Smoking Weed When Sick: Does Weed Help With Colds and Flu?


Weed has already proven tons of benefits and good effects on a person’s health and overall wellness. Countless research has also shown that cannabinoids and various compounds found in cannabis have therapeutic effects as well. These health benefits and therapeutic effects range from providing relief when it comes to chronic pain and helping treat anxiety and mental disorders.

Recently, people have been asking about another health claim that is believed to be a work of cannabis. And the question now is, can smoking cannabis be able to help alleviate the symptoms of flu and colds? In recent studies, there have been discussed relationships between cannabis, flu, and the common cold. This article will generally contain the causes of colds and flu, the effects of smoking weed on flu symptoms, and a few other explanations on how weed can work against colds and flu.

Common colds – what causes it?

With COVID-19 infection lurking, having flu these days can be really stressful and hard. You won’t be able to go to a clinic easily to have yourself checked, and getting the tests can truly make you anxious, and they’re a bit expensive too. Similar to the very recent viral infection spreading around, the common cold and flu can easily spread through your workplace or any closed spaces.

The common cold is a very contagious and highly infectious viral infection, and over 200 different viruses can cause it. People come down with the common colds or symptoms of flu when they have inhaled viral particles. These pathogens or viruses will then enter your body after being near someone infected who coughed or sneezed. The rhinovirus is known to cause almost half of the colds commonly. Other viruses that may cause the infection and the influenza virus, a few coronaviruses, and the adenovirus and each of these viruses tend to infect our body’s different mucus membranes such as those found in the mouth, throat, and nose and eventually move towards the lungs and the greater immune system of our bodies.

As our immune system begins to function and fight off the virus, our bodies will then produce more mucus to transport dead and infected cells from our bodies, and the areas tend to become tender and inflamed. This mechanism causes the infected person to experience the symptoms such as runny nose and sore throats that result in coughing and sneezing. These symptoms indicate that you have been infected by the flu virus or have caught a common cold.

Can cannabis relieve cold and flu symptoms?

Since flu and the common cold is a viral infection, no cure exists directly for it. Your body would have to endure and go through the infection until your immune system can defeat the pathogen. Treatments and standard approaches such as decongestants and pain killers are taken to reduce and alleviate the symptoms only. There are also alternative treatments that have been known to provide relief and comfort for people who are down with the flu. These include zinc, ascorbic acid, teas, and other herbal remedies.

Because of the wide range of benefits weed can offer, some have considered its use under herbal remedies to help with colds and flu. There rises the question of whether smoking weed while sick can provide help and benefits. Science and research have already proven how cannabis can provide different health benefits and various therapeutic effects. Weed has also shown its astonishing and helpful effects on serious health problems and issues such as epilepsy, chronic diseases, and mental disorders. Because of its great work towards those conditions, we understand that you would also like to know how weed can work against smaller and simpler ailments such as colds and flu.

Cannabis is known to contain different compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes that have remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. When consumed and used with the right method, it may effectively relieve and reduce the symptoms brought about by colds and flu.


The colds and flu symptoms usually start from inflammation before the sore throat and runny nose starts. As our immune system starts working against the virus, the symptoms will start. The body begins an inflammatory response for a very important reason. That’s to allow the leukocytes or white blood cells to pass easily through the tissues and eventually reach the area of infection.

Physiologically, inflammation serves a very important purpose; however, this immune response will inevitably result in discomfort and even pain. That is why NSAIDs and anti-inflammatory drugs are brought into the picture to help relieve cold symptoms. Cannabis, as we all know, has remarkable anti-inflammatory properties as well, giving it a right of passage when it comes to reducing inflammation in people with colds and flu.

Studies have shown that cannabinoids do not only decrease inflammation but also improve airway conditions. They take effects through signaling the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid systems. Additionally, the effects of THC and CBD help in the inhibition of cytokine production. Cytokines signal the molecules in the body to pilot an inflammatory response.


The pain usually comes after the onset of inflammation, and fortunately, cannabis also has properties that effectively reduce pain. THC and CBD may help in reducing cold and flu-related pain. These compounds will be effective when taken orally rather than applied topically or in a vaporized form. Research has discussed that CBD can enhance and maximize the pain-relieving properties of THC. Therefore, they will work best when consumed in combination. The research was done on laboratory mice, and although they have not been completely tested scientifically on humans, they are considered good references for future studies and research.


Not being able to sleep well is another effect that can result from the discomfort brought by flu symptoms. Curing insomnia or sleeplessness is as important as finding solutions to the other symptoms because lack of sleep can negatively affect our bodies’ immune function. People who are sleep deprived will more likely have a hard time recovering from illness, and they can also easily catch infections. That is why you must get enough sleep so that your body will have the energy to recover fast.

Good thing that cannabis can help us with this concern. CBD has been known to help treat insomnia and help people fall asleep, especially when combined with THC, which has potent sedative effects. Studies have shown that cannabis works well for helping people fall asleep because of its capacity to reduce anxiety and stress while keeping you relaxed.

Cannabis and the immune system

Cannabis truly does affect our immune system, but it has not yet been specifically identified. There have been studies that a few cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant can suppress the human body’s immune system. Constantly suppressing the immune system is not a good idea since these immune responses are responsible for fighting off the viruses that have infected our bodies.

However, some studies found about the immune-boosting properties of cannabis as well. Some compounds in the cannabis plants can boost the production of T cells in the body. These different researches call for more studies to carry out so that we may be able to identify which compounds function as a suppressant and function as immune boosters so that we may benefit and get the best out of their different properties.

Smoking weed when you are down with common colds

We have already mentioned that weed has properties that will be helpful when it comes to relieving the symptoms of cold and flu. And despite the numerous benefits that it can offer, smoking weed while you are down with the flu and colds is generally not a good idea. It is true that consuming weed is beneficial, but smoking is not because of the infection patterns of the colds and flu virus.

Smoking weed might have more negative effects rather than positive ones because the smoke from the cannabis will irritate your respiratory systems like the nose, throat, and lungs. You need to avoid doing that since those are the areas of infection, and instead of adding to the cure, you might worsen your condition, and trust me, you would not want that.

Don’t you worry since we will be discussing the appropriate methods to use when you want to be relieved from colds and flu symptoms with the use of weed or cannabis.

Ideal methods for using weed when you are not feeling well

There are other ways to consume cannabis other than smoking, and that is a good start. We will be presenting these methods that will surely not involve passing hot smoke down your irritated and sure throat and into the rest of your respiratory system.

Cannabis drinks

You may create drinks from your cannabis, and we suggest that you make warm ones like coffee and tea. However, let us remind you that cannabinoids are not water-soluble, so tossing a bud into a pot of hot water will not do any good. You need to create an infused oil that you can mix into your coffee or tea.

To make an infused oil, you will just need to grind and heat your buds at no more than 230 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes and stirring it only once. You can store it in a sterile jar and mix it with a carrier oil, and you will then need to boil this in water for around an hour or two. The finished product can now be added to your warm cup of tea or coffee.

Cannabis oils and topicals

You can easily buy oils, lotions, or ointments nowadays, so there’s no need to fuss about making your own. Various CBD topicals will really be great when it comes to targeting specific areas that are in pain, such as your head or your back. If you are experiencing a sore throat, you may also rub some creams on your neck, near the throat area, and it will truly help. Since you are applying it directly over the skin, you will easily target the source of pain.

Cannabis edibles

This is the easiest and probably the tastiest way to consume cannabis. Edibles can come in different forms, such as gummies and brownies. Most people like this also since this is a very easy and convenient method. Although its effect might take some time before it is felt, the effects will truly last longer. Taking cannabis edibles is perfect if you are picky when it comes to taste or not a fan of teas and coffees.

Will CBD oil help with the common colds?

Although there is no concrete evidence on the aid of cannabis in relieving common colds, studies have suggested that they can greatly help manage the symptoms. High-quality and full-spectrum CBD oils also have many synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes that can greatly help and offer great relief from symptoms.

Will weed interact with NSAIDs and other medications?

Based on experience, some people have claimed that weed can interact with medications, which is true, however not applicable to all. For example, some over the counter medications for flu and colds may cause side effects that is the same with weed. Therefore, taking both at the same time can aggravate and worsen these side effects.

The common side effects of both weed and OTC cold medications include drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, sensitivity to cold, and impaired cognitive function. If you will be taking medications or consume weed, you should avoid driving or doing tasks that will require intense focus.

Potential Benefits of Cannabis for Cold and Flu Symptoms

  • Pain and Inflammation Reduction: THC and CBD, compounds found in cannabis, have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. They might alleviate body pain, headaches, sore throat, and cough.
  • Anti-Nausea and Appetite Stimulation: THC can help reduce nausea and stimulate appetite, which is beneficial during illness.
  • Improved Sleep: Cannabis, particularly THC, can promote relaxation and sleepiness, aiding in rest during illness.
  • Bronchodilation: Infrequent cannabis smoking may temporarily open up airways, a phenomenon known as bronchodilation. This might offer brief relief from shortness of breath or wheezing.

Research and Legal Aspects

  • Limited Research: There is still limited research on the effects of cannabis on colds and flu. Most studies focus on specific compounds rather than smoked marijuana. More robust clinical trials are needed to understand the effects better.
  • Legal Considerations: The legal aspects of using cannabis, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes, vary by region. It’s crucial to be aware of the legal status of cannabis in your area before considering its use.

Final thoughts

Smoking weed when you are sick is a good idea, especially if you have a runny nose or sore throat due to colds and flu. Smoking can worsen the symptoms that you already have, so you have to avoid it. If you want to take advantage of cannabis when it comes to relieving symptoms, you can always consume cannabis through other methods. You can enjoy it with a cup of tea or edibles, or even applying them topically.

We hope that this article has greatly helped you understand the benefits you can get from weed if you are down with the cold or flu.