July 13, 2022

CBD & Allergies: Could Cannabidiol Help?

Allergies are a common affliction, affecting over 50 million people in the United States every year.(1)

Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening. And for some people, traditional allergy treatments just don't cut it.

Could CBD be the answer? In this blog post, we'll take a look at the research on CBD and allergies, and explore whether cannabidiol could help provide relief for allergy sufferers.

Allergies: Types, Causes, Treatment

Allergy symptoms and allergic reactions can look like mild itching to severe breathing issues. Someone experiencing allergies could have:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Swollen
  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Digestive irritation
  • Breathing problems
  • In severe cases, anaphylaxis

Types Of Allergies

People also have all different types of allergies, from common foods to harsh chemicals.

Forms of allergies include:(2)

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Drug allergies
  • Insect allergies
  • Latex allergies
  • Pet allergies
  • Skin allergies

Allergy Causes

Allergies happen when your body mistakes something harmless for something hazardous. The body sees this “intruder” as a threat and works to protect itself. This causes your body to release chemicals — like histamines — which cause the symptoms of allergies.

People can be allergic to all sorts of things:

  • Foods
  • Medicines
  • Chemicals
  • Metals
  • Insect stings
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites

Typically, allergies occur when your body reacts to something that doesn't bother most other people.

Allergy Treatments

Allergies are generally treated in a few ways:(3)

  • Allergen avoidance. Removing the allergen from your environment. Installing air purifiers with HEPA filters may reduce exposure to allergens. And environmental modification — like replacing carpeting with hardwood — could help.
  • Medication. OTC or prescription pills, eye drops, and nasal sprays.
  • Immunotherapy. Injections of allergens over years to reduce sensitivity.
  • Epinephrine. Injectable medication to address severe reactions (EpiPen, etc).

Is CBD An Allergen?

CBD — as is hemp — is considered to be well-tolerated by healthy adults who use it properly. Some people may be more sensitive to CBD and experience side effects, which are normally mild and temporary. But, there are almost no cases of true allergic reactions to cannabidiol.

You do, of course, need to be aware of other ingredients in your CBD products. Each ingredient has its own potential to be allergenic.

Can CBD Help With Allergies?

The research on CBD and allergies is still in its early stages.

But there are signs that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties could help to relieve some allergy symptoms.(4)

CBD For Allergy-Triggered Eczema

Atopic dermatitis — aka eczema — is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition. Eczema is characterized by dry, itchy skin that can flare up frequently. One common type of eczema includes allergic contact dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis can happen when the skin touches an allergen like:

  • Poison ivy or poison oak
  • Latex
  • Metal jewelry
  • Cosmetics

Research suggests that cannabidiol might help ease inflammation caused by allergic contact dermatitis.(5) A topical CBD cream might soothe the irritated skin, reducing pain and itching caused by the allergen.

Read more about CBD and eczema in our blog CBD for Skin Conditions: Eczema Elixir Extraordinaire?.

CBD For Food Allergies

There's no cure for food allergies. The only way to avoid a reaction is to completely eliminate the allergen from your diet. And severe reactions could require treatment with auto-injectable epinephrine.

There’s some ongoing research looking at oral immunotherapy — where you’re given small doses of a food with the hope that it’ll help you build up a tolerance over time.(6) This type of treatment is new and still in the experimental stages.

Unfortunately, there's not much info on CBD and food allergies as of yet.

CBD For Pollen, Pet & Dust Allergies

Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for hay fever. It's what happens seasonally for some people when pollen counts are high. Allergic rhinitis can also be caused by pet dander or dust mites.

Animal studies have found that rats treated with a-pinene, a terpene found in cannabis and other plants, show fewer allergy symptoms.(7) Humulene is another terpene found in cannabis that seems to exert anti-inflammatory effects on the airways.(8)

Terpenes might be a key ingredient in cannabis that helps to fight against allergy symptoms. This suggests that a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD — which contains the naturally-occurring terpenes in cannabis — might be more effective than CBD isolate for allergies.

CBD For Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung inflammation and constriction disorder that can get triggered by allergens. In animal studies, CBD has helped to reduce airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in allergic asthma.(9)

This may be because when cannabinoids like CBD interact with CB1 receptors, they have a bronchodilating effect.(10) And the interaction with CB2 receptors is associated with anti-inflammatory effects.

Read more about CBD and asthma in our blog Can CBD Help With Asthma?.

CBD For Allergies: Precautions

CBD is not an approved treatment for allergic reactions. If you're experiencing an allergic reaction, it's important to seek medical treatment. Even if your allergies are easy to manage, consult with your medical team and continue to take your allergy medication as prescribed.

CBD can interact with other medications you're taking for your allergies, so it's important to talk to your doctor before adding CBD into the mix.

Best Type Of CBD For Allergies

If you're itching to try CBD for your allergies, you'll want to look for a high-quality, broad-spectrum CBD oil or full-spectrum CBD oil.

You could also try to isolate CBD, but you won't get any of the benefits of the other cannabinoids and terpenes that’re found in cannabis. On that note, here's a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each type of CBD oil:

Full-Spectrum CBD

This type of CBD retains all the naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the hemp plant.

  • Pros. You get the "entourage effect" where the cannabinoids and other compounds work together to provide greater wellness benefits. With terpenes left in, you can benefit from the mighty anti-inflammatory properties of the oil. May be best for allergies.
  • Cons. The THC content might be higher than you'd like. Or you may live in a state that does not allow for the legal purchase of full-spectrum CBD.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

With this kind of CBD, you get all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — minus all but minute trace amounts of THC.

  • Pros. You still benefit from the entourage effect, and you don't have to worry about potential psychoactive effects. This is great for anyone who needs to do drug testing for work or school. This could also be well-suited to those with allergies.
  • Cons. CBD minus THC might not be as effective as full-spectrum CBD, since THC is also known to be a potent anti-inflammatory.

Isolate CBD

As pure cannabidiol, this variety of CBD only contains cannabidiol and no other compounds.

  • Pros. It's pure, flavorless, and odorless CBD. No hemp flavor. You also don't have to worry about any THC.
  • Cons. You miss out on the entourage effect and the benefits of other cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabidiol by itself might not be as effective for allergies without the other compounds.

Best CBD Products For Allergies

Now that you've narrowed down the type of CBD, you still need to pick the right product for you and your allergies.

Common ways to get CBD into your system include:

Your CBD product of choice may depend on the type of allergy symptoms you're looking to mitigate.

  • Do you experience mostly skin reactions? A topical CBD product sounds ideal.
  • If you suffer from seasonal allergies that leave you feeling congested, CBD oil or CBD water solubles may be better for systemic relief.

CBD softgels and CBD gummies are also easy to transport if you're on the go and need your CBD fix.

Final Thoughts: CBD & Allergies — Could Cannabidiol Help?

Though there’s little human research on CBD and allergies as of yet, the preliminary findings are promising. Research shows that CBD seems to have effects on the body that could help to ease inflammation associated with allergies. 

If you struggle with allergies, and are considering using CBD, it's important to consult with your doctor first. CBD can interact with other medications, and may not be right for everyone or every allergy.

With your care provider, you can decide if a wellness-boosting CBD regimen is right for you.

If you have the green light — give broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD oil a try! A quality CBD product containing all the naturally-occurring terpenes and flavonoids is likely your best bet.



  1. Grayson, M. (2022). Allergy Facts and Figures. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.  https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts
  2. (2022). Allergic Conditions. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions
  3. (2020. Allergies. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/allergies/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351503
  4. Martin, C. (2021). What to Know About CBD for Allergies. Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/cbd-for-allergies-5197753
  5. Petrosino, S, et al. (2018). Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.117.244368
  6. (2020). The Current State of Oral Immunotherapy. American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. https://www.aaaai.org/tools-for-the-public/conditions-library/allergies/the-current-state-of-oral-immunotherapy
  7. Nam, SY, et al. (2014). The therapeutic efficacy of α-pinene in an experimental mouse model of allergic rhinitis. International immunopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intimp.2014.09.010
  8. Rogerio, AP, et al. (2009). Preventive and therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties of the sesquiterpene alpha-humulene in experimental airways allergic inflammation. British journal of pharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2009.00177.x
  9. Vuolo, F, et al. (2019). Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma. European journal of pharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2018.11.029
  10. Pini, A, et al. (2012). The role of cannabinoids in inflammatory modulation of allergic respiratory disorders, inflammatory pain and ischemic stroke. Current drug targets. https://doi.org/10.2174/138945012800675786

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