Thinking of Smoking Weed with a Cold? Everything You Need to Know!
‘Ib you dink you dab a code’ (‘if you think you have a cold’ in stuffy nose speak), weed can’t cure your cold or flu, but it can probably make you care less about it! The pain-relieving and anti inflammatory properties of pot are popularly known, but is smoking weed when sick with the cold or flu a good or bad idea? Certainly, if you have a sore throat as one of your symptoms, then smoke or vapor passing though irritated trachea tissue – or up into congested nasal cavities and swollen mucus membranes – is not gonna feel good, potentially making the aches and pains of breathing and swallowing far worse.
If you’re question is specifically, ‘should I smoke weed with a cold’, then know that there are alternatives to smoking cannabis. You could take your cannabis in tincture or edible form, though with the latter you’d have to wait awhile for the effects to kick in; sublingual drops should work about as fast as smoking or vaping. Sans sore throat symptoms however, vaping or smoking weed while sick could alleviate your suffering quickly and help you heal faster. As with many things, there are pros and cons to toking as a tonic, or cure, for the cold or flu.
Viruses are the culprits that are harshing your mellow by making you sick and achy. They often show up as either the common cold or the various strains of flu that go around every year; similar symptoms can be caused by the bacteria responsible for strep throat. Bacteria will respond to antibiotics, but viruses won’t – so when you have a cold or flu virus your best bet is to boost your immune system and ride the suffering out by reducing your symptoms as much as possible. That’s where marijuana use may help. Your body fights back against the assault from viruses like rhinovirus – by far the number one nasty, as well as some 200 or more other bad bugs like influenza, coronavirus, and adenovirus; the results of your immune system trying to repel the viral invaders are inflammation and lots of snot to flush out dead, infected cells, banishing them from your body. Cannabis contains THC and CBD, both full of anti inflammatory properties that may help relieve aches and pains, .
As a cold cure, weed cannot make the viruses just go away, sadly; but pot can make you feel more comfortable, easing your suffering, while you wait for the healing process to run its course and your health to return. And that goes for the flu, too – aches and pains may linger for days, but there’s no reason to be in misery when there’s marijuana to help you mend and to mitigate the suck of being sick. Let’s see how it all works, shall we?
CBD oil created with 0 heat and is left unrefined – now this is sure to get you all the health benefits of the cannabis plant!
Perhaps the easiest way to dose your CBD, these raw hemp oil capsules offer all the positive health effects of CBD without the psychoactive side effects of THC.
As close to hemp in its natural state as you can get, Endoca’s Raw Hemp extract an be taken sublingually for rapid absorption.
(Cannabis cough syrup, image courtesy of John Rosin on Instagram)
Weed For the Common Cold
No matter how hard you try, despite washing your hands obsessively, regardless of wearing a filter mask out in public, sooner or later you are going to get a damned cold. And it’s okay to call it a damned cold, you can even drop an f-bomb, because cold and flu symptoms make you feel just positively crappy. You’re probably familiar with cold and flu symptoms.You’ll have a scratchy-feeling, congested throat thanks to increased phlegm production. Your respiratory system may be hindered by coughing. All of your muscles will ache – all of them; and you will feel fatigue like you just put in back-to-back 12-hour shifts as a crash test dummy – a bad cold is about as wretched an experience as being hung over, but with rivers of flowing mucus thrown in for fun. The one thing you are spared when you have a nasty cold is a fever, that bit of less-than-fun is reserved for flu symptoms. Depending on your immune system, colds can last between 3 to 7 days, though it could take well over a week for symptoms to completely disappear.
Most colds come at you in the winter, so can the cold make you sick? No, actually, there are rare summer colds, too, so it isn’t the chilly temperatures that cause seasonal spikes in colds so much as people staying indoors more with other potentially germy people versus being outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Weed smoking with a cold or flu could alleviate not only muscle aches and inflammation but also help you sleep better – assuming the weed strain you are smoking is a relaxing indica or indica-leaning hybrid, not a stimulating sativa – puffing pot when you are under siege by cold viruses can also distract the cognitive function of simply feeling like crapola; if you are high and feeling no pain, then you are high and feeling no pain and that ain’t bad. You might find yourself chilled on the couch with the remote binge-watching some television show, video gaming or reading a rousing good book.
But there can be some negatives to smoking weed when sick: if you are coughing with a sore throat already or your mucus production is through the roof, then toking could make you cough even more and that could make your dry mouth and throat hurt worse. Mucus-plugged Eustachian tubes and ears can make you dizzy and the psychotropic effects of weed could make that even worse, leaving you woozy; infectious bugs in your gut along with all the mucus you swallow from your nose and throat can make you kinda queasy, and some marijuana strains – particularly sativas – can make you nauseous, or more nauseous if your cold has already got you feeling definitely off digestively.
There are some alternatives to smoking weed like vaping when you have a cold instead and cannabis vapor is generally less harsh than weed bowls, hash pipes or rolled joints. But vapor, too, could irritate a red, raw, and painful throat. Cannabis plant in the form of cannabis tea or CBD oil for cold symptoms or pills (which tend to be the same stuff in tinctures, but with a gelatin capsule wrapped around it) are one way to ingest medicinal marijuana; edibles would be another, again making sure that whatever infused food you munch on isn’t going to further upset your stomach.
Weary about smoking weed while you’re sick? Enjoy the health effects of hemp, but skip the side effects you may want to avoid when smoking cannabis.
One of our favorites is the Anti Inflammatory Hemp & Green Tea from Optamia Teas. All natural hemp combines with California-grown lemons to provide a smooth tasting tea that relieves stress and inflammation.
If you absolutely must smoke weed, try doing so with a high-end vaporizer like the Linx Gaia. Not only is the Gaia beautiful and durably constructed, but it also heats the cannabis plant to perfection. This results in smooth vapor, which should be easier on your respiratory tract.
Another consideration when lighting up and smoking down with a cold is drug interactions. Stimulating sativas could offset over the counter cold remedies designed to help you sleep, and sedating indicas could rob you of whatever little energy you have left. One specific problematic combo is weed and NyQuil, because both can have a sedative effect – again thinking of indicas or indica-leaning strains – and doubling up on sedatives could be dangerous or at the very least make you very drowsy, maybe even knock you out. Of course, that may be what you want – to be able to sleep soundly, but due caution should be exercised. If you are taking NyQuil for your cold, it seems prudent to go slow on any indica or indica-leaning weed strains because of the drowsiness and maybe make sure a friend or loved one is available to keep an eye on you.
DayQuil temporarily quiets your cough, relieves chest congestion, lowers fever, eases body aches, and unclogs your stuffy nose; DayQuil and weed are a little less problematic because DayQuil (the ‘daytime version’ of NyQuil) doesn’t contain an antihistamine like NyQuil does so DayQuil won’t make you drowsy – thus DayQuil is probably a safer bet for mixing with cannabis. It’s been said, and it’s even marketed thusly, that if you want to crash in bed, take NyQuil; but if you need to be alert for school, work or family life then take DayQuil; so, plan your weed use with either NyQuil or DayQuil accordingly.
(NyQuil and DayQuil, image from Rite Aid.Com)
Or, there’s actual cannabis cough syrup, which is precisely what it sounds like: cough syrup with cannabis in it. Detroit Fudge Company, an edible pot product producer in our home state of Michigan, makes a 4oz bottle of cough syrup with 100mgs of THC in it. Cannabis cough syrups can have strengths of 100mg to 250mg of THC and run from $20 on up to around $50 or more. If you can’t find cannabis cough syrup at your local dispensary or provisioning center, then there’s always making your own – and of course, we have a recipe for you because we are awesome that way:
Homemade Cough Syrup
- ½ cup hot water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (to boost immunity while breaking up cold congestion)
- ¼ cup honey (to calm coughs; that’s why honey lemon cough drops are a thing)
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to boost circulation and lower phlegm production)
- 1 tsp ground ginger (may kill cold germs, boost immunity, soothes stomach upset)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (which is anti inflammatory, may also kill cold germs)
- 1 – 2 tbs cannabis tincture (relieves muscle aches, acts as anti inflammation, helps you sleep better if it’s an indica or boosts energy if a sativa, a hybrid would do a bit of both)
What to do:
- Place all ingredients in an 8-ounce, sealable glass jar.
- Screw on the lid, and shake well to mix everything
- Refrigerate and take as needed, shaking up the contents to blend together before each dose.
Dosing: depending on the strength of your weed, on average go with starting at 2 teaspoons per serving up to 1 tablespoon at a time.
Now you can use dispensary-bought commercial tincture – and for that matter you can add tincture to store-bought cough syrup; but for fun and because we’re not done being awesome, here is a quick recipe to make your own cannabis tincture:
Do-It-Yourself Cannabis Tincture
- Decarboxylate 3 ½ grams of ground ganja at 225 degrees for 20 minutes spread out on a cookie sheet.
- Put activated cannabis in a sealable jar or vacuum-seal bag with ½ cup vegetable glycerin.
- Heat jarred or bagged pot in a pan full of water just under boiling for about 1 hour.
- Strain weed particulates out of mixture and chill to use in recipes like the one above.
That’s about it for weed and colds. Eventually your cold or flu symptoms will pass and you will rebound and start to feel more like your old self within a few days to a week or so. When it come to smoking weed or ingesting it, it might get you there sooner and significantly lessen the suffering of the common cold until you’ve fully kicked it. Just be thoughtful about the types of symptoms you’re experiencing and consume accordingly. In general, we know sativa strains can heighten your cognitive function, meaning if you’re already feeling nauseous then this could make your cold worse. Additionally, harsh smoke and vapor from smoking cannabis may hinder lung function and exacerbate pain in the respiratory system. Fear not though, for there are alternatives such as taking capsules or adding oil that enable you to enjoy the cannabis plant’s wide range of health benefits without putting your body in a more difficult situation.
(Cold vs Flu, image from Web MD on Pinterest)
Weed For The Flu
We’ve suffered through a cold with weed in the section above, but what about toking out with a bout of the flu? Is smoking weed with a fever a good idea or a gnarly bad idea? And can weed help with nausea like you get when you have a bad case of the flu? All good questions that we will now explore to the extent of our weedy knowledge.
Flu can make you kinda barfy sometimes, so it might be hard to smoke weed and cough as sometimes happens after a hit, so be sensible and take some CBD to calm your gut, ease your nausea, before doing any weed hits from a pipe or dab pulls from your rig. Weed can help with nausea: smoking or dabbing cannabis allows THC to enter your bloodstream quickly and within minutes it can inhibit the nausea message centers in your brain and settle your stomach down. After that, try a small hit – see how you feel.
So, should you smoke weed with a fever? That’s gonna be another one of those ‘it depends’ things. See, smoking weed tends to lower your temperature, but fever is one of the ways your body fights the infection – so you could reduce your fever somewhat, but prolong the virus’ stay; if the fever is really uncomfortable, then maybe try toking in moderation, bring the fever down a bit and ease the aches and pains that accompany it.
Some say that smoking weed with the flu is fine, but when the symptoms return, they come back with a vengeance; so, you could keep smoking to keep the relieving effects going, just remember to hydrate as much as you can because both the flu and pot smoking can be very dehydrating. As an alternative to smoking weed there are of course tinctures and edibles; but edibles are dicey with the flu because sometimes you can’t keep food down and you could potentially regurgitate the pot treat back up without getting much benefit from it. Cannabis or CBD tinctures are absorbed sublingually, through the tissues in your mouth, and thus don’t directly affect your stomach much; CBD treats the same symptoms as cannabis, but is generally regarded as much gentler and definitely non-psychotropic, you don’t get high when you take it.
Regardless of whether or not you smoke any weed, the flu can be deadly serious and there are times you want to get yourself to the hospital to see an emergency medicine physician: like if you have a fever that climbs to 103° F or higher, if you find yourself having trouble breathing while at rest or with slight exertion, if you experience stabbing chest or abdominal pain, should you feel lasting dizziness or confusion, or whenever you have bouts of severe vomiting. All of these could be signs of dangerous complications from flu. However ERs are dens of other bugs and infections, so unless you’re scarily sick, it’s best to avoid the emergency room when you can.
By the way, there is such a thing as stoner flu, which is flu contracted by hitting off a weed bowl or even bong mouthpiece that someone who is infectious has also hit from and thus you get their flu bug – germaphobia could be a virtue during flu season, maybe wipe the bowl or mouthpiece off between hits.
Here is a vid where a ganja gent talks about weed and your immune system and whether it’s good to use marijuana when you have the flu or a number of other ailments:
Enough of the flu, already – what other common ailments might you consider marijuana good medicine for?
Cannabis Use for Whatever Else Ails You
Strep throat is a generally very uncomfortable infection of the throat and tonsils caused by Astreptococcus bacteria. The main symptom of strep throat is a painful, raw throat where it hurts to even swallow. Other signs you may have a strep infection are a fever of 101° F or higher, visibly swollen and irritated tonsils, white patches on the back of your throat and uvula, red spots on the roof of your mouth, appetite loss, stomach pain, headache, nausea and vomiting, you might even break out in a rash.
Obviously, smoking weed with strep throat would likely increase your sore throat, but tinctures and medibles could be ingested to help provide relief. But it is very important that you go to the doctor immediately and get a strep test, where they jab a giant Q-tip into the back of your throat so they can test for the Astreptococcus bacteria. You doctor will more than likely prescribe an antibiotic treatment course of up to 10 days to kill the vicious, just vicious bacteria that caused the infection. Untreated strep is very dangerous and can lead to an abscess, or pus-oozing wound (sorry if you were eating supper when reading this, but that’s what it is), on your tonsils or the back of your throat; unchecked Astreptococcus could also bring about rheumatic fever – which can damage your heart, brain, and joints – or even a kidney disease called glomerulonephritis that leads to kidney failure.
So, after you have your potentially life-saving antibiotics, you can still treat your strep throat symptoms with cannabis – just not smoking or vaping because, unless you are a hardcore masochist, it will hurt your raw throat unbelievably badly! Helpfully, you can take cannabis-infused coconut oil for strep throat as an anti inflammatory that soothes pain, irritation, and scratchy sore throat; furthermore, it is also antimicrobial, dealing death to bacteria, fungi, and sundry viruses so your endocannabinoid system can kick in and support your immune system, returning you to good health faster. And coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglyceride fats that bind with cannabinoids, boosting their potency. Why, yes, we happen to have a recipe for that, too:
Cannabis Coconut Oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice (lemon soothes sore throats by breaking up mucus and providing pain relief; lemon also contains copious amounts of Vitamin C which can help supercharge the immune system and give it plenty of power to battle the Astreptococcus bacteria)
- ¼ cup local raw honey (honey has natural antibacterial properties, and it offers relief for pain thanks to anti inflammatory properties)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (lubricates mucus membranes, boosts cannabinoid effectiveness)
- 1 – 2 tbs cannabis tincture (remember that from above? Scroll up, if you have to, but the weed will help relieve strep pain, reduce inflammation, and maybe make you care less about it)
- Mix it all together in a small saucepan, warming the mixture on low heat to melt the ingredients together.
- Let it cool slightly and then take canna-coconut syrup with a spoon or mix into a glass of warm water, soup broth or tea.
(Diagnosing strep throat, image from Survival Life on Pinterest)
Now, there are many other non-cold related common ailments that smoking weed – or otherwise ingesting it – can help with. Pot provides proven benefits for a range of medical maladies and complaints, that is why it is being legalized in a number of states for medical use (as well as recreational). Specific conditions that cannabis can treat include epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, chest infections, PTSD, clinical depression, cancer and glaucoma – just to name a few. How to tell if weed is good for your personal medical complaint? Ask your doctor – always a good plan; do some research, the internet is strewn with articles and blogs just like the one you are reading; or ask any medical marijuana patients you may know why they smoke weed to help cure or manage their personal health. As a general rule if whatever ails you involves pain, inflammation, nausea or loss of appetite, headaches or migraines, stress, depression, anxiety or sleeplessness, then cannabis could be the right symptom manager or cure.
(Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome-CHS-l, image from Amanda Day RN,BSN via Slide Share.com)
Marijuana Sickness – Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome
There are mild side effects, as we all know, from smoking pot, and they can range from dizziness, nausea, slight paranoia and jitteriness (especially when you get too high), dry eyes, cotton mouth, or even a sore throat after smoking weed from coughing. However, sometimes the side effects can be a bit more serious.
Can smoking weed make you sick? Although weed is good in so many ways, for sickness, there is also a relatively rare but nasty bad side effect of daily heavy marijuana use that is characterized by harsh bouts of nausea, vomiting, and stabbing abdominal pain: cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. According to a recent South Australian study a probable cause for CHS is a hypothalamic-pituitary reaction to cannabis’ effect on the limbic system of the brain; basically, receptors in your brain stop responding to THC positively and it becomes a very negative reaction resulting in prevention of stomach acid secretion, slowing of gastric emptying, and inflammation of the stomach lining leading to the nausea and stomach pain associated with this condition.
Interestingly, sufferers of this rare stoner syndrome find relief by compulsively taking hot showers. Potential complications of marijuana sickness include muscle spasms or weakness, seizures, kidney failure, heart rhythm problems, shock, and, in some rare but extreme cases, brain swelling; so, this is not something to take lightly if you think that you may have it! If weed makes you feel too sick, then get to a doctor, walk-in clinic or emergency room without hesitation!
A final marijuana malady – and we hesitate to even mention it, though it’s not too serious, is ‘weed head’; if you have it, then it means you are… a person who smokes marijuana regularly. That’s it – see, no worries!
(Resting with weedy tea during a cold, image from Weedopedia on Pinterest)
You know that ‘nighttime sniffling sneezing coughing aching stuffy head fever so you can rest medicine’? Well, that’s cannabis… okay, so that’s a NyQuil slogan – but smoking pot does some of the very same things! Weed and NyQuil can be taken together, carefully – NyQuil contains an antihistamine and is therefore sedating. We don’t recommend you take it with a couchlock-y indica or you could put yourself into a coma-like stupor, unless you are on your way to bed or have cleared your schedule for the day, because you will be napping! DayQuil and weed is a safer bet; you’ll get the cold-relieving properties without passing out, which is a plus when you can’t afford to lie in bed all day. Smoking or vaping while sick can be combined with over-the-counter remedies as long as you are sensible and aware of what the effects of each are. Read cold medicine labels carefully, know the properties of your particular pot strain, and smoke modest amounts of weed with the drug store remedies until you can better assess how they interact. Elsewise, there’s cannabis cough syrup, too, which is a regular commercial or homemade cough elixir with some cannabis tincture added.
A stuffy nose and sore, congested throat is absolutely no fun whatsoever – it is miserable; naturally, you want to do what you can to make it suck less until it goes away. Weed works quickly for aches, pains and inflammation from a cold virus infection, but the smoke from toking can irritate tender tissues in your throat, so cannabis or CBD oil for cold treatment might be preferable in many instances. If you have a cold without a sore throat from coughing, then smoking weed with a cold would be a reasonable remedy to try.
Cold viruses are social creatures and you can get them from touching a doorknob that an infected person has touched, or if a person with a cold sneezes in the same room as you; you cannot get sick from cold temperatures alone, winter weather doesn’t make you sick; rather, it’s the being cooped up with germy people that does it.
Cannabis smoking with the flu doesn’t have the sore throat complication that toking with a cold has, but smoking weed with a fever could work against you if it lowers the fever too much, too fast, and you accidentally prolong the length of the flu bout because the excess body heat isn’t there to finish off the viruses infesting you. Also, while indica weed strains with higher amounts of CBD can help with nausea from your flu, more sativa-heavy strains could actually increase your nausea. So, knowing what is in your weed before you attempt to medicate is pretty important.
Smoking weed with strep throat is ill-advised for the same reason you don’t necessarily want to with a cold, only even more so – a sore throat would get irritated by pot smoke, but with strep you have no real stomach upset, so a weedy edible or tincture would work instead of lighting a joint or bowl; it will take longer if it’s an edible, from half an hour to an hour or more, though cannabis tinctures are sublingually absorbed through the mouth, so they would be almost as fast as smoking while sick.
How to tell if weed is good for you whether you have the common cold, the latest flu bug sweeping through your community, strep throat or any number of medical conditions is to do a little research; there’s for sure a literature review out there for you to peruse (you’re doing it now!) – know the symptoms of your sickness and learn the effects of the weed strains you have access to so that you can pair the best strain with the right disease or temporary ailment. Cannabis smoking itself can make you sick if you develop cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which is a rare condition involving severe stomach issues and treated immediately with hot showers, and cured longer-term by quitting cannabis altogether. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about whether you are a ‘weed head’ because that isn’t a sickness so much a name for someone who hits off weed a lot – and certainly smoking weed is not likely to be a weed cure for, well, smoking weed.
If you are sensible about it, then smoking with a cold, smoking weed with the flu or smoking weed when sick with something else is a good way to ease the suffering of various illnesses; the good herb can’t really cure a cold or the flu, but it can at least ease some of the symptoms until you begin to recuperate – and that is something good to know, and now you do. Gesund heit, have some ganja, and get well soon!
Here is a final video tackling the age old quandary of whether to toke down or not to toke down when sick – enjoy (the video, not being sick, obviously):
Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.
‘Ib you dink you dab a code’ (‘if you think you have a cold’ in stuffy nose speak), weed can’t cure your cold or flu, but it can probably make you care less about it! The pain-relieving and anti inflammatory properties of pot are popularly known, but is smoking weed when sick with the cold or flu a good or bad idea? C