By Oscar Pascual |
Marijuana may be just as harmful as peanuts and shellfish, according to new research, as it can cause allergic reactions in certain people.
Researchers at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) recently completed a study on the possibility that marijuana may also be an allergen.
They found that cannabis, like any other flowering plant, can shed pollen. The pollen can travel for several miles and can act as an allergen and cause symptoms of hay fever, pink eye and asthma.
Aside from the pollen, researchers were also interested in the potential allergenic properties of marijuana’s psychoactive compound, THC. Although no concrete evidence was found, exposure to cannabis smoke was shown to cause sinusitis, sore throat and itchy eyes. Both exposure to pollen and smoke also resulted in cases of nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing.
Even just being near the pot can cause allergic reactions. During the study, one patient required antihistamine treatment after eating seafood containing hemp seeds. Another patient suffered from occupational asthma and exposed himself to hemp seeds while working as a bird breeder.
While marijuana allergy sounds like a setback for legalization, it’s actually a good reason why it should be legal. ACAAI researchers say that despite its popularity, marijuana has not been researched enough in the medical literature. This may be due to the fact that pot’s Schedule I classification makes it illegal for researchers to obtain federal funding for their studies. Ending the ban would open the doors to further investigation.
Don’t worry, though, if you catch a cold from hitting a punch. Researchers suggest treating a marijuana allergy like any other normal allergy. While it would be ideal not to use marijuana at all, over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal decongestants can easily disable sniffing weed.
Photo via Flickr/missrogue