Does CBD Work as an Antihistamine?
There are innumerable health conditions that plague humankind; diseases, infections, and long-lasting chronic illnesses. For most of them, we have managed to devise all manner of different medications, treatments and ways to try and improve people’s quality of life.
However, there are a few problems that persist in annoying us, no matter how much effort we put into battling them.
One of these endless irritations is the dreaded recurring problem that plagues almost half of all people every single year: seasonal allergies.
Though it might not seem that bad when compared to other serious conditions, allergies are no joke and can leave you essentially debilitated for months at a time.
As has happened with many other conditions in recent years, researchers have begun looking to CBD oil to see if it could help deal with allergies and act as an antihistamine.
So, does CBD oil actually work as an antihistamine?
What Are Antihistamines & How Do They Work?
Before we can explore CBD’s potential powers in battling allergies, we need to understand how antihistamines work, as well as how histamines themselves work.
Histamines are found in nearly every single tissue throughout the human body, stored as a granule in cells called mast cells. Once these mast cells release histamines, it induces a variety of effects on the body, including the dilation of blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
Histamines get released when their mast cells are damaged, which is the body’s mechanism to increase the permeability of the surrounding cells around an injury, allowing white blood cells and elements of the immune system better access to the presumably infected area.
Seen in this way, histamines are an incredibly vital part of the body’s immune system and how it deals with external threats. However, when it comes to allergies everything falls apart.
When you have an allergic reaction, the immune system doesn’t quite understand the antigen that it is experiencing. It doesn’t know whether it is a foodborne allergy or just regular seasonal allergies; the body thinks it has been infected with a potentially deadly toxin.
This causes the mast cells throughout the body to release histamines in massive quantities in reaction to what the body thinks is deadly toxins or damaging intruders. Once released, these histamines bind to histamine receptors on the surface of cells around the body. Once bound to these receptors, the body begins reacting in a myriad of different and unpleasant ways.
When it comes to seasonal allergies, the body thinks that the pollen in the air is actually an extremely dangerous toxin. Thus its blood pressure is lowered and various areas become inflamed, especially those that have come into contact with the pollen.
As a result, allergy suffers will begin suffering from runny noses, weeping eyes, and inflamed, itchy skin.
While this might not sound especially terrible when compared to the horrors of some other conditions, these reactions can sometimes prove fatal. They can lead to serious anaphylaxis, which is the massively dangerous reaction the body has to its particular antigen.
How Do Antihistamines Help?
To try and control the release of histamine cells throughout the body when you interact with an antigen, you can buy antihistamines at almost any pharmacy.
These antihistamines work by essentially blocking off the receptors that are waiting to receive histamines. By occupying the slots that histamines would normally take up, histamines are unable to produce the various effects that they would normally.
There are a few side effects, however. Antihistamines typically induce intense drowsiness as a result of their interaction with the release of certain neurochemicals in the brain.
This means that antihistamines, while still incredibly useful, have some significant drawbacks. Suffering from seasonal allergies or other histamine-induced reactions is never fun, but neither is being unable to drive or go about your day because you are so drowsy from the medication you used to treat your allergies.
Antihistamines may be cheap and easily bought from pharmacies, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all of the options to help treat allergic reactions.
What about CBD oil?
How Could CBD Oil Help?
The recent trend of finding new and interesting ways to use CBD oil, both as a health supplement and as a restorative or treatment option for a variety of different maladies, is an exceptionally good thing for the growth of marijuana industry.
However, not only is it a good thing for those looking for fairer treatment of marijuana and its users; it is also incredibly beneficial for allergy sufferers.
People have begun using CBD oil as a way to try and treat allergic reactions, seemingly under the impression that CBD acts as an antihistamine.
But is it actually an antihistamine?
Sadly, CBD oil doesn’t actually work as an actual antihistamine; instead, it mimics some of the effects of taking an antihistamine, making everything feel a lot better.
For starters, CBD has natural properties as an anti-inflammatory; a study by Nagarkatti et al. for the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry found that CBD is as effective as many other commercially available anti-inflammatory drugs. They found it acts quickly to help suppress inflammation through its interaction within the endocannabinoid system.
Once you imbibe CBD, your body breaks it down and takes it to the endocannabinoid system, a health system that governs a myriad of different bodily functions and is spread throughout the body.
This system has two primary receptors – CB1 and CB2. CBD works primarily with the CB2 receptor. The CB2 receptor is also one of the primary ways that the body controls inflammation. By triggering the CB2 receptor, the brain is triggered to send signals to, in a sense, shut off the inflammation response in the body, getting rid of any pesky inflammation or uncomfortability.
This means CBD is great at acting as a counter to histamines in the body, as inflammation is one of the main reactions caused by histamines, wherever the body is touched by the antigen that sets it off.
Furthermore, CBD is excellent at helping suppress chronic pain thanks to its interaction with the CB1 receptors. A study by Vuckovic et al. for the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that it was the CBD within cannabis that acted on the endocannabinoid system to help suppress pain and make chronic issues more comfortable.
Pain is one of the main problems associated with adverse allergic reactions, especially ones related to seasonal allergies; not only does it cause inflammation, but it encourages an incredibly unpleasant series of pains throughout the body, especially wherever the antigen (in this case, pollen in the air) has touched.
This pain can be headaches, or even just runny noses and clogged sinuses as a result of the blood vessels in the respiratory system being dilated thanks to the lowered blood pressure that histamines induce.
All this works together to make CBD oil a useful treatment for reactions as a result of histamines, but not so much that it makes CBD oil an actual antihistamine.
It is odd to consider the fact that CBD oil actually does provide relief from histamines, but not actually be labeled an anti-inflammatory. However, when it comes to the labeling of certain drugs for different effects, it isn’t good enough for CBD to simply help treat histamine reactions; it would have to actually work as a direct antagonist to histamines to be considered a proper antihistamine.
Final Verdict: Does CBD Work as an Antihistamine?
While it might seem strangely disheartening to consider the fact that CBD isn’t actually an antihistamine, what’s important is that it could still be useful as a treatment for histamine reactions.
The scientific and medical world will never properly give CBD oil the full title as an antihistamine due to the fact that it does not work directly against histamines, nor try and stop their reactions with the body. But, CBD oil can still be used to help make reactions from histamines a little easier to deal with.
If you are one of those unfortunate people that suffers from prolonged and continuous histamine reactions, whether due to foodborne allergies or just allergies to going outside and merely touching a single grain of pollen, CBD oil could be of help.
It is likely best to combine CBD oil with actual antihistamines so as to get the best reaction. Try and find some antihistamines that don’t produce drowsy effects, though they may cost just a little bit more.
Once you can find them, take them at the same time as taking some CBD oil so that you are not only controlling the release of histamines and their interaction with the body, but also their after-effects across the body.
By far the best way to help treat and deal with seasonal allergies, or allergies of any kind, is to mix antihistamines and CBD oil. Just like how Clobazam and CBD work better together to combat epilepsy, CBD oil sometimes needs a helpful partner to help make everything better.