More on Medical Cannabis
Does CBD have the same effect as antihistamines?
When I got on the plane ten days ago on my way from Alberta to the coast, my first thought when I settled into my seat and buckled my seatbelt was, “Damn! I forgot my allergy meds!” My seasonal pollen allergies are debilitating, at least when I’m on the coast.
For several months, in some years starting as early as late February and lasting until August, swollen, itchy eyes, runny nose, and a scratchy, swollen throat made my life miserable. When things got really bad, my eyes would swell shut and I’d look so dreadful small children would look away when they saw me.
In the mountains, the pollens are different and my symptoms are pretty much non-existent. Plop me back on the coast at this time of year, though, and it only takes a few hours before I’m grinding my fists into my eyes and (almost) longing for the return of winter.
If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you’ll know that about a month ago I was given a prescription for CBD oil to help manage pain in my arthritic hip while I wait for hip replacement surgery. (If you missed that story, the link’s below).
All week, I was half expecting a flare-up on the allergy front, but I was totally symptom-free until yesterday when my son-in-law attacked the yard and some tall grass with the weedwhacker. Pollen floated everywhere and, sure enough, I felt that old familiar eyeball itchiness… That was the moment when it occurred to me that it might have been the low CBD dose I’ve been taking each evening before bed that had been holding the allergy symptoms at bay.
Rather than reaching for my usual default oral antihistamine (the backup plan without the potent prescription allergy meds I’d forgotten back in Alberta), I took some CBD oil. A few drops under the tongue and within about ten minutes, no more itchy eyes!
I just checked the allergy rating on my weather app and here in Victoria the grass pollen rating is HIGH. This morning I took another small dose of CBD and remain symptom-free. This, of course, sent me off to the land of Google to see what I could find out about CBD and allergies.
CBD Oil and Allergy Relief
CBD is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, so it makes sense that when the sensitive tissues around the eyes get agitated, then a dose might help calm things down.
Though there’s limited research available, it seems that cannabinoids may act on mast cells (the cells responsible for releasing histamines in an allergic reaction) in a similar fashion to antihistamines. In the past (for me), traditional antihistamines were extremely effective for the first few doses but quickly lost their potency and were basically useless after about a week of regular use. This is why we had to ramp up control efforts and each spring I’d have to use a steroidal nasal spray. While that was very effective, I wasn’t all that keen on having to take anything with steroids for several months each year.
I have no idea whether this same diminishing returns effect would occur with CBD oil and, as I’m leaving today to head back to the much less aggravating (in a pollen-esque sense) atmosphere of the Rocky Mountains, I won’t be able to provide more information. However, it would seem that in the short term at least, a few drops of oil under the tongue have shut down whatever ‘oh-my-lord-pollen!!!!!’ reaction my immune system was considering.
Note: I am NOT a medical person of any kind. Just reporting my observations and contributing to the conversation in case this might be a discussion you want to have with your physician. As per my earlier post — see link above — I’ve embarked on this CBD experiment on the advice of three different physicians and was somewhat skeptical when I began.
I am curious to hear about the experiences of others, so if you have tried CBD for allergy relief, how did it work for you?