Smoking marijuana may help ease symptoms of a cold, but it may also irritate the lungs.
As temperatures drop in the winter months, the cold and flu season goes into full gear. There is still no cure for the common cold, but could marijuana help to ease uncomfortable symptoms?
Scientific research has found that marijuana can help to relieve pain and open up the airways in the lungs, but it can also make mucous and coughs worse for some people.
Depending on how you consume marijuana, how often you use it, and the type of cold you have, marijuana can have different effects on your cold symptoms.
Can Marijuana Relieve Cold Symptoms?
There is some evidence that marijuana can help to ease the coughing, congestion and pain that you feel while sick.
Other symptoms of the cold virus, like a runny nose, happen when the immune system is trying to fight off an infection. By reducing immune system activity, marijuana can potentially ease these symptoms.
There is also lots of evidence that marijuana can reduce pain, meaning some people may find that their headache or sinus pain is alleviated by getting high.
Many people also find that their cold symptoms make it hard to fall asleep when they’re sick. In this case, marijuana may help you to get better rest in the short-term while your body recovers.
Does Marijuana Affect Your Immune System?
Some people believe that lowered immune function makes the body less able to fight off infection, and could make a cold last longer.
Others believe that by acting as an immunosuppressant, marijuana can weaken the body’s ability to fight off early cold symptoms that the body could normally keep under control, and turn sore throats or the sniffles into a full-blown cold.
But there is no scientific study that has shown this to be the case.
In reality, the effects of marijuana on the severity or duration of a cold are likely minimal, especially in people who have a normally healthy immune system.
But one situation where marijuana use can make you sick is when the route of administration transmits the virus to you from someone else.
Sharing pipes, joints or vaporizers with someone who is sick can easily spread infection to other people. It is important not to use any device where you may come into contact with the saliva of someone who is sick.
Can Marijuana Make A Cold Worse?
Some symptoms can be made worse by consuming marijuana when sick, but the effect is temporary, and does not actually make you sicker.
For example, some people report that marijuana makes them feel dizzy and disoriented. This effect can be more intense if you are already suffering from blocked ears and a headache.
People that are experiencing stomach upset may also want to avoid consuming edibles, especially if it is their first time doing so.
It is important to note that certain methods of ingesting marijuana are gentler than others if you are suffering from a cold.
Longer-term smoking can also lead to chronic bronchitis. The risk for developing bronchitis is highest from smoking tobacco, but smoking marijuana can also increase the risk.
If you are suffering from a chest cold, it is better not to smoke marijuana. Vaporizing, edibles, and oils are an alternative option that won’t irritate the lungs.
The Bottom Line
Without enough scientific research, it is hard to say exactly how marijuana will affect your cold. Overall, getting high while sick likely won’t have a major impact on your symptoms or recovery time.
Depending on your symptoms, marijuana does have the potential to help you feel better. If you do choose to use marijuana to help your symptoms, it is always best to go slowly and pay attention to how your body reacts.