Are You Really Allergic To Weed?

Does that sativa have you sneezing? It's probably still just mold.

It’s a no-brainer that summer is one of the best times of the year for cannabis consumers: Weed-fueled beach days and getaways offer respite from the daily grind; hiking is made all the more fun and refreshing when done so while slightly elevated; and festival season is in full swing.

The seasonal shift from spring to summer also means about 50 million people are hella suffering from allergies that show themselves sometime around the summer solstice. Nasal congestion, sneezing, and red eyes don’t exactly make for a sexy summer look, and furthermore, can get in the way of one’s blazing.

As legalization legislation gets enacted state-by-state, and consumption and acceptance of cannabis grows as a result––an annoying, but truly relevant fact is that, you might indeed be one of 36.5 million people worldwide, that is allergic to weed.

If you’re wondering just how much being allergic to marijuana actually sucks, one woman who experienced cannabinoid hyperemesis––the scientific term for experiencing an allergic reaction to weed, which can include extreme nausea–– told New York magazine about what her life was like, post-diagnosis:

“I find myself asking, ‘Who am I? What am I doing with my life?’ Everything’s more fun when you’re stoned, or when you know you have the option to get stoned. And L.A. is tough because every corner I turn, I see a weed store. And I can smell it everywhere. I know someone is smoking right now, and it’s not me.”

Yeah, I feel your pain, lady. It’s enough to make you want to light up a bowl and hug yourself tight.

But before you start freaking out, and checking yourself for any associated symptoms, it’s important to note that there is a distinct difference between being allergic to marijuana, and being allergic to the mold that can develop on weed flower, or worse yet, to the chemicals that the plants have been treated with over the cultivation process.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to weed pollen are similar to what one might experience for other common allergies: headaches, vomiting, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itchy throat, and difficulty breathing. Skin reactions such as developing a rash, hives, swelling, as well as experiencing a difficulty speaking, or breathing, have also been reported as a result of ingesting hemp seeds.

And, like with anything else fun in life, the more you’re exposed to marijuana, the more likely it is you may experience allergic reactions. That means workers at every level of the marijuana business may be more likely to develop allergies than non-weed workers, simply from increased exposure. It’s even worse if you have a penchant for sativa strains, the weed known to elicit an energetic effect.

According to a recent study, sativa strains can potentially cause symptoms such as hay fever, pink eye, skin rashes, and asthma, in those allergic to the amphetaweed.

Veritably, the only real way to know whether you’ll ever be able to peacefully smoke out again, or if you truly are allergic to the chronic, is to visit a doctor. A prick test, where oil from a marijuana plant goes under a patient’s skin, can clue doctors into your weed allergy.

Dr. Sean Darcy told Merry Jane that about one out of every 100 patients can experience an allergic reaction to cannabis, and about 80 percent of those patients end up actually being allergic to mold, not marijuana. 

“In the end, most of the patients that get better quality marijuana do not have an allergy anymore because the mold is usually gone,” Dr. Darcy said.

So if you find yourself reading this, and all of a sudden you begin sneezing and wiping away at irritated, red eyes, it’s worth it to take a minute to look through your current weed stash, inspect it with a magnifying glass, and throw that shit out if it looks anything less than perfectly dank. Mold will appear as either white, grey, yellow, or brown fuzz. It’s also a good idea to smell your weed, as the aromatics of the herb can be highly indicative of its quality. If it smells like death, ditch it. If the herb smells bomb, take a few puffs and pass it to your left.

Though if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, but just can’t seem to put down the pipe (and who can blame you), no need to freak out, man. Make a visit to your doctor, inspect your weed, and if necessary consider switching to a different dispensary that doesn’t slang bud that has you breaking out in hives, bro.