Spring is finally in full swing in the UK. But for many, this time of year is marred by the onset of tears, itchy eyes and runny noses. Hay fever season is upon us.

If you need to take cover in warmer temperatures, you’re not alone. One in four people in the UK has hay fever. That’s about 16 million people — and a few million more tissues and antihistamines needed to save them from sneezing.

As more people claim that CBD can help with pretty much any ailment, some people swear by its ability to relieve hay fever symptoms, but does the science agree?

Hay fever: an overview

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to pollen. Symptoms typically appear during the warmer months, between March and September, when pollen levels are at their highest. When these tiny particles come into contact with your mouth, nose, eyes, and throat, it can cause a mild allergic reaction, resulting in the following symptoms:

  • Sneeze
  • Cough
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • headache
  • earache

Although there is no cure or specific treatment for hay fever, there are several over-the-counter medications that can help relieve symptoms. Antihistamines, in particular, are a popular treatment for allergies and hay fever, but their use is limited by undesirable side effects. These can include drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision.

According to the NHSHay fever symptoms can be reduced by wearing sunglasses, showering and vacuuming regularly, staying indoors if possible, and placing petroleum jelly around your nostrils to trap pollen.

Aside from these little tips and tricks, there is also some preliminary evidence that CBD may offer additional therapeutic relief for those living with hay fever without the side effects of antihistamines.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, plant. CBD isn’t psychoactive, so unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the plant’s mind-altering molecule — it can’t get you high. In recent years, CBD has taken the health and wellness scene by storm because of some of the benefits it offers medical benefits of cannabis without the intoxicating effects.

In the form of Epidiolex, CBD is now an accepted treatment for rare forms of epilepsy. In recent years, scientists have begun studying CBD as a therapeutic tool for myriad other health conditions, including fear and various inflammatory diseases.

How does it work?

CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell signaling network responsible for supporting and coordinating countless biological functions. By regulating our mood, appetite, sleep, pain levels, immune system, and more, the ECS strives to maintain our body’s biological stability.

Although the exact mechanisms of action of CBD are still under investigation, CBD has been shown to indirectly modulate the activity of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. By subsequently altering the signaling of endocannabinoids, our body’s naturally derived cannabinoids, this then helps support the wide range of biological functions coordinated by the ECS. It is believed that this is why CBD seems to have such widespread benefits for our mental and physical health.

Does CBD relieve hay fever?

Research into the effects of CBD on allergy symptoms is significantly limited. Scientists have not explicitly studied CBD and hay fever in human studies, but several animal model studies have shown promising results.

CBD has a pronounced effect on the immune system; it has been shown to be both antiphlogistic and immunosuppressive. Since the inflammation is the most important underlying cause of allergic reactionsCBD can provide some relief from swelling, irritation, and other hay fever symptoms.

in one to learn Researchers published in 2013 used various compounds to induce contraction of throat muscles in animals, a symptom commonly seen in hay fever. Although they found that CBD reduced airway obstruction in response to an antigen, these effects were not seen in response to histamine, a key driver of the body’s allergic response.

That is, a 2019 animal study had a more promising result. Using an allergic asthma model, the researchers found that CBD “reduced the inflammatory and remodeling processes in the allergic asthma model.” If similar effects are seen in humans, CBD could be an effective way to relieve congestion during the hay fever months.

There are also some hints to point out that cannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1, are involved in suppressing the activity of mast cells, which are the immune cells responsible for releasing histamine.

CBD could therefore modulate the activity of mast cells and reduce the release of histamine. In theory, this could decrease the body’s allergic response to pollen without the adverse effects of current antihistamines. However, these effects have not yet been confirmed experimentally.

All evidence supporting the use of CBD to treat hay fever symptoms is based on speculation and anecdotal reports, not clinical data. It can help allergy sufferers, but much more research is needed to verify this and establish the most effective CBD dose for human benefit.

Is it safe?

Several studies have found that CBD is a safe and well-tolerated substance, even in high doses. For some people, CBD can have mild side effects such as changes in appetite, nausea, and fatigue. However, these effects are usually resolved with the right dosage, so the general recommendation is to start low and ramp up your dose.

However, it should be noted that it is also possible for humans to develop one Allergy to the cannabis plant A cannabis allergy causes similar symptoms to hay fever, such as a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and skin irritation. Interestingly, people with pollen allergies are more likely to develop an allergy to cannabis, so this is something to watch out for if you want to try CBD to treat hay fever symptoms.

CBD has also been shown to interact with some medications, so always consult a doctor or healthcare professional before adding CBD to your routine. While not believed to be a harmful drug combination, taking CBD and antihistamines together could be increase the risk of drowsiness. If you decide to take CBD with antihistamines, you can reduce the risk of drug interactions by spreading your doses throughout the day.

How to use CBD

Any CBD product typically falls into one of three categories: CBD isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum CBD. The main difference between them is whether they contain other cannabis compounds and consequently the presence (or absence of) the entourage effect.

Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products are likely to contain terpenes, aromatic compounds that give the cannabis plant its distinctive smell and taste. A animal study found that the terpene alpha-pinene reduces allergy symptoms in rats, so these added compounds may offer additional benefits for people with hay fever.

When it comes to deciding how to take your CBD, your options are far from limited. Here are just a few of our favourites:

CBD oil

Oils are one of the most popular ways to take CBD. By placing a few drops under the tongue, CBD quickly enters the bloodstream and has a rapid onset of effects. It’s an efficient way to get your dose in, but remember that CBD oil has a pretty strong flavor!

CBD gummies

If the taste of CBD oil isn’t for you, CBD-infused gummies are a great way to get your dose in. Gummies give you a consistent (and delicious!) daily dose of CBD that builds up in your system over time. They are generally not as potent as oils, so you may need to increase your dose.

CBD capsules

Capsules are another way to experience the benefits of CBD oil without the taste. Since they have to pass through the digestive system, it takes a little longer for the effects to kick in (between 30 minutes and 2 hours). They also need to be taken with food so that the CBD can be properly absorbed in the stomach.

CBD inhalers

CBD inhalers provide direct and immediate relief through the lungs, so they could be of great benefit to people with hay fever. Because it is a relatively new and innovative delivery method, there is very limited safety data for CBD inhalers. However, they are believed to be safer than CBD vapes.

CBD nasal spray

If you’re looking for a product that specifically targets congestion, CBD nasal sprays can provide direct anti-inflammatory relief to your sinuses and airways. CBD has a fast absorption rate when administered through the nose, so nasal sprays could provide almost instant relief from hay fever.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at ours Beginner’s Guide to CBD.