Seasonal allergies are annoying, and bug about 18% of Australia’s population. Thats about 5 million people, or roughly 1 in 6 people. The reasons we suffer from hay fever yearly are usually way out of control of the average person, and over-the-counter quick fixes (aka antihistamines), only mask the real issue.
Not relevant to you? Blessed with clear nasal passages all year-round? Bad news, if you don’t have hay fever now, you could still develop it later in life.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies?
Hay fever is generally thought to be caused by pollen in the air. As the seasons change, the lush and beautiful flora all over your city go through their life cycle. In the first week of spring, trees and grass notice subtle changes in humidity and heat and begin going a bit crazy trying to spread their seeds. They do this to make better use of their greatest energy resource: the sun.
And all to your detriment. With so much pollen in the air, which you are breathing in directly, your immune system enters a defensive state. Pollen begins to be treated as a pathogen, and just like with a flu, you’ll begin to feel congested, stuffy, and ill! The horror!
Check out this pollen-calendar if you’re at risk.
All jokes aside, hay-fever is really nasty and those without it should be thankful.
Fixing hay fever symptoms is hard. Unfortunately, your immune system is a tad bit pedantic, and when it reacts, the rest of the body can suffer in order to lock-down that pathogen. This causes inflammation - one of your body’s most commonly-used reactions to fight off yucky invasions - which for you, just feels awful.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is just a feeling of swelling. It happens when you get a bruise too. That groggy, stuffy feeling in your head? It’s real, actually. Your sinuses are blowing up like balloons, and there ain’t much you can do about it buddy! (or could you? Read on…).
Hay fever is the result of a series of mediators, nerves, defensive cells and antibodies crowding the site of the issue to isolate it. Sometimes, they can get it wrong. But you should thank them regardless because they keep you alive.
A common misconception among people is that hay fever and flu symptoms are a result of the pathogens. This isn’t true. When a virus like that enters your body, it’s actually looking to kill you and make a new home. And apart of its plan, is to replicate itself just like the rest of the animal kingdom, which is why flu’s are so contagious; it’s in the design.
When you feel these symptoms coming on, that’s actually a sign that you’re body is fighting a virus via mucus and other bodily reactions. Part of this is inflammation, and it’s the opposite of what a virus wants.
As much as we need inflammation to be triggered for a flu or nasty virus (had a bit of that going round this year haven’t we), chronic inflammation from a muscle tear, hay fever or joint pain isn’t so helpful. The good news is, we can help tackle this with cannabis products, and here’s why.
Cannabis and Hay fever
If you’ve read anything about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, you’ll know the two greatest factors to its use are pain relief and anti-inflammatory.
When over-the-counter hay fever medications like nasal sprays fail to help, cannabis is here to save the day. It’s great, because it won’t just mask the pain, it will actually reduce inflammation at the source NATURALLY.
So what? You just puff up every time my nose is stuffy? Err, well no, because smoke would irritate the cavities oxygen passes through. That could damage you whilst you are tender, and obviously worsen that inflammation.
So let’s talk about the part of the plant that’s important and how you can use it, the right way.
Here’s the key: Cannabis is chock full of natural chemicals, SHOCKINGLY close to the ones your own body produces for the same effect! In fact, if you ever wondered why they call it “cannabis”, it’s directly because of the similarities between those cannabinoids made in your body (known as endocannabinoids).
See, your own body produces similar chemicals to what’s in the cannabis plant, technically different, but close enough. In conjunction with your endo-cannabinoid system. Endo, meaning from within your body your nervous system produces cannabinoids for various reasons (like anti-inflammation). Technically, every one’s a little bit stoned.
Example: CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate the symptoms of seasonal allergies such as hay fever. While it’s not recommended you smoke cannabis during a hay fever episode, a dropper of CBD tincture would be fantastic.
Antihistamines vs CBD
Side Effects of Antihistamines include:
Side Effects of CBD include:
Low blood pressure.
What About Using CBD & Antihistamines Together?
Women who have ever been on a contraceptive pill will be familiar with the ‘don’t go near grapefruit’ warning. Those of you that haven’t - welcome to the fascinating P-450 system. This is the system in your body responsible for breaking down toxins - aka helps you to metabolise medications like antihistamines. Natural compounds found in grapefruit, St John’s Wort & CBD alike, are known to inhibit the P-450 system, slowing down the metabolisation of medication and therefore making it more likely for you to experience the possible negative side effects of that medication.
This means that Antihistamines and CBD are absolutely not the hot power couple of this allergy season. They don’t play nicely, so go for one or the other.
Accessing Cannabis in Australia
You’ll need medical clearance and a doctor with an open mind. Fortunately, these days it’s easier to do that than before. However, if you manage to get your hands on cannabis flowers, it's quite easy to make cannabutter to be put in edibles.
Check your eligibility for medical CBD.
Buying CBD online can be dangerous, solely because heaps of companies aren’t thoroughly vetted. Cheap, artificial CBD is a no-no. Products with nasty additives are actually more likely to get you sick, than help at all. You want that natural stuff.
So chat with your doctor, and see where it leads.
Looking for powerful pain relief? Check out legal, Australian-made, effective Transdermal Hemp Patches:
“These patches have been great pain relief for my fibromyalgia. Highly recommended to anyone suffering chronic pain.” - Michelle