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?
Due to federal prohibition on cannabis, there is not much research into smoking weed when sick. There is currently no evidence that smoking weed with a cold is unsafe, nor is there any evidence that it is beneficial. However, there are various ways to ingest cannabis - and some ingestion methods may be better options when you are sick than others. For example, you could make a throat-soothing edible like bhang, or you could smoke or vape flower grown from weed seeds. Of course, smoking with a cough poses different risks than simply getting high while sick. You should choose an ingestion method that doesn't worsen your symptoms.
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. So, does weed help with a cold?
Cannabis may help you manage your cold symptoms as it 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?
Smoking weed when you are sick may worsen cold symptoms like sore throat, phlegm, or cough. In general, smoking weed while you are sick may not be the best idea. However, as we mentioned, you don't need to inhale cannabis smoke or vapor to benefit from cannabis' healing compounds. Many people suffering from cold symptoms take edibles. Is it safe to use weed edibles when you are sick?
Cannabis edibles could help you feel better when you have a cold, although it depends on the severity of your symptoms and your personal preferences. If you are a regular cannabis user experiencing a mild cold, an edible might make you feel better.
Cannabis edibles may be beneficial during a cold due to the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of cannabis. 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.
While edibles may make you feel better when you have a cold, it can be dangerous to combine weed with over-the-counter cold and flu medicines. For an in-depth look at interactions between cannabis and cold medicine, check our article Weed and Nyquil: Is It Safe? But in short, combining cannabis and cold 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 is unlikely to make much of a difference in a healthy adult.
Many people wonder if they can smoke weed when they have a cough. As smoking induces coughing and respiratory issues, it is generally a good idea to avoid smoking cannabis - or even vaping cannabis - until your cough has passed.
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.
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 are wondering if you can get sick from weed, you might want to read our article on Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome.
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