Asthma in Children Can Worsen From Allergy to Secondhand Marijuana

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"marijuana joint" by Torben Hansen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Bryce Hoffman, MD

Allergy & Immunology Fellow
National Jewish Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Secondhand marijuana exposure is expected to increase as personal cannabis use becomes legalized in more states and countries. Cannabis allergy from firsthand use has been reported in adults but allergy in young children exposed to secondhand smoke has not been previously reported. We present a case of a young child with difficult-to-control asthma who was found to have cannabis allergy after being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke in his household. This child’s asthma improved after cannabis was removed from the environment.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Children exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke can become allergic to cannabis, which in turn may significantly worsen their asthma or allergy symptoms. This is particularly concerning as the cannabis may not be suspected as a cause. Parents and physicians should consider the possibility of cannabis allergy in any child with uncontrolled asthma who is being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. This includes any use of marijuana in the household where the patient lives. These children should be referred to an allergist for further work-up.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Further studies are needed to replicate these results with more patients in the future, and to optimize methods of testing for cannabis allergy. We need to better understand how secondhand allergy develops – is it from particles in the smoke, or plant particles left over in the environment? We also need to better characterize cannabis allergy and in particular its cross-reactivity with other plant foods and pollens. 

I have no disclosures.

Citation:Abstract MEETING American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting

Abstract Title: Cannabis allergy in a young child with severe asthma exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke

Author: Bryce Hoffman, MD

Nov 18, 2018 @ 12:20 pm

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