CBD for Allergies Like Hay Fever or Rhinitis: How it Works

Allergies can be annoying to deal with. The constant sneezing, itching, and congestion can disrupt your everyday life. CBD is being shown to assist with managing allergy symptoms, helping to clear up that runny nose. It works as a natural immune system support through the endocannabinoid system, lowering the impact of allergens that irritate the respiratory system or skin. Taking CBD for allergies can be a great way to help promote homeostasis in the immune responses that soothe allergic reactions like puffy eyes or red skin. Many people are now opting for it as an alternative to over-the-counter medications to alleviate allergy symptoms. These medications often come with unwanted side effects. CBD on the other hand is all-natural, extracted from plants and has few side effects. Let’s take a look at whether CBD helps with allergies, why you should consider it and how to use it.

Understanding Allergies

Allergies are caused by the body’s immune system overreacting to particles in the environment called allergens. These can include anything from pollen, pet fur, grass, dirt and even certain foods. Different people react to different allergens based on their genes and unique physiology. Not everyone has allergies and they can display distinctly in each individual. Allergies can be triggered by a wide range of substances. For example, some people may be allergic to certain medications, insect bites, meat or even plastics. 

Immune Reaction and Histamines

For people who have allergies, allergens will trigger immune reactions causing histamines to be released. Histamines cause familiar symptoms of allergies, such as sneezing, itching, and inflammation. The immune system perceives allergens as harmful and reacts accordingly, stimulating inflammation in the affected area. Where a person is exposed to allergens will be the site where this reaction occurs. For example, someone with a grass allergy who touches grass will get a rash or hives on their skin in the area the allergens contact. Someone with allergies is particularly sensitive to allergens and has a heightened immune reaction to them. This hypersensitivity can vary from person to person, with some individuals experiencing mild symptoms and others facing more severe reactions.

Seasonal Allergies

Allergies can get particularly bad at certain times of the year because of the increased presence of allergens. For example in Spring when flowers blood, high amounts of pollen can be released in some areas causing intense allergic reactions and histamine release for some people. In Australia certain plants such as wattle are renowned for being major allergy triggers and can release large quantities of fine pollen, irritating the sinus and nasal passages.

Because histamines are produced by the immune system, normalising the immune response is key to lowering allergy symptoms. The endocannabinoid system in the body plays a key role in homeostasis for many systems such as immunity. Cannabinoids like CBD help this system to downregulate histamine production and keep its levels normalised. They do this by stimulating homeostasis and pushing the body’s internal state back to baseline. Endocannabinoids produced from this system are anti-inflammatory and aid immune cells in signalling correctly to avoid overreacting when it comes to allergens.

Common Allergies

Allergies can manifest in a variety of ways depending on the person. For some people, an allergic reaction can even cascade and affect multiple body regions or tissues. This can even become dangerous in individuals with extreme reactions, a phenomenon known as Anaphylaxis. Immediate medical attention is needed in these cases and typically doses of Epinephrine to prevent the body from going into shock.

Allergy Types

For more mild cases of allergies which are common, they usually fall into one of several key categories. Seasonal allergies happen during certain times of the year because of dust or pollen. This is also known as hay fever, the name coming from hay grass which causes allergic reactions in spring for many people. Food allergies are another category. Some people can be allergic to foods like nuts, dairy, meat or shellfish. If they eat it the reaction can cause gut discomfort, hives or even anaphylaxis in severe cases. 

Asthma is also an allergic response to allergens. Allergic asthma affects the lungs and airways. It’s accompanied by chest tightness and trouble breathing because of airways constriction. Asthma is worsened by dust or smoking and usually needs a puffer to treat. It can significantly impact a person’s daily life, making it important for individuals with this condition to manage their symptoms and avoid triggers. Allergic Rhinitis occurs from chronic respiratory allergies like hay fever. It is typically most experienced in the sinus and nose, causing watering eyes, sinus blockages and runny noses. It can be triggered by various allergens, including pollen, dust mites, and hair. Allergic rhinitis can be particularly frequent during certain seasons or in environments where allergens are prevalent, such as dusty homes or those with pets who are shedding hair. 

Food allergies are another type of allergy that can have varying degrees of severity. Some individuals may experience mild discomfort, such as an itchy mouth or hives, while others may have severe reactions, including anaphylaxis. Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, eggs, milk, and soy. It is essential for individuals with food allergies to carefully read food labels and avoid consuming foods that may contain their allergens.

Symptoms of Allergies

Symptoms of allergies vary depending on the individual, their unique physiology, the severity of their allergies, underlying health status and the allergen itself. In addition, the quantity and length of exposure can play a part. Common signs someone has an allergy to a substance usually surface in a similar way to immune reactions. They include redness, itchiness, congestion or phlegm, hives, rashes, watering eyes and running noses.

Less common may also occur and display more specifically to certain individuals or allergens. For example, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea as a result of food allergies. Skin allergies can cause itching, redness, and swelling in the affected area. It is important to note that allergies can affect different individuals in different ways, and a comprehensive understanding of symptoms is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective management.

An Introduction to CBD

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is known for its therapeutic properties. When it comes to CBD for allergies, there is a lot to understand.

What is CBD?

CBD is a natural compound extracted from hemp plants. It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes via lipid and enzyme signalling. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining balance, or homeostasis, within the body.

Within this system, there are two main types of receptors. Each is located in varying amounts throughout the brain and body. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system. CB2 receptors are predominantly located in the immune system and peripheral tissues.

When CBD is consumed, it is absorbed into the blood. It is then processed by the liver before being passed to the cannabinoid receptors. It interacts with these receptors, influencing the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain. In the body, it helps with nerve cell and immune cell signals. It normalizes cell function, supports metabolic health and promotes a normalised state of balance within the body. The endocannabinoid system interaction is what gives CBD its potential therapeutic effects. Endocannabinoids produced from this system like anandamide are excellent in working to calm the immune reaction and histamine production associated with many allergies.

Today in Australia you can find a wide variety of CBD products for allergies. Some people use CBD oil for their allergies while others may prefer to take gummies, tinctures, edibles or sublingual’s. There are a range of ways to take CBD and each can be effective in calming allergic symptoms. Importantly, CBD doesn’t get you high. It’s not psychoactive like the other main cannabinoid found in hemp called THC. That’s because CBD is extracted from industrial hemp in Australia. It’s regulated to contain less than 0.3% THC content, making it much safer and purer to take without intoxication. Since it was legalised in 2021 CBD has seen a large surge in popularity and use amongst those with asthma, rhinitis and other allergic conditions.

How Does CBD Work?

CBD helps alleviate allergy symptoms of hay fever, rhinitis and other allergy types by reducing inflammation and modulating the immune system response. The overreaction of the immune system from allergen exposure leads to the release of inflammatory molecules, resulting in symptoms like sneezing, itching, and congestion. CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the immune system to help regulate its function and prevent excessive immune reactions. Furthermore, CBD has been shown to have antioxidative and stress-relieving properties, which can contribute to its benefits in managing allergies. Inflammation is a key component of allergic reactions, and by reducing cell damage and oxidation, CBD may help to build resilience against disruption from allergens. For example those with hay fever will be less sensitive to pollen when using CBD. They’ll experience much less symptoms of hay fever like nose runniness, mucus build up, itchy eyes and congestion.

Additionally, CBD has effects on pain sensation, stress and mood regulation. Chronic pain and mood disorders are often associated with allergies or worsened by them. Individuals with asthma for instance can become irritable and stressed when asthma attacks or chest tightness occurs. By lowering stress and calming the mind through the CB1 receptors CBD can help with the overall minimisation of indirect issues caused by allergies. 

It is important to note that while CBD shows promise in managing allergy symptoms, more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and safety. As with any supplement or medication, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating CBD into your allergy management routine. This is particularly true if you have severe allergies or are at risk of anaphylaxis. 

Is CBD a Good Antihistamine?

An antihistamine is a drug which is used to inhibit histamine production. It does this by acting on the histamine receptors called H1 and H2. Antihistamines block their activity, Antihistamines are medicines often used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever, hives, conjunctivitis and rhinitis. They can help reduce symptoms like red eyes, runny nose, blocked sinuses and watery eyes.

CBD has been studied for its antihistamine capacities through endocannabinoid activity. While it isn’t as potent as compounds like fexofenadine hydrochloride at directly blocking histamine signalling, it can certainly offer similar abilities in calming the immune activity resulting in histamine release. CBD is a good antihistamine but not a substitute for more powerful pharmaceutical antihistamines in those with bad hay fever.

Does CBD Help with Sinus Congestion?

For many with allergies, the sinuses are a sensitive region that can become inflamed, blocked or runny when signs of allergic reactions start. Histamines can cause the build-up of phlegm or nasal congesting mucus which is produced from allergic responses. It can cause facial pressure, discomfort and stuffiness. CBD can help clear the sinuses by aiding with immune regulation and preventing excess mucus from being produced. This can help relieve problems like postnasal drip, congestion and blocked noses. Using nasal decongestants or saline washes may also assist and can be used in tandem. It’s important to identify the underlying causes of the allergies to help avoid them in the longer term.

The Science Behind CBD and Allergies

Scientific studies have explored the potential benefits of CBD in managing allergy symptoms. More clinical insight is needed to identify the mechanisms behind endocannabinoid and cannabinoid benefits for immune function and normalising histamine production. Preliminary findings are promising though and signal it is an effective anti-allergy compound.

CBD’s Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation plays a key role in allergy symptoms. When the body is exposed to an allergen, it triggers an immune response that leads to inflammation in the affected area. This inflammation can cause discomfort and irritation, making allergy sufferers miserable. Fortunately, CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the itchiness, swelling and irritation caused by allergies. Endocannabinoids like 2-AG produced from the endocannabinoid system are responsible for this, lowering prostaglandin and other inflammatory agents from being created.

CBD inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and promotes the release of anti-inflammatory calming molecules. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may not only provide relief for common allergy symptoms such as nasal congestion and itchy eyes but also help with more severe allergic reactions, such as asthma attacks or hives. It can even be applied to the skin topically to help with rashes or skin blemishes from allergies.

Normalising Immune Function

In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, CBD has also been found to modulate the immune response. Endocannabinoids help regulate the immune response, ensuring that it remains balanced and does not go into overdrive when exposed to allergens. CBD’s impact on the immune system extends beyond allergies. It has been studied for its potential in managing autoimmune diseases, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues. By modulating the immune response, CBD may help reduce inflammation and provide relief for individuals suffering from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Effectively cannabinoids like CBD are immunosuppressive and work to prevent immune responses from escalating and getting out of hand.

While the exact mechanisms through which CBD influences the immune system are still being investigated, researchers believe that it acts to improve the signalling or regulation of immune cells, such as T cells and B cells. In particular, it stimulates the macrophage cells which produce the T cells and helps them in identifying pathogens or allergens correctly. Avoiding dysfunctional immune system attacks and irritating tissues unnecessarily is key to the magic of endocannabinoids.

CBD Products for Allergy Relief

There are various CBD products available that can be used to manage allergy symptoms. Finding the right form and dosage may require some experimentation, as everyone’s response to CBD is unique and will vary based on factors like body size and physiology, plus the severity of their allergies.

CBD Oils and Tinctures

One of the most popular ways to use CBD is through oils and tinctures. These products are taken sublingually (under the tongue) and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. CBD oils and tinctures offer precise dosing and are convenient to use. They can be measured by the drop easily using a dropper. You can take it directly into the mouth or mix it into foods, beverages or even candy to mask its taste.

CBD Edibles and Capsules

If you prefer a more discreet and convenient option, CBD edibles and capsules are a great choice. These products contain a pre-measured dose of CBD, allowing for easy consumption. They are a good solution for those who don’t like the taste or texture of CBD oil. CBD capsules for allergies are great in helping soothe stomach irritation and may help with gut health.

Topical CBD Products for Skin Allergies

For localized relief of allergy symptoms, topical CBD products such as creams and lotions can be applied directly to the affected area. These products are absorbed through the skin, providing targeted relief. Many include calming moisturising agents, vitamins and nutrients that will also assist treating the rashes or irritating red patches that allergies can cause.

Potential Side Effects of CBD

While CBD is generally well-tolerated, it can cause some side effects in certain individuals. It’s important to be aware of these potential side effects before using CBD for allergy relief.

Some reported side effects of CBD include dry mouth, drowsiness, and changes in appetite. These side effects are usually mild and temporary. However, if you experience any severe or concerning symptoms, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional. Side effects are rarely seen with CBD use, even in high dosages. Avoid taking CBD with other allergy medications as it could worsen side effects.

Interactions with Other Medications

CBD can interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and anti-allergic or asthmatic drugs. Its due to CBD being processed by the liver. Enzymes for detoxification in the liver can be downregulated when CBD is consumed which can affect the metabolism of other compounds. If you are taking any medications, it’s essential to speak with your doctor before trying CBD. They can help you assess the risk involved and tailor the right health solution or products to your specific needs.


CBD is not a cure for allergies, and individual responses may vary. Some people see marked improvements in their allergic response and a reduction in reactions to pollen or other allergies. Others don’t seem much improvement or have too severe a response to be suppressed effectively enough by cannabinoids. But for many people in Australia with allergies, CBD has become a godsend. It’s helping them treat excessive allergic reactions with a natural, calming and health-promoting tool. Using CBD for allergies appears safe, well-tolerated and effective based on growing research studies. It works through the endocannabinoid system which helps regulate immunity and helps control T cell plus histamine production and activity. Histamine causes most allergies which appear through common symptoms like red eyes, runny nose or hives. While allergies can happen for many reasons like rhinitis, a change of seasons or food allergies, each can see benefits from CBD. Try it today to help assist you in better managing day-to-day allergies and improve your quality of life.