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Cannabis Column | March 1, 2022

Should you smoke weed when you have a cold? Is it safe to use marijuana when you are sick?

When cold and flu season strikes, it sometimes feels like you can’t escape the stuffy nose, sore throat, and body aches that come with being sick. Is it safe to use marijuana when you have a cold? Furthermore, is it true that weed can help you get better from a cold?  woman taking weed tincture while sick with a cold Due to federal prohibition on cannabis, there is not much research into smoking weed when you are sick. There is currently no evidence that smoking weed with a cold is unsafe, nor is there any evidence that it is beneficial. There is no cure for the common cold. Treatment usually involves reducing cold symptoms with over-the-counter pain killers and decongestants, bolstering your body’s immune system with lemon tea, chicken noodle soup, or elderberry syrup, and trying to get as much sleep as possible. However, cannabis contains a variety of compounds that may be anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, sleep promoting, and fever reducing. As a result, many people use marijuana to ease cold and flu symptoms, but is it safe to smoke weed when you have a cold?

Is It Bad to Smoke Weed with a Cold?

Smoking weed when you are sick may worsen cold symptoms like sore throat, phlegm, or cough. However, it may also have some benefits due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Additionally, cannabis is a highly effective sleep aid and using weed while you are sick to get some extra sleep could speed up your recovery. However, keep in mind that combining weed with over-the-counter cold and flu medicine may increase the sedating effects of both drugs, leading to drowsiness and impaired cognitive function. There is some research (currently only in animal studies) that cannabis may suppress the immune system. Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, with CB2 receptors found in high density on immune cells. As a result, cannabinoids can interact directly with the immune system. Activating CB2 receptors on immune cells leads to suppression of the immune system. According to Dr. Shawn Meirovici, a Toronto-based Naturopath who specializes in pain management, cannabis may have “anti-pyretic or fever reducing properties, due to its ability to suppress the immune system.” While reducing your fever and increasing your sleep may be beneficial when you have a cold, suppressing your immune system may extend the length of your sickness. However, there is hardly any research on how cannabis affects immune function in humans, and many medical experts believe that this immune-suppressing effect of smoking weed while sick is unlikely to make much of a difference in a healthy adult.

What is the Best Way to Get High When Sick?

As inhaling smoke or vapor irritates the lungs and can worsen many of the respiratory symptoms of colds and flus, other cannabis ingestion methods may be better suited to get you through your sick days.woman sick with a cold who can't smoke weed You could add a few drops of your favorite full-spectrum tincture to a cup of warm broth. Or suck on a cannabis-infused cough drop. You could try an infused tea or THC-rich honey product to soothe a cough or a sore throat. If your muscles are aching, you could try a CBD bath bomb. If cold or flu symptoms are waking you up in the middle of the night, you could try a THC capsule or a few THC pills before bed. If you want more ideas about how to incorporate cannabis into your wellness routine—whether you are sick or not—explore our Wellness Center where we answer all of your cannabis-related questions.

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Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that can help you track and optimize the 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the time of day that you consume cannabis, your wellness goals, how much sleep you got the night before, and more. Curious about tracking and optimizing how you use cannabis and CBD? Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.
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