this warning.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can make it an effective treatment for relieving the symptoms of allergies which come from inflammation – blocked noses, itchy red eyes, and irritated skin. Studies have also shown that it has a similar effect on mast cells that antihistamines have.
Always speak to your doctor before taking a new product as it could have side effects on other medications that you could be taking.