Allergies are a common problem affecting many people. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, around 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are afflicted. Nasal allergies tend to dominate – more than 50 million people have them. While this is good news for the Kleenex company, it’s bad news for people fond of breathing.

We’re allergic to all kinds of things, but trees, grass, and weed pollen are some of the most common triggers. In short, plants are a pain for people prone to hay fever. Thus, it comes as no surprise that allergies to cannabis exist.

What a Cannabis Allergy Looks Like

Per US News, it’s unknown just how many people are allergic to cannabis. CANNABIS ALLERGY, CANNABIS EDIBLE ALLERGYBut researchers suspect it’s a more common problem than reported. Pot is a pollinating plant and pollen allergies are everywhere. It’s this fact that leaves many doctors unsurprised by cannabis’s ability to elicit a reaction. Still, the reactions are extremely varied, something that wasn’t expected.

Allergies are like this to a degree. Some people have minor allergies that require little treatment while others have allergies so severe they threaten life. And some of us have allergies that vary by situation – a minor grass allergy that grows more intense the second someone asks that we mow the lawn. But the reactions that come with a cannabis allergy are wide-ranging.

Some people exhibit the sneezing, rashes, and wheezing you’d expect while others vomit or suffer from acute abdominal discomfort

Cases of anaphylaxis, the worse type of reaction, have also been triggered by marijuana.

You don’t need to necessarily touch the weed to cause a reaction, though that might do it. People who work with marijuana, growers, and budtenders, have higher rates of cannabis allergies, possibly because they’re around it so often. Yet, a nearby joint can cause a reaction too. This tends to happen in people with asthma, resulting in wonder – is it the marijuana that’s irritating their lungs or is it the smoke?

Whatever the cause, doctors believe marijuana allergies are on the rise. For one thing, people are fessing up to using dope. They go into the hospital with hives admitting to taking a hit instead of feigning an allergy to their neighbor’s cat. This will make the allergy rates more accurate. But marijuana is also more prevalent in our society, setting the stage for people affected by allergens to visit their doctors and amass antihistamines. Hot stock tip of the day: invest in Sudafed.

When a Marijuana Allergy isn’t

The allergens in cannabis aren’t entirely clear, but pollen is likely the main culprit. As reported by Fox 31, 73 percent of people who have a pollen allergy have issues with marijuana too. But there are other possibilities. THC could be an allergen or another compound in the plant. And mold could be the trigger as well.

Mold is a common allergy and, unfortunately, it’s not unheard of in marijuana. Some people find that, when they purchase high-quality herb, their allergy goes away, allowing them to conclude that they’re not allergic to cannabis, but something on or in the cannabis. To assure you’re not buying moldy weed, inspect the buds before you purchase and know what to look for; mold isn’t always obvious. According to Merry Jane, look for a thin, powdery, web-like substance. Yet, beware, some normal, mold-free strains can have a similar appearance.

It’s always possible to be allergic to different strains too

After all, allergies do this – you can be highly allergic to peanuts but fine eating almonds or good with pine trees but thin-leaved, hardwood trees? What a bunch of birches. You can even be allergic to one type of dog but okay with all other breeds. Most allergies are fickle and there’s no reason to think marijuana allergies won’t be too.

Of course, it’s also possible to have more than one allergy. Your symptoms could be the result of pollen and THC or THC and mold. Allergies aren’t airplane bathrooms: there can be more than one occupant at a time.

What to Do If You Have a Cannabis Allergy?

As mentioned above, some allergies are so minor they’re little more than a temporary bother – they require minimal treatment and affect your life in no real way. But more serious allergies aren’t something to mess around with – allergies can grow in severity, turning fatal if they get bad enough. Thus, if you suspect you have an allergy to cannabis, the best thing cannabis allergy, cannabis edible allergycan do is talk to your doctor. If you aren’t certain how they’ll react, you can try the whole “asking for a friend” routine. Sure, you might get a red mark in your chart, but you’ll never know. A better solution may be openness and honesty – your doctor has likely heard it all.

Purchasing only high-quality cannabis, as mentioned above, is another possibility. This might not be an option – your bank account might not be high-quality material, but, at the very least, purchase from a shop you trust. And always know what you’re smoking.

Finally, track your symptoms. If you notice that you break out in hives every time you smoke a potent strain or you feel off after eating a particular kind of edible, your allergy may be specific to certain types of cannabis (or even the non-marijuana ingredients in edibles).

Tracking your symptoms tells you what to avoid

A marijuana allergy is a raw deal for a pothead; it’s like being the only lactose-intolerant kid at an ice cream social.  But, learning as much as possible about your allergy – your symptoms, your particulars – helps you learn how to control it. Figure this out before you overreact. And don’t’ do anything rash, like cry and sob and throw out your stash!

Jenn Keeler

About the author: Jenn Keeler is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in humorous lifestyle articles. She is one of the few people on earth actually using an English degree. Her heart belongs to the Denver Broncos and her husband. In that order.