Now that spring has arrived in the United Kingdom, almost a third of people will suffer from hay fever. The principal treatment is antihistamines, although these can have considerable side-effects of blurred vision; drowsiness, the most common side-effect; dry mouth; headaches; and lightheadedness. Children and adults with epilepsy, glaucoma or heart, kidney or liver disease might not be able to take them. Another option is hypo-sensitisation, where a person’s immune system is gradually made accustomed to pollen under medical supervision, but this is considerable hoo ha.

CBD relieves hay fever. Photo: John Seb Barber

CBD relieves hay fever. Photo: John Seb Barber

You’d be better off with CBD, which has no significant side-effects. There can be appetite changes, fatigue and nausea, but these go away if you reduce the dosage. If you’re allergic to pollen, you might also be allergic to cannabis, which produces hay fever-like effects, so watch out for this. CBD reacts to some medications, so speak to your doctor before using it for hay fever if you’re on something. Don’t take CBD and antihistamines at the same time.

Just what is hay fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction where the immune system overreacts and makes excessive histamine. This can damage the body. CBD rebalances the immune system and prevents excessive production of histamine.

Hay fever is an allergy. It’s set off by pollen in the air. This enters the body through the respiratory tract. It is inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes. It’s formally known as allergic rhinitis or pollinosis.

“Hay fever” is a misnomer; the body isn’t reacting to hay but to the plant proteins in pollen. The familiar symptoms of hay fever in the eyes and nose are just the tip of the iceberg. Blood vessels are dilated and the nasal mucosa swells. There’s also an inflammatory reaction in the immune system. There could be earache, headache, itchy mouth and throat and poor sleep. There can even be skin rashes in the form of allergic dermatitis or eczema.

When do you get hay fever?

Hay fever season begins in spring. It used to be that hay fever sufferers were fine until March, but this time has shifted closer to the start of the year on account of climate change. Hay fever season might start as early as December.

How CBD is good for hay fever

With mucous membranes in the body becoming inflamed by hay fever, it’s wonderful that as a number of studies, including this one, show, CBD reduces inflammation. Another study, published this time in 2005, found CBD to lower the amount of histamines in the blood. Or there was the study that established a connection between CBD and a reduction in itching caused by hay fever. If hay fever causes insomnia, CBD has a calming effect, relaxing the muscles; in a study published in 2019, the quality and quantity of sleep improved for 67% of participants who took CBD.

How to take it

If you want to take CBD for hay fever, start before the peak of the flowering season. You can know when this is by consulting a pollen count calendar or even an app. If the case is acute, you can double the dose.

Other things you can do

As the NHS will tell you, you can lessen hay fever symptoms by wearing shades, showering and vacuuming regularly and putting Vaseline around your nostrils to stop pollen from getting in. Another trick is to remove pollen-laden clothing after being outdoors.

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