The change in seasons brings cooler temperatures (which means breaking out those comfy sweaters!), colorful fall foliage and pumpkin-flavored treats. But for many, it also brings less-than-pleasant seasonal allergies. Most often, fall allergies are caused by ragweed, mold and dust mites, and cause a range of symptoms like watery eyes, sneezing and coughing, and itchy eyes and nose. Those of us affected usually rely on antihistamines and decongestants to treat them — but did you know that cannabis may help with allergies too? If you’re interested in using cannabis for your allergy symptoms, we have all the details on how it works.
How can cannabis help with seasonal allergies?
Although research is still very limited, cannabis is thought to ease allergy symptoms in several different ways, such as the following:
- Decreasing histamine levels
Histamine is a chemical released by your immune system that causes allergy symptoms. Cannabis is believed to reduce the antibodies that lead to increased histamine. More research is needed, but it appears that both cannabinoids, or compounds like THC and CBD, and terpenes — naturally occurring compounds that are responsible for the aromas and flavors of plants, like cannabis — both play a role in blocking histamine release.
- Reducing inflammation
Cannabis is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that cannabinoids activate receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system to release fewer cytokines, which are the signaling proteins that control inflammation.
- Relieving sinusitis symptoms
Nasal congestion, coughing, difficulty breathing — cannabis is said to relieve these all-too-familiar symptoms of sinusitis. Why? It is a bronchodilator, which means it helps to ease breathing by widening the airways.
Tips for using cannabis during allergy season
First, it’s important to keep in mind that the effects of cannabis vary from person to person. Not everyone will see benefits from using cannabis products for allergy symptoms. But if you’re curious to learn how your body responds, we have a few tips to consider before you get started.
- Check with your doctor.
Before using cannabis for seasonal allergies, we suggest consulting with your primary care doctor. Mainly, you’ll want to make sure that cannabis won’t interfere with any other allergy medications you’re taking.
- Try using non-smoking methods.
Smoking can irritate your throat and respiratory system, which are particularly sensitive during allergy season. To avoid exacerbating your symptoms, consider other consumption methods like edibles, tinctures, and topicals instead. (View our Lowell and Haverhill menus to find an array of non-smoking products!)
- Be aware: it is possible to be allergic to cannabis, too.
As with any other plant, it is possible to have allergic reactions to cannabis. Therefore, if you have never used cannabis before, we would recommend starting with a small dose and then waiting to see how you feel. If there are no adverse side effects, you can increase your dose as desired.
Ready to try cannabis for seasonal allergies?
If you’re ready to take the next step, we’re here to help. Visit our Massachusetts cannabis dispensaries in Lowell and Haverhill to find cannabis products that are right for you. If you have questions, just ask! Our professional budtenders are available to recommend products that meet your needs.