Allergic disease associated with Cannabis sativa and use has been reported with increasing frequency, although it is still relatively uncommon. A new article published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology presents data on how Cannabis sativa can act as an allergen.

The summary includes case reports on allergic reactions, hypersensitivity, and anaphylaxis to C. sativa in its various forms. The report shows how cannabis pollen or cannabis smoke exposure have resulted in symptoms of allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. Cases of asthma from seasonal and occupational exposure to cannabis are also included in the article.

Regarding treatment, avoidance is recommended. Antihistamines, intranasal steroids, and nasal decongestants can be used for symptomatic treatment. Beta-agonists and an inhaled corticosteroid (if indicated) may be used for asthma treatment, and epinephrine auto-injectors should be prescribed for patients with a history of anaphylaxis.

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The current legal status of C. sativa may prevent accurate reporting by the patient, as well as hindrances in diagnostic, authors note. The changing legal status of C. sativa, its high use across the world, and its various forms may affect its future role as a clinically relevant allergen.

More research is required to define related allergens, develop a standardized extract, set diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, and to to clarify treatment options for patients with a Cannabis allergy.

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