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Submitted by admin on 3 January 2019

Pediatric allergy to secondhand marijuana smoke

A six year old boy with severe asthma, which was not responding to treatment, was found to be allergic to secondhand marijuana smoke. He had daily symptoms of cough, shortness of breath and wheezing. It was discovered that some family members had started smoking marijuana in the house, although never in the same room as the boy.

Family history showed that the grandmother had developed full body hives when she had tried marijuana in the past. A puddle sample was created with the cannabis used for a skin prick test on the patient, grandmother and a negative control subject.  The wheal diameter of the patient was 9 x 8 mm, of the grandmother was 15 x 8 mm, while the control subject tested negative. A basophil activation test was done, among others, including peach and tomato, which can have a cross reaction to cannabis. The patient showed pronounced differences compared to control and the peach and tomato were negative.

Before the marijuana was removed from the house, the patient’s score on an asthma control questionnaire was 19. Three months after the smoke was removed from the house, his score was 25. His average impulse oscillometry R5- R20 score went from 2.35 to 1.37. 1.50 is normal. This shows improvement in peripheral airway disease.

Asking questions about marijuana use in the home of a hard to control asthma patient, especially a child, may be useful.


  1. Drouet M, Moreau AS, Hoppe A. [Eight-year-old children with numerous food allergy inducer by passive exposition to cannabis]. Rev Pneumol Clin. 2017 Dec;73(6):323-325. doi: 10.1016/j.pneumo.2017.09.002. Epub 2017 Nov 21. French. PubMed PMID: 29169678.