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Allergies to Marijuana on the Rise

In 2015 Dr. Thad Ocampo and Dr. Tonya Rans published a paper looking at cannabis allergies that ranged from eczema to asthma to anaphylaxis.

 

Daily Mail now reports 36 million Americans could be allergic to marijuana, stating 73 percent of the 50 million people who react to pollen also have issues with cannabis – and the figure is rising. This comes as no surprise as marijuana is a plant that carries pollen. Those exposed to second hand cannabis may be at risk as well. In 1971, a 29 year old woman claimed to have smoked marijuana for the first time when she went into a full anaphylactic reaction, being unable to breath.

 

Cannabis sativa is one of the more common strains of cannabis used and its hypersensitivity could cause one to have any of  the following:

 

Cough

 

Sneezing

 

Wheezing

 

Rash

 

Itch

 

Hives

 

Runny eyes, conjunctivitis

 

Difficulty breathing

 

 

indica-vs-sativa-06-191-720x340.jpg

 

Image from Positive Vibrations

 

Cannabis indicia is the other more common strain, whose leaves are wider and may pose allergic risks as well. Dr. Ocampo and Rans also discusses cannabis seed encrusted seafood which caused an anaphylactic reaction in a patient who was not allergic to seafood.

 

EpiPens could provide support for those suffering reactions and may need to be on hand for those who smoke or are exposed to marijuana smoke.

 

Allergic reactions occur when an allergen enters the body and the immune system tries to reject it. This defense mechanism, however, could cause many symptoms, including bronchoconstriction, preventing one from being able to breathe.  EpiPens provide epinephrine opening up the bronchioles and therefore allowing air exchange.

 

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00 pm (all central times) at GCN.

 

 

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