UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Selective cannabis strain allergy in a patient presenting with a local allergic reaction Stepaniuk, Peter; Kanani, Amin


Background: Cannabis use is growing domestically due to recent legalization in many jurisdictions. There are two main species of cannabis, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica, and thousands of different commercially available cannabis strains. Although there are multiple reports of cannabis allergy in the literature, to our knowledge, there is no prior published report of selective cannabis strain allergy. Case presentation: A 31-year-old male was referred for allergy assessment due to several episodes of localized pruritus and erythema after direct contact with various strains of cannabis. He had noted that the severity of his reaction appeared to be strain dependent. He developed a severe local reaction involving bilateral periorbital edema shortly after coming into direct contact with one particular strain of cannabis. He denied any adverse symptoms after inhalation of cannabis. Fresh skin prick testing was performed to various strains of cannabis and had positive testing to the three of the five tested strains. Conclusions: We believe this is the first reported case of selective cannabis strain allergy based on patient history and skin prick testing. This case report outlines the variability in different strains of cannabis and stresses the importance of further research into cannabis allergen identification. Multiple cannabis allergens should be included and incorporated into commercial extracts when they become routinely available.

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