Is CBD High in Histamines?
If you're asking this question, you've been down this road.
There's been a painstaking period of learning what foods and substances send you into a tailspin.
Some people walk through life eating whatever they like with impunity.
That's not us!
We have our pre-meal DAO capsules. Our Vitamin C's and Magnesium. We may even have bioidentical progesterone.
We get to avoid spaghetti sauce, aged meats, beer, and avocado.
Whether it's the gut biome or our genetic profile for the immune response (or even occurrences in our ancestor's immune activity!!), we have to be vigilant.
Interestingly enough, there are lots of us out there!
A good 30-40% of the population has allergy issues.
This number jumps to 40-60% for women and there's a tie with age which we'll discuss below.
For severe mast cell activation syndrome, the numbers are lower but the effects more than makeup for the smaller numbers.
So….what about CBD?
- Is CBD High in Histamine?
- Does CBD help with histamine issues?
Great questions and even better answers!
Most importantly, the type of CBD you take can make ALL the difference.
Every other site you see is pushing a type of CBD that will send most people with histamine issues into a tailspin.
I speak from experience (more on that later).
Let's get to it!
A Quick Review of Histamines
Let's get a lay of the land for people who haven't come up to speed yet.
There's a very complex and powerful part of the immune system designed to recognize and quickly remove foreign entities from our body.
The mast cells in our body are the primary guards and their weapon of choice is a hormone called histamine.
Learn all about CBD and mast cell activation here.
The common allergic reactions we see are a result of this chemical (and a few cousins) who are trying to get the outside actor back outside!
- Running nose and itchy eyes
All due to this inflammatory response.
It's important to have!
If a bee stings you, the histamine response quickly moves to get the venom out of the body or isolate it from moving and spreading.
The issue is when it starts to overact with pretty benign things like pet dander and pollen.
This is a function of one of two things:
- Misreading pretty safe chemicals as harmful
- Overreacting to all foreign substances
Either way, it causes quite a bit of suffering.
People with true histamine issues know that it can feel like acute anxiety in the body.
The "coming out of our skin" is a real thing!
There are significant impacts on mood that result from histamine issues.
Check out the connection between histamines and anxiety here for example.
Interestingly, the rate of people with allergies is growing across the board.
Keep in mind that the bulk of our immune response resides in our gut!
The microbiome or good bacteria (hopefully) have a big role there.
It's no surprise we're seeing an issue there with 3-4 decades of:
- Pesticides in our food which affect the microbiome
- Hormones in food and skin products that affect endocrine system (hormones)
- Antibiotics in food and medication which affect microbiome
- Chemicals everywhere which affect both immune and endocrine system
Interestingly, the system in our body which might be taking the brunt of this giant experiment is the endocannabinoid system.
It is tasked with balancing these key systems:
- Endocrine - hormones
- Immune - inflammatory response
- Nervous - neurotransmitters
Okay...two of those might be important for histamine response.
You can learn all about histamines and the endocannabinoid system here.
Let's look at CBD now.
How CBD works with histamines
Not only does CBD (itself) have no histamines, research is showing it has a powerful calming effect on the histamine and allergic response!
First, the research is on CBD Isolate by itself.
This is very important as we'll discuss later.
Probably the most exciting discovery with CBD deals with the "setting" of the immune response to allergens.
The immune system has two default settings...T1 and T2.
- T1 is the attack mode - more inflammatory response
- T2 is calmer - can actually be anti-inflammatory
With T1 - something is wrong and we must attack!!
The mast cells get this signal and they're on the warpath.
There's lots of research on CBD's calming effects for histamine but one specific example:
Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma.
You can check out more research on allergy and histamine responses here.
The hyper-allergic response is directly tied to the T1 setting!
CBD has been shown to balance the immune response!
It was also shown to help the gut lining move toxins across and out of the body.
These toxins (both naturally occurring from metabolism and from our environment) can build up at the gut lining and create inflammation.
This leads to a very irritable immune system.
Guess where that leads??
To no good in our histamine response.
CBD has even been shown to help repair the gut barrier which is critical to immune response through the body:
Cannabidiol restores intestinal barrier dysfunction and inhibits the apoptotic process induced by Clostridium difficile toxin A in Caco-2 cells
This technical speak to say that CBD repaired gut lining damage that resulted from the nasty antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Clostridium diff) that's present in hospitals.
Keep in mind that the immune system might just be the most complicated system in our body!
There are so many actors and actions, that's is actually quite beautiful.
It has to be.
It's locked in an arms race against bacteria and virus which can replicate and mutate at such a fast rate…
It's amazing we're alive to tell the tale!
Check out the book, The Beautiful Cure for a taste of how cool this system is.
This article on CBD and Histamine goes through all the different research on how clean CBD isolate affects the different actors involved in the allergic response.
Check it out!
Let's get on to the most important question though.
The type of CBD you take can do more harm than good.
Full-spectrum versus CBD isolate for histamines
Almost every site you go to is singing the praises of "Full Spectrum" CBD.
It's the best. It's the only way. Full Spectrum or bust!
They even coined the term "Entourage Effect" to connote that the different cannabinoids (CBD's chemical cousins from the hemp plant) and other substances work better together.
Two big issues here.
- One...the research on CBD is based on CBD by itself.
- Two...and most importantly to people with histamine or allergy issues…
All that plant material can cause big issues for people with allergy or histamine problems.
CBD isolate by itself does not release histamine and research actually shows it calms the response.
Full-spectrum and/or hemp oil has lots of other plant materials in the bottle.
Flavonoids. Terpenes. Other cannabinoids. Maybe even a tiny amount of THC which people can be allergic to.
Looking at all the research, we're starting to think the "side effects" people have with CBD (usually minor) are due to the full spectrum plant material!
This is especially true for people with allergic responses.
Anecdotally, here's my response.
I tried a major brand of the full spectrum CBD (because it's the best, right??).
I immediately had a scratch in my throat with that clicking sounds I'm all too familiar with.
I then had a fever!
I was so upset.
I really wanted CBD to work based on the research for other issues.
I went through this process 3 more times with some of the biggest brands on the market.
Same results...allergic reactions.
Reluctantly, I tried CBD Isolate with another brand.
No scratch. No fever. No side effects.
Now….we're all chemically and genetically different!
We need to find what works with our profile.
Here's the deal...if you have allergy and histamine response issues, CBD isolate is more likely going to be the best approach.
Since the number of people with allergic issues is growing each year and well over 50%, it reasons that CBD isolate should be the default option for CBD.
That is why we focus on isolate at Indigo Naturals.
We would hate for people to miss out on the benefits of CBD because of reactions to all the plant material in the full spectrum.
Meanwhile, everyone's slinging the benefits of full-spectrum based on...not sure.
The research doesn't bare it out and the last thing CBD needs now is more marketing!
Learn all about CBD and histamines here:
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.