CBD and controlling allergies

Do you face spring with mixed emotions? As much as you love the arrival of warm weather, if you suffer from allergies, spring can be a real nightmare. After all, how can you enjoy being outside when you are suffering from a stuffy or runny nose – or both – watery and even itching eyes? Spring allergies can seriously affect getting through the day.

The big spring allergy trigger is pollen. Trees, grasses and weeds release pollen into the air to fertilize other plans. However, if you are allergic to these tiny grains, when they get into your nose, your body’s defenses go wild. Your immune system reacts to the “danger” and releases antibodies to attack the allergens. What follows is the release of chemicals called histamines into your blood, which in turn trigger all those allergy symptoms.[1]

Common Allergy Treatments

You have a number of options for treating allergies. Some are available over the counter and others require a prescription. Treatments come in pills, liquids, inhalers, nasal sprays, eye drops and skin cream. You also can get allergy shots.

Antihistamines

Among common treatments are antihistamines, which block histamines. There are oral and nasal spray antihistamines available over the counter or by prescription. Since they can cause drowsiness, they need to be taken with caution and avoided when you are engaging in activities that require alertness, such as driving. Antihistamine eyedrops, also available over the counter or by prescription, can help to ease itchy, red eyes. [2]

Decongestants

Decongestants reduce stuffiness by shrinking swollen membranes in the nose. However, use of decongestants should be limited to no more than three days since beyond that they may cause the swelling and stuffiness to get worse.

Corticosteroids (Steroid hormones that relieve symptoms by suppressing allergy-related inflammation.)

Nasal corticosteroids are nose sprays and can reduce swelling, which causes the stuffy, runny and itchy nose. Corticosteroid creams or ointments relieve itchiness and the spread of rashes. Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce swelling and stop severe allergic reactions. However, they can come with serious side effects, so your doctor should be monitoring you when you are on them. [3]

Mast cell stabilizers

Mast cells are responsible for the release of histamines during inflammation or allergic reactions Mast cell stabilizers keep your body from releasing histamines.  They are available as eye drops or nose sprays.

CBD for Spring Allergy Treatment

CBD is emerging as a more natural way to treat spring allergy symptoms.   CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses.  

The ECS stimulates and controls many of the body’s functions, such as sleep, memory, appetite and immune response. It acts to restore balance whenever something happens with those body functions. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, it inhibits inflammation.[4]

There are several ways in which CBD can play a role in reducing allergy symptoms.  Since CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, it can reduce swelling and irritation and reduce antibodies that trigger the release of histamines. Furthermore, research has shown that CBD can decrease the body’s production of mast cells.[5]

CBD may be able to reduce the effects associated with allergies by:[6]

  • Opening up inflamed passageways
  • Stopping the decrease in airway flow
  • Relieving nasal pressure
  • Relieving congestion and mucous

So, if allergies are getting your down with the onset of the warmer weather; you might want to try CBD to put a “spring” in your step.

 

[1] Ambardekar, Nayana, MD, “How to Handle Your Spring Allergies,” WedMD, March 7, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-allergies
[2] “Allergy medications: Know your options,” Mayo Clinic, accessed March 20, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/in-depth/allergy-medications/art-20047403
[3] “Allergy Treatment,” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Accessed March 20, 2021. https://www.aafa.org/allergy-treatments/
[4] Meyer, Melissa, “CB1 and CB2 Receptors How the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Works,” HealthMJ, October 17, 2019. https://www.healthmj.com/cannabis/cb1-cb2-endocannabinoid-system-receptors/
[5] Small-Howard AL, Shimoda LM, Adra CN, Turner H. Anti-inflammatory potential of CB1-mediated cAMP elevation in mast cells. Biochem J. 2005;388(Pt 2):465-473. doi:10.1042/BJ20041682, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1138953/
[6] Editorial Team, “CBD For Allergy Symptoms [Can it Provide Relief?], Way of Leaf, February 4, 2020. https://wayofleaf.com/cbd/ailments/cbd-for-the-relief-of-allergy-symptoms-natural-medicine