Those who use marijuana regularly may be familiar with the tell-tale side effect of red or bloodshot eyes. However, this is not due to CBD but the intoxicating compound in cannabis, THC.
However, over in the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had different findings. The MHRA runs something known as the Yellow Card Scheme. The scheme provides consumers with an opportunity to report adverse reactions after using a specific medicine or supplement.
The AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology) says that cannabis allergy can develop due to “inhaling, smoking, touching, and eating marijuana.” It states that touching the plant could cause rashes, hives, and swelling in sensitive individuals.
Can CBD Oil Cause Itchy Eyes?
It seems that CBD works primarily by increasing the levels of these endocannabinoids to enhance ECS function. This effect means that CBD could be more likely to relieve itching than cause it.
Furthermore, it states that workers in hemp processing facilities may experience higher rates of respiratory problems. The authors point out that most cannabis allergies occur due to smoking and direct handling. However, consuming edibles could also potentially cause a reaction.
Red eyes are the result of THC causing the blood vessels to relax and widen. Many believe that, for the same reason, marijuana could be a useful glaucoma treatment.
Most experts consider cannabidiol (CBD) to have an excellent safety profile and minimal risk of side effects. However, some patients have reported experiencing itching after using CBD oil. Could this be a CBD side effect or merely a coincidence?
A 2013 study from the “Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology” tested 21 patients with food allergies for reactivity to cannabis lipid transfer proteins (LTPs), which are probable allergens. Twelve of the 21 test subjects were allergic to cannabis, and all 12 had more severe reactions to food allergy than those without a cannabis allergy. A 2008 study, also from “Internal Archives of Allergy and Immunology,” tested 32 subjects for an allergic reaction to cannabis LTPs, as well as tomato, peach peel, and pollen extracts. The study found that all test subjects sensitive to tomato allergens were also sensitive to cannabis. There was also cross-reactivity noted with peach peel.
There’s not much in the way of allergy research specifically for CBD oil, but the cannabis plant itself has been linked to allergic reactions in some people. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Considering the increasing awareness and use of cannabidiol (CBD) and the existing potential for pollen and food allergies, allergy sufferers may wonder whether they are at risk for an allergic reaction to CBD oil or whether CBD can provide treatment or relief for other types of allergic reactions.
Dr. Gordon Sussman, an allergist in Canada and professor at the University of Toronto, said there is very little published research on CBD oil allergies.
In addition to the skin, the lungs are another target for allergic reactions to terpenes. Assessing the risk is somewhat complicated because some terpenes are irritants, whereas others, such as eucalyptol, may actually provide a protective, anti-inflammatory role and might help to control inflammatory diseases like asthma and COPD.
Such foods may include tomatoes and stone fruits containing pits such as peaches, he said. It’s a similar cross-reactivity to what is seen in people with ragweed allergies who might experience symptoms such as itchy mouth if they eat fruit in the melon family, he added.
“Touching the plant can very easily develop a dermatitis, itching, and skin reactions,” he said.