Diagnosing Cannabis Allergies; Polio Found in Wastewater; and Identifying Violent Patients

Kaitlin Edwards

August 08, 2022

How to Diagnose and Treat Cannabis Allergies

As medical and recreational cannabis becomes legal and more popular — as of 2022, cannabis use for medical purposes is legal in 37 states — the importance of physicians' ability to diagnose patients and manage cannabis allergies increases, according to experts.

Variety of reactions: Allergic reactions include rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma, skin reactions, and anaphylaxis to hemp seed.

Different exposures: Exposure to the allergens can come in various ways, including smoking, eating, inhaling cannabis pollen or smoke, and contact with skin.

"Cannabis can provoke both type 1 and type 4 allergic reactions. Officially recognized allergens include a pathogenesis-related class-10 allergen, profilin, and a nonspecific lipid transfer protein," said lead author of the recent study, Isabel J. Skypala, PhD.

More research needed: Roughly 192 million people use cannabis globally, but owing to its illegality, there has been hampered research and diagnostic challenges. Experts say raising awareness and further research is essential.

New York May Face "Tip of the Iceberg" With Polio

New York state officials urge those who are not immunized against polio to get vaccinated right away, according to The New York Times.

Virus found in multiple locations: The recommendation was prompted after polio was detected in wastewater samples from several locations in two counties north of New York City.

"Based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers should know that for every one case of paralytic polio observed, there may be hundreds of other people infected," said State Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, MD, in a statement. "Coupled with the latest wastewater findings, the department is treating the single case of polio as just the tip of the iceberg of much greater potential spread."

Lower vaccination rates: In the counties where polio was detected in wastewater samples, about 60% of 2-year-olds have completed their polio vaccine course, which is considerably lower than the rest of New York state, where vaccination rates are at 80%.

Can You Identify a Violent Patient?

Concerns over threatening patients has grown after recent attacks against physicians in Oklahoma and California and raise questions about how to identify potentially violent patients.

Proactive strategy: Typically, it's common for healthcare professionals to take reactive approaches to violent patients, but experts encourage more proactive strategies.

Determining trends: One proactive tool is assessing patient populations of past violent encounters to determine trends. The 10-item Aggressive Behavior Risk Assessment Tool (ABRAT) is one specific test that can identify potentially violent patients in hospital medical-surgical units.

More tools: Other tools include the Violent Event Severity Tool (VEST), which is a standardized objective workplace violence–severity assessment.

Better integration: Researchers are working to build apps that seamlessly integrate tools like the ABRAT and the VEST with electronic health records.

Kaitlin Edwards is a staff medical editor based in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @kaitmedwards. For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


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