DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: With marijuana use becoming increasingly common — and legal for either medicalor recreational use in a growing number of states — doctors are warning about a little-known health risk: It’s possible to be allergic to pot.
The authors of a new study say it’s a problem we could start seeing more often. Their research, published this week in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, rounded up the medical evidence documenting cases of allergic reactions to the marijuana plant, also known by its Latin name Cannabis sativa. “Although still relatively uncommon,” they write, “allergic disease associated with C sativa exposure and use has been reported with increased frequency.”
Like most plant allergens, they note, cannabis pollen can cause symptoms like allergic rhinitis — inflammation of the nasal passages accompanied by sneezing, congestion, itching and a runny nose — along with eye inflammation and asthma.
The authors, allergy and immunology specialists Dr. Thad Ocampo and Dr. Tonya Rans, say that in people with allergies, just touching the plant can cause skin reactions such as hives, itching and puffiness or swelling around the eyes.