Summer is well and truly underway, and while most people are excited for days out at the beach or lake, BBQ evenings in the back garden and just generally enjoying the outdoors in nice weather, but not everyone is that lucky.
For some of us, summer signals three more months of allergy-induced coughing, sneezing, sore eyes and just general discomfort.
Allergies are a chronic disease that causes the immune system to perceive certain substances as harmful. Seasonal allergies such as Hay Fever, or pollen allergies, range in severity from a mildly inconvenient runny nose, to painfully swollen sinuses, hives and dangerously restricted airways.
When a substance is perceived as harmful, the immune system then overreacts trying to protect the body from harm, sending chemical signals to the body’s mast cells to release histamines into the bloodstream. Histamines boast the blood flow to the part of the body affected by allergens, such as the nose and throat, helping to protect the body and remove allergens from your system. This increased blood flow leads to inflammation, which then triggers the immune system to begin repairing the affected areas.
Put simply, if an allergen affects the nose, histamines will cause the membranes in the nose to produce more mucus to flush the allergen out, which then leads to a runny nose, irritated throat and a cough.
There is currently no known cure for allergies, although there are a range of over the counter and prescription pharmaceuticals that help ease the symptoms of allergies including tablets, steroid inhalers and nasal sprays. These medicines work to suppress, or at least reduce, the release of histamines into the bloodstream, and therefore reduce the symptoms of allergies.
But these often come with unwanted side effects such as nausea, dizziness and drowsiness. There are of course many other herbal and alternative treatments too, from eating locally sourced honey to making tea with wild nettles.
The latest alternative treatment for seasonal allergies? CBD!
Current research suggests that it is possible for CBD to act as an antihistamine, taken orally in oil or tablet/capsule form, effectively stopping the body’s mast cells from releasing histamines into the bloodstream. As with traditional allergy medication, stopping or at least reducing the amount of histamines released by the mast cells, reduces inflammation in the nose, sinuses, throat and mouth, leading to less sneezing and coughing.
Other side effects, or indicators, of allergies are hives, rashes, and general skin irritation. As with other allergy symptoms there are pharmaceutical treatments, such as medicated creams and balms. But, CBD skincare products become more and more popular, allergies sufferers are beginning to explore whether topical CBD products can also help to ease and treat skin allergies. Whether using a topical lotion or balm, or an oil, users claim that applying CBD directly from the skin helps reduce the inflammation of rashes and skin irritation and soothe the itch.
Research into how CBD can help allergies is still in the early stages, and therefore what we currently know about it is largely anecdotal. However, research continues, and advocates claim CBD can work in the same way as traditional antihistamines, with the added benefit of reducing skin irritations and reducing stress associated with histamine production.
Although CBD has no known drug interactions, always consult your doctor before changing allergy medication or adding CBD to your healthcare routine.
Do NOT use CBD in the case of anaphylaxis. In cases of anaphylaxis immediately call emergency services, CBD will not reverse anaphylaxis.
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