Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil

Can You Be Allergic to CBD Oil?

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This may come of surprise to you, but the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that allergies are the No. 6 cause of chronic illness in the United States.

Since many people have started using CBD oils and other CBD-based or CBD-infused products to help manage their allergies, it only makes sense to wonder if one can also be allergic or develop an allergy to CBD oil.

After all, even allergy medication comes with a long list of side effects, one of which is almost always developing an allergic reaction.

So, how does CBD oil and more importantly, the CBD compound fit into this discussion?

Let’s find out.

Breaking Down CBD Oil

What exactly is CBD oil?

CBD oil is used to describe any kind of oil that has the CBD (short for cannabinoid) compound as part of its formula. 

Further, CBD oil is hemp-derived. It comes from the flowers and leaves of the Cannabis plant (not the seeds, there is no CBD in the seeds). 

The Cannabis plant has two versions:  hemp and marijuana. CBD is more heavily concentrated in hemp and less in marijuana. 

Although CBD is in the marijuana plant, it's much less than the TCH concentration. THC is the intoxicant people experience in marijuana.

Because of that, CBD oil does not make you feel 'high'.

THC and CBD: Cannabis Plant

Comparison Chart


Cannabinoid (CBD)


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Cannabis Plant - Hemp

More heavily concentrated

Less concentrated

Cannabis Plant - Marijuana

Less concentrated

More heavily concentrated

Types of CBD Oil

There are three main formulas of CBD oils on the market: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.

These formulas are important to understand as allergies may come from sources other than CBD.

Stepping back a little....let's start with the fact that the flowers and leaves of the industrial hemp plant are very potent.

This magical plant also has  terpenes and flavanoids that provide additional medicinal benefits over and above just the CBD.

For example, there's a terpene called linolool that's found in hemp and also found in lavender. Linoloo is known for producting a calming effect when injested.

Furthermore, there are other types of cannibinoids too, like Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabichromene (CBC) available from the plant.

When these terpenes, flavaoids, canninbinoids and sometimes even a tiny amount of THC, are added to the CBD, it's called gaining the 'entourage effect'.

The entourage effect simply means you are enjoying all parts and benefits of the hemp plant that is available to you.

THC?

A we mentioned above, there can be, by law, a small amount of THC in the hemp plant. The limit is 0.03% or less (according to the 2018 Farm Bill) and it can be sold across state lines (where legal).

Although you won't feel anything from that small amount of THC, it's still entering your body.

This low amount will normally not be felt by anyone who consumes this little THC.

However, if you are concerned about taking a drug test prefer not to have any THC in your system, or suffer from allergies, we would recommend avoiding full-spectrum CBD.

Or if you have known allergic reactions to terpenes and flavanoids, you'll want to avoid full-spectrum CBD oil.

​Now that we've talked about the entourage effect and TCH, let's look a little further into each formula type.

Full-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil Meaning 

Full-spectrum CBD oil is, also called pure-spectrum. Don't get confused by the two terms if you see them, you can consider them to be the same.  

This formula provides the full entourage effect, including the small amount of 0.03% or less that's allowed in the law.

You can enjoy the extra benefits of the terpenes, flavanoids, and cannanbioids along with the strength of CBD in one product.

Also, if you are highly allergic in general, especially to flowers and plants, you may want to avoid this type of CBD oil formulation. 

Comparison Chart  

Full-Spectrum CBD Oil

Advantages

  • Full CBD concentration
  • Benefits of other cannabinoids in the industrial hemp plan
  • Different concentrations of terpenes offers different bodily effects
  • Offers full entourage effect
  • 0.3% or less in THC keeps the hemp-derived product nationally legal
  •  Offered in powder, capsules, oils, vape, food/drink

Considerations

  • Possible allergic reactions to naturally-occurring terpenes and terpene concentration
  • If concerned about drug testing, the little THC may show up
  • Since cannabis is a plant, may be allergic to CBD

Broad-Spectrum CBD Hemp Oil Meaning

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is different from full-spectrum, but not by a lot. It's also different than CBD isolate we describe below.

In fact, broad-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD offers the same flavonoids and terpenes as full-spectrum.

It also contains the same additional cannabinoids.

Or if you have known allergic reactions to terpenes and flavanoids, you'll want to avoid full-spectrum CBD oil.

What's different?  The hemp in broad spectrum is processed to have 0.0% THC.

Therefore, if drug testing or any THC is of concern for you, but you want the benefits of all the other ingredients in addition to CBD (entourage effect), broad spectrum would be for you.

Also, if you are highly allergic in general, especially to flowers and plants, you may want to avoid this type of CBD oil formulation.

Comparison Chart  

Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

Advantages

  • Full CBD concentration
  • Benefits of other cannabinoids in the industrial hemp plan
  • Different concentrations of terpenes offers different bodily effects
  • Offers full entourage effect
  • 0.0% or less in THC keeps the hemp-derived product nationally legal
  • Won't fail drug test
  • Offered in powder, capsules, oils, vape, food/drink

Considerations

  • Possible allergic reactions to naturally-occurring terpenes and flavanoids
  • Since cannabis is a plant, may be allergic to the pollen in CBD


Isolate CBD Hemp Oil Meaning

The final type of CBD hemp-derived oil comes in isolate form.

That means there is 0.0% THC, flavanoids, terpenes, or other cannabinoids.

The only ingredient is 99% CBD, no other cannabinoids.

Isolate is made by soaking the flower and leaves in alcohol to extract all the CBD from the plant. Then oil is added or it is ground into a powder or crystalline form.

If you have allergies in general and don't want to worry about drug testing, CBD in isolate form would be a good choice.

Comparison Chart  

Isolate CBD

Advantages

  • Full CBD concentration
  • No terpenes, flavanoids, other cannabinoids 
  • 0.0% THC
  • Won't fail drug test
  • Offered in powder, capsules, oils, food/drink

Considerations

  • No benefits from entourage affect
  • May be allergic to CBD (not common)
  • Can't be vaped
can you be allergic to cbd

Allergies and CBD

Plant/Flower Allergies

If you are allergic to pollen, then you'll want to understand how CBD might affect you.

Only male cannabis plants produce pollen. It's the male cannabis plant that produces the high concentration of THC.

The female cannabis plants don't produce pollen are are more widely used for oil and cannabinoid production.

Although no concrete studies have been done on the cannabis plant and allergies, there is evidence that some people might suffer from cannabis.

Terpene Allergies

We went through, in great detail, the way CBD oil is formulated and offered in the marketplace.

With this in mind, we pointed out that you may have allergies to the terpenes that are kept in the formula to the full entourage effect of broad- and full-spectrum CBD.

As a matter of fact, a 2017 study showed 20% of participants showed a fragrance allergy to linalool and 8% to limonene.

Food-Based Allergies and CBD

There are many food groups that trigger allergic reactions in humans. This is important to understand because CBD can have similar structures to those of known allergens.

For instance, a 2008 study tested 32 subjects for an allergic reaction to cannabis, as well as tomato, peach peel, and pollen extracts.​

Interestingly, the study found that the test subjects who were reactive to tomato allergens were also sensitive to cannabis.

Also, they mentioned a cross-reactivity with peach peel.

Along with these foods, the following have proteins that are structurally similar to those found in the hemp family of plants:

  • Almonds
  • Chestnuts
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit

If you are allergic to any of those, there is a possibility that the use of CBD oils might trigger an allergic reaction in you. Its severity, on the other hand, is hard to estimate.

Skin Allergies

If you take CBD-infused topical creams or serums, you could find an allergic reation. 

The reaction could be from ingredients in the cream or serum, or the CBD in it.

Either way, it would be good to stop using the product if you notice a reaction.

Evidence of CBD Allergies

If you try CBD and experience an allergy, you will more than likely suffer from these symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Eye irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Headache

Can CBD Actually Help Allergies?

One of the suspected benefits of CBD is it's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Although there is no clinical evidence yet, there was a 2011 research report where George W. Booz, a professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, noted the following:  

“Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress 'feed off' each other. However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further drug development given its antioxidant (although relatively modest) and anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells … .”

Needless to say, the promise of CBD to help allergies is encouraging but more studies are needed.

Bottom Line

So, can you be allergic to CBD oil?

You can, though you aren’t likely to develop an allergic reaction to the CBD compound but rather the THC compound or other allergenic factors that may have been used in formulation your CBD oil product.

We also recommend consulting with a health professional a doctor before using CBD-based products for managing your symptoms, or at least read the list of ingredients to see if you can spot any known allergens.

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