There isn’t any evidence that smoking weed while you have a cough, cold, or the flu is inherently unsafe. But does it make sense?
If your throat and lungs are already irritated, smoking may exacerbate your discomfort. Smoking weed has short- and long-term effects on lung and respiratory function.
You may also find that your body responds differently to weed when you’re sick. Both smoking weed and common illnesses such as the flu can cause fatigue, chills, and headaches. You may feel these effects more intensely when you’re sick.
You should also keep in mind that you can spread your illness to others by sharing a joint, bowl, or bong.
Read on to learn more.
Can smoking relieve any of your symptoms?
At this time, there isn’t any available research on smoking weed while sick with the cold or flu. Research exploring the use of weed for medicinal purposes is still extremely limited.
Although there may be benefits to smoking weed while sick, it’s unclear if they outweigh the potential negative effects.
According to a comprehensive , there’s evidence that weed smoke has anti-inflammatory properties.
Inflammation plays a role in a number of cold and flu symptoms, including:
- sore throat
- swollen nasal passageways
Weed’s anti-inflammatory properties might help relieve some of these symptoms, but more research needs to be done to understand the exact benefits.
The same concludes that weed is an effective treatment for chronic pain among adults.
Chronic pain is ongoing. It’s different than the acute aches and pains caused by a cold or the flu.
Still, it’s possible that smoking weed could help relieve pain associated with short-term illnesses such as a cold or the flu.
A of research on cannabis and sleep indicates that weed’s active ingredient, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may help sleep in the short term.
Given this, smoking weed might help you sleep, but when you’re sick with a cold or the flu your sleep cycle might already be altered.
However, long-term weed use is associated with tolerance to the drug’s sleep-inducing effects. In other words, if you’re a regular user, weed might not be as effective in helping you sleep.
Regular Marijuana Use While Sick
For many marijuana advocates and aficionados today, “regular cannabis use” can range from several times a day to a few times a week. That being said, how regular marijuana consumption will affect one’s health while sick depends largely on how the herb is consumed and in what volume.
For example, if a heavy cannabis smoker is exacerbated with a sore throat and respiratory funk, it’s not a good idea to continue with their standard smoking regiment. Moreover, smoking cannabis while experiencing the on-coming of a sore throat can very well turn a minor physical impediment into a full-fledged affliction. In a similar vein, regular edibles consumption should be curbed while experiencing stomach issues, both minor and major.
With the aforementioned notions in mind, during cold and flu season people should structure their cannabis intake around personal thresholds and physical markers. Also, remember that the passing of a pipe or joint around a large group of people is a great way to spread, or contract, a viral infection.
Potential Medicinal Benefits of Cannabis
While a majority of media attention surrounding medical marijuana has to do with terminal epidemics like cancer and aids, cannabis actually has an array of applications for less severe illnesses. To this end, research into potential medical applications of cannabis concerning common sicknesses presented some promising findings. Here are some ways in which medical marijuana can be utilized during cold and flu season:
- The pain nullifying properties of THC can be beneficial for those suffering from the “aches” of the common cold—aiding in both sleep in relaxation during these tough times.
- CBD has some serious anti-viral applications; some doctor’s feel that regular CBD consumption can actually help fight-off the common cold and flu.
- An individual’s endocannabinoid system can easily become depleted while sick—this occurs as one’s body consistently defends itself against a virus. Marijuana consumption, including both THC and CBD rich strains, can help replenish these endogenous cannabinoids that are depleted during sickness. By refreshing the endocannabinoid system, people can potentially heal from sickness more efficiently.
- Marijuana can act as an “anti-inflammatory,” helping to open up airways and passages in the human body otherwise inhibited by being sick.
Why Does Marijuana Make People Feel Cold?
Here’s a funny story. A few years ago, a friend, our children, and I took a trip to Niagara Falls. On the way, we stopped at Duff’s Wings to try their famed Buffalo wings.
My daughter used a toothpick to taste a drop of Duff’s “Death Sauce” hot sauce. She cringed at the unbearable heat.
My friend laughed at her cautious consumption. Then in a show of manly strength, he plunged a french fry deep into Death Sauce and plopped it in his mouth.
The kids and I stared at him jaw-dropped. “It’s not that bad,” he tried to pretend, but within seconds, sweat dripped from his face and neck. A short bit later, he was bleary-eyed and vomiting in the bathroom.
The death sauce didn’t kill him, but for the rest of the drive to Niagara Falls, he was uncomfortably warm because eating chili peppers can make you feel hot. He was suffering from capsaicin-induced hyperthermia.
Does cannabis make you hotter?
There are a few reasons why the cannabis plant can make you cool. Not only is the herb most commonly consumed in the form of a hot vapor or smoke, but compounds in the herb trigger the TRPA-1 receptor as well.
Unfortunately, much of the research on the subject has been conducted in rodents, not in humans. However, the hypothermic effects of THC were noted in scientific research back in the 1970s. In the 80s, more rodent studies found a connection between cannabis and a lowered body temperature.
While researchers think that the TRPA-1 receptor is at play, additional research suggests that cannabis may also affect body temperature in a more complicated way.
TRPA-1 is not the only type of cell receptor affected by cannabis. Psychoactive THC and other compounds in the herb work their magic in the human body by connecting with cell sites called cannabinoid receptors.
Research has shown that cannabinoid receptors may have a powerful influence over temperature regulation. Cannabinoid receptors make up a part of a much larger endocannabinoid system (ECS).