Allergies can affect your quality of life by causing discomfort. They may even disrupt your daily activities and make it more difficult to be productive. Allergies can be seasonal or year-round, depending on what the underlying cause is. There are also a number of symptoms you could experience, ranging from coughing and sneezing to itching swelling.
Although there aren't any cures for allergies, there are ways to manage their symptoms. This can help increase your overall health. One of the solutions for treating allergy symptoms is Cannabidiol (CBD). While its full benefits and exact mechanisms are still being researched, CBD has shown evidence that it contains anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties. Among those therapeutic benefits is also the ability to boost the body's immune responses.
Let's take a further look into allergies and what CBD can do to help you alleviate their symptoms.
What are allergies and what causes them?
Allergies are usually lifelong conditions that develop from a very young age. They are considered damaging to the immune system because they cause a reaction to something that isn't typically meant to be harmful.
For example, pollen is a common source of allergic reactions. If someone is allergic to pollen, their immune system will recognise the pollen as a foreign substance and produce antibodies to fight it. When exposed to the allergen again, after the first reaction, these antibodies can release chemicals such as histamine. A histamine response will then cause the allergy symptoms.
Usually, allergies don't pose as a life-threatening condition. They may just be disruptive to your daily activities and frustrating for your overall well-being. However, there are cases, especially with food allergies, where they can be life-threatening, leading to what's known as anaphylaxis. If you experience severe symptoms it is of utmost importance that you seek a doctor or medical practitioner's help immediately.
Depending on the allergy type, symptoms can range from the following:
- Swelling or inflammation
Types of allergies
There are a number of different types of allergies and their symptoms can vary as well. Types of allergies include:
These occur when you have been exposed to an allergen that circulates in the air. Some common ones include pollen, pet dander, dust mites and fungal spores. Airborne allergies usually cause symptoms such as red and/or itchy eyes, nasal congestion, inflammation of the airways and sneezing.
- Food allergies
Not to be confused with food intolerances, food allergies can potentially be life-threatening leading to anaphylaxis. They cause an immediate reaction to consuming an allergen. Some of the most common food allergens include peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat and fish. Symptoms of food allergies can involve hives, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and severe reactions that can lead to loss of consciousness.
- Skin allergies
These occur when the skin comes into direct contact with an allergen. They can cause bumps, itchiness and redness, making them very uncomfortable. The most common are hives, eczema and contact dermatitis. Although there are numerous physical skin allergens, the environment you're in, for example, humid weather can also cause a reaction.
How can CBD alleviate symptoms?
As allergy symptoms occur mainly due to the immune system's histamine response, CBD can help by blocking it. Everyone has a naturally occurring endocannabinoid system (ECS) in their bodies. The ECS plays a significant role in the process of metabolism, the central and peripheral nervous system and, most importantly for allergies, the processes involving immunity.
The cannabinoids in CBD supplement those naturally produced by the body to help keep bodily functions normal, or in a state of homeostasis. Cannabinoids help with the regulation of the nervous system and have been linked to helping with reducing inflammation and relieving neuropathic pain. In regulating the ECS, CBD has been shown to also inhibit the release of histamine, resulting in a reduction of allergy symptoms.
CBD won't be able to cure allergies, however, it may reduce the symptoms of allergies and ease your discomfort. Because of its immuno-responsive properties, CBD shows promise in reducing allergic symptoms and reactions in the case of:
Coughing is a reflex that helps to clear the throat and airways. When exposed to allergens, they can cause inflammation or congestion in the airways. CBD helps to alleviate this reaction and soothe the cough by reducing the inflammation in the airway membranes and fighting against secondary bacterial infections. Oils, tinctures or edibles are appealing for treating coughs.
- Skin allergies
CBD can be found in oils, topical creams and lotions that can be directly applied to the skin. This makes it ideal in treating allergies or irritation that involve dermatitis symptoms like rashes and itchiness.
A study found that CBD topical treatments nurse the affected area by reducing the inflammation, itchiness and dryness of the skin. It works to restore and regenerate the skin barrier, returning it to homeostasis after the allergy causes dysregulation.
- Sinusitis and hay fever
These symptoms can mimic those of a common cold. They may affect the functioning of immune cells and also cause an imbalance in the number of immune cells compared to an allergen or viral cells. CBD can assist the body's ECS by improving the functioning and increasing the generation of immune responses to ensure sinus pathways are cleared. It can also reduce inflammation, and subsequently pain, in the sinuses. A good way to consume CBD for sinus allergies is via edibles.
- Nausea and vomiting
Some allergic reactions involve nausea or vomiting. CBD has been noted to help reduce these symptoms when combined with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is responsible for increasing serotonin levels which help regulate the feeling of nausea. Although it does have psychoactive properties, the amount needed to quell nausea is very little, so the chances of feeling high are low. A full spectrum oil is a good choice for this treatment.
There is no way to cure an allergy completely, but using CBD oil can help alleviate some of your symptoms by acting as an antihistamine. These can range from congestion to skin irritations. It's always advisable to seek counselling from a doctor before starting a CBD treatment.