Can marijuana cause weird allergies and skin rashes?

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

Can pot cause skin rashes? I recently returned to pot smoking after a 40-year absence. Weird red rashes have broken out in the most unusual places—behind my ears, on the palms of my hands, in the creases beside my nostrils, behind my knees. And they itch like crazy.

I’ve swapped out all of my soaps, skin lotions, shampoo, after-shave, etc. (all of which I have been using for years) but nothing seems to help. I don’t think I’m having a typical allergic reaction to any of those types of things.

I went to my doctor and he said it was psoriasis, but gave no explanation why it would come on so suddenly and in such weird places. I told him I recently started smoking pot again and he pooh-poohed it. I left his office feeling totally frustrated. Could it be a reaction to something in the weed?


The answer is yes. Pot can indeed cause skin rashes. IANAD (shorthand for “I Am Not A Doctor”), but marijuana allergies aren’t uncommon. I have a few friends who break out in rashes and hives when they are around pot. They are mostly folks who have been in the industry for years as growers and trimmers, so they have become overly sensitive to the pot plant. But someone who hasn’t used marijuana in a while could also be allergic. Bummer.

Listen, marijuana use isn’t for everyone. If your body freaks out when you use weed, I don’t think there is much you can do about it except not use weed. You have my condolences. Maybe you can try it again in a year or two, or start small with a tiny dose and build up your immunity like Wesley did with the iocane powder in The Princess Bride.

Is Canada really going to legalize weed?

—Tim Horton

If I was a Magic 8 Ball, I would say, “All signs point to yes.”

The newly elected Liberal Party majority (they got 184 out of 300-odd seats) in the lower house of the Parliament of Canada ran on a platform that included the words “We will legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana,” and it goes on from there. But you get the gist.

Now that the election is over, they get to have hearings and hold regulation meetings, and meetings to set up the meetings about regulations and community input and backlash and all that good shit that makes democracy great and infuriating at the same time. It will probably be a few years before you can legally buy some B.C. bud, although you could go to Vansterdam, er, Vancouver, and buy some weed right now with no real trouble.

The election in Canada proves again that running on a platform of marijuana legalization is no longer a detriment to winning elections. In fact, being pro pot gives you a better chance at winning. Someone tell Hillary and Bernie. Hell, tell Trump too, just in case.