young woman with hay fever blowing her nose.

CBD For Allergy Relief

CBD means allergy relief without the foggy side effects of over-the-counter meds.

More people are turning to CBD for relief of their allergy symptoms to avoid the drowsiness that often results from using over-the-counter products.

What causes allergies?

Allergies result because your body has made a mistake. The mast cells in your immune system have confused harmless proteins, such as pollen or pet dander, with more infectious invaders. Mast cells are a part of your body’s white blood cells or the immune system. Mast cells have histamine and other inflammatory chemical agents or antibodies. When stimulated by allergens, mast cells release histamines and other inflammatory agents into the bloodstream.

Histamines cause swelling of your nasal tissues, also accounting for a runny nose and watery eyes. You may also experience itching. Occasionally, you can develop hives.

Inflammation plays an essential role in your immune system’s response to potential invaders. It’s also a significant factor in the severity of your allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines and  their side effects

Any drug or compound used to reduce or suppress the physical effects of histamines is an antihistamine. The most common antihistamine medications are over-the-counter brands, such as Benadryl, Tavist, Claritin, and Allegra. There are also more potent prescription drugs your doctor may prescribe: Optivar, Clarinex, Atarax, and others.

Many antihistamines have some unpleasant, though mild, side effects. Drowsiness is often the biggest problem, but side effects can also include dizziness, nausea, and dry mouth. In other cases, antihistamines react with other medications you may be taking.

All good reasons for trying CBD for your allergies.

Can you use CBD oil as an antihistamine?

Although CBD isn’t a true antihistamine, many people have had good results using it to treat their allergy symptoms. Research has shown that CBD, found in hemp and in cannabis, may help prevent mast cells from releasing histamines into the bloodstream.

CBD also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which help relieve the inflammatory effects of your body’s histamine response to allergens. Working through your body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD calms the body’s inflammatory response. Research into CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties has shown those properties are distributed through the ECS, decreasing inflammation.

A review published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care showed that the evidence to date supports the notion that the ECS plays an important role in regulating inflammation.

Moreover, CBD can successfully treat seasonal allergies because it helps regulate your white blood cells’ production and actions when you are exposed to allergens. It also helps to keep airways open, reducing coughing and breathing difficulties.

CBD is also antimicrobial, which could help relieve seasonal allergy symptoms. Researchers believe high-grade CBD oil opens sinuses, reducing pressure in nasal cavities, and helping to prevent congestion. At the cellular level, CBD’s antimicrobial action disrupts and prevents microorganisms’ growth. This is great news for allergy sufferers. CBD protects against the bacteria from everyday surfaces of countertops, textiles, and other allergen sources.

So far, there is no clinical evidence that CBD acts as a true antihistamine. However, it appears to mimic the effects of antihistamines. Anecdotally, it’s a different story. According to one CBD user: “I started using a full-spectrum CBD formula on a daily basis for allergies. Prior to taking it, I was taking an OTC allergy relief medication. I was tired most days and didn’t get much relief. Within a week of daily CBD use, my allergies subsided.”

Often traditional OTC antihistamines are initially effective, but after a while, they become less effective. Many allergy sufferers then turn to a steroidal nasal spray. The drawback of steroidal sprays is using them for several months out of a year to relieve symptoms. Given CBD’s ongoing effects for other conditions, it’s too soon to tell if CBD for allergy relief will continue its long-term benefits for allergy sufferers.

CBD is an anti-inflammatory.

CBD’s well-known anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could also provide benefits for allergy sufferers. Anti-inflammatories reduce inflammation in nasal and eye tissues to soothe allergic reactions. Several studies support claims about CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects.

A 2009 study published in Future Medicinal Chemistry, is one of the most often referenced studies. In the study, researchers examined the use of CBD as an anti-inflammatory. Their findings suggested that CBD helps the endocannabinoid receptors—CB1 and CB2—regulate the immune system. The authors discovered CBD was as effective as several anti-inflammatory drugs. They concluded, “Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents.”

In a 2019 report in Molecules, researchers investigated cannabinoid delivery systems to treat pain and inflammation. After reviewing some studies, they found the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in reducing inflammation related to the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis joint pain. Researchers concluded that early preclinical and clinical data support findings of endocannabinoid agonists (agents) that activate CB2 receptors.

While CBD doesn’t directly interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, it does stimulate them to provide

anti-inflammatory benefits.

 Pulmonary benefits of CBD

In a 2013 study published in Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers examined CBD’s effects on guinea pigs. One group of guinea pigs received an antigen to induce throat muscle contraction, a common hay fever symptom. Results showed that CBD reduced airway obstruction, leading them to conclude CBD has the potential for relieving obstructive airway disorders.

Another study published in the Biochemical Journal in 2005, looked at the link between CB1 receptor intervention with mast cells, which release histamines that cause allergy symptoms. Although the results were inconclusive, researchers found that CB1 receptors could help with the immune system’s hypersensitivity.

What Is the correct CBD dosage if I’m taking it for allergies?

Most CBD users turn to tinctures or oils for a more accurate dosage. Most people find that one or 2 daily doses of 25 mg, held under the tongue for about a minute, can reduce allergy symptoms. Current advice is to increase each dose weekly by about half until you receive the most relief.

You can use CBD oil as a replacement for OTC allergy remedies or in addition to your medication regimen. CBD doesn’t have harmful interactions with OTC medicines or immunotherapy.

A word of caution: If you plan to use CBD for your allergy symptoms, do consult with your doctor. We don’t advise you to replace current medications without your doctor’s oversight. Also, remember that anaphylactic reactions can be life-threatening. Do not use CBD in the case of an acute reaction or when your breathing is impaired.

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