Can you have a cannabis allergy?

Liz Filmer
18 Oct 2023

It is possible for cannabis to trigger an allergic reaction, in a similar way to other plants and pollens.

Symptoms can include cough, congestion, and hives. In recent years, there seems to have been an increase in reports of cannabis allergies. Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, can also cause adverse reactions in some people.

A cannabis allergy may be triggered by smoking, eating or touching the plant or its products. Research published in 2013 suggests Cannabis sativa may be incredibly irritating.

A recent small study from 2018 found that people are more prone to having a cannabis allergy if they have allergies to pets, moulds, dust mites, or other plants. More research is still needed however before a definite link can be established.

Many symptoms of a cannabis allergy are similar to seasonal allergy symptoms and include:

•          cough

•          congestion

•          itchy eyes

•          nausea

•          red, itchy, or watery eyes

•          a runny nose

•          sneezing

•          sore or itchy throat

Handling cannabis also cause contact dermatitis, a skin reaction that can have the following symptoms:

•          blisters

•          dry skin

•          hives

•          itchiness

•          red, inflamed skin

Symptoms of cannabis allergies can present immediately after exposure to the plant or after an hour or more in other cases.

Less commonly, cannabis may induce a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This life-threatening reaction can occur within seconds of exposure to an allergen.

Signs of anaphylaxis include:

•          difficulty breathing

•          dizziness

•          fainting

Anaphylaxis can be fatal, so it is essential to get emergency medical attention if it is suspected.

A cannabis allergy can be connected to cross-reactivity with other allergens in certain foods.

Cross-reactivity happens when proteins, such as pollen, in the cannabis plant resemble the proteins in another plant. An allergic reaction can occur when someone encounters similar proteins elsewhere.

Foods with proteins that resemble cannabis proteins include:

•          almonds

•          apples

•          bananas

•          chestnuts

•          eggplant

•          grapefruit

•          peaches

•          tomatoes

Doctors diagnose cannabis allergies like other types using skin or blood tests. At present, no treatment is available for a cannabis allergy and the general asvice is to take antihistamines as you would with seasonal allergies.


Those allergic to cannabis should avoid smoking, eating, or touching the plant to prevent allergy symptoms. Those who are severely allergic to cannabis should seek medical treatment. Also, they should carry medications to quickly treat accidental exposure to the drug.

More on this topic from Soft Secrets:

Cannabis Oil

Could you have a cannabis allergy?

Liz Filmer