Health & Wellness

How CBD Oil May Affect Food Allergies

By Aimee McNew

Cannabidiol has taken the health-conscious world by storm in the last few years. It appears as oil, topical creams and lotions, and even in foods as edibles. But for those with food allergies, a top question is whether or not CBD oil is safe for allergies, and how it might affect them overall.

Does CBD Oil Interact with Food Allergies?

More than 32 million Americans have food allergies, with the number who are getting diagnosed rising each year. Allergies can occur for many reasons, but true allergies are driven by an immune system response to a trigger that is harmless for most, but causes a reaction in those who are allergic. Symptoms can range from itching and sneezing to hives, redness, and even anaphylaxis—a swelling of the throat and closing of air pathways that can result in death, if not rapidly treated.

Allergies are not to be taken lightly, especially when foods are the source. While common allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, shellfish, wheat, coconut, and sesame, others can be less common, like tomatoes or strawberries. Beyond that, some foods or supplements can cause cross-reactions, where the protein or nutrients in something resemble another food, resulting in an allergic response. This can be seen in sesame triggering a response in someone with a peanut allergy, or a fish oil supplement triggering a response in a person who has seafood allergies, even if it’s not the same kind of fish.

Supplements and other natural products are a go-to for many, but when food allergies are present, label reading becomes essential, and concerns over cross-contaminants or cross-reactions can make it pointless to try new products.

CBD oil products can be contaminated, as any other supplements could be, depending on their manufacturing facility and other ingredients. If you have food allergies, it’s important to seek information from companies about their manufacturing processes.

Beyond that, CBD oil on its own has low allergenic potential, but it’s not impossible to develop an allergy to marijuana or CBD products or to have a cross-reaction. People who are allergic to mold, cat dander, dust mites, or plants have a higher chance of having an allergic reaction to CBD products.

Additionally, certain foods have structural similarities to the proteins found in marijuana and cannabidiol. If you are allergic to any of the following foods, check with your allergist before trying CBD products:

  • Chestnuts
  • Almonds
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Peaches
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Bananas

As with any supplement or product, it’s always important to check with your doctor or allergist to determine what’s safe for you.

Additionally, CBD oil can interact with prescription medications, so never start taking it unless your doctor has cleared you for it. If you ever experience a negative reaction, even mild, while taking CBD oil products, discontinue immediately and seek medical care. The next reaction could be more severe.

Can CBD Oil Reduce Food Allergies?

No one likes having food allergies, and the internet is filled with tips and tricks for ways that people can try to lessen or get rid of their allergic responses. Bear in mind that this is almost never scientifically backed and that the internet never replaces personalized medical advice.

With CBD oil’s rise in popularity and impressive list of health benefits, many who suffer from allergies of all kinds are turning to this anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety natural remedy. Many allergic reactions happen because of an alarm raised by the immune system, resulting in a cascade of inflammation and histamine production, both of which can trigger the familiar signs of an allergic reaction.

CBD oil can decrease the inflammatory response and help to lower the oversensitive action of the immune system. CBD oil can also reduce mast cell activation, which causes histamine release. Cannabidiol is utilized in the body via the endocannabinoid system. This contains receptors throughout the body, and some researchers believe that the CB1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system can downregulate allergic response and even topical allergic manifestations, like eczema. More research is needed to prove these effects.

Overall, these benefits could lessen a person’s chances of having a severe inflammatory response. However, it’s important to note that this would be a cumulative effect over time. CBD oil does not replace epinephrine or other immediate treatment for an allergic response. It does show promise as part of future immune modulating treatments to alter the way the body responds to stimuli, but precise dosages and strains are currently unknown and would not result in a precise enough response.

How to Safely Use CBD Oil When You Have Allergies

If you have food allergies but want to try CBD oil, be sure to check that you’re not allergic to any of the foods or allergens that are similar in structure to cannabidiol.

Next, you’ll want to check with your doctor or practitioner to obtain the recommendation of a trusted brand that is free from common allergen contaminants. If you’re using a pure oil product, you’re less likely to have to dig through numerous ingredient sources, but flavored CBD products or edibles will be more problematic.

Always ask questions about cross-contact in the manufacturing process and never assume that an ingredient or product is safe. When in doubt, ask more questions or skip it.

If you want to eat CBD oil edible foods, it is safest to make your own so that you can control the cooking process, including surface contamination and ingredient selection, from start to finish.

Bottom Line

If you have food allergies, CBD oil isn’t automatically off the table, but as with everything else, it warrants research and caution. Be sure to investigate if a product is safe for you and don’t assume that the health benefits will outweigh any potential negative results. If you’re trying a product for the first time, start small, and be on the lookout for possible adverse reactions, however small they may seem.

CBD oil has a promising future as a potential support aid for those suffering from allergies of all kinds, but more research needs to be done to determine how exactly to achieve this result.

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