Updated on January 21, 2020.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Cannabis may not be the first remedy that comes to mind when plant pollen makes you sneeze, but some seasonal allergy sufferers swear it helps them cope with their most annoying symptoms.
Allergies are one of the most common chronic disorders, and occur when the body’s immune system overreacts to an allergen. Millions of people suffer from seasonal allergies, or hay fever, with symptoms including watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and sinus headache.
Cannabis-spiked coconut oil to soothe sinus pain
A big part of seasonal allergy treatment is finding a way to avoid the grass and tree pollen that flood the air in the fall and spring, and using medications like decongestants, antihistamines and steroids. Complementary therapies have shown some promise, including acupuncture, probiotics, saline nasal irrigation and even butterbur extract.
Cannabis might help too, according to anecdotal reports, with certain important caveats. Some users say it helps to ease sinus headaches, and to relax the clenched jaw and tense body that can accompany them. But hay fever season is not the time to smoke—or vape—marijuana, which can further irritate the airways. Edibles are a better option. Cannabis-infused coconut oil may be an especially good choice during a seasonal allergy flareup, due to the oil’s antimicrobial properties.
If you are having a flareup of seasonal allergies, steer clear of cannabutter, since dairy products can increase mucous secretions, adding to your misery.
CBD could help fight inflammation, too
Cannabidiol, or CBD, may also be helpful to allergy sufferers, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. If you want to give it a try, be sure to talk with your doctor to ensure it won’t interact with other medications you’re taking.
Rosemary Black has written on food, health, and wellness for Parade, Everyday Health, Quality Health, Practical Pain Management, On Track Diabetes, Endocrine Web, and MDLinx. She also is the author of six cookbooks and the mother of seven children.