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Learn | 09.25.2023

Is It Save To Smoke Weed While Sick?

Picture this: you’re nestled under blankets, a trusty tissue box within reach, and dealing with the dreaded sniffles and sneezes of a sick day.

As you reach for your cold medicine, your gaze lands on your glass pipe resting on the coffee table. The question surfaces: “Could my favorite strain help soothe these symptoms?” 

Sure, we’ve heard many tales from cannabis advocates that the green goddess is a cure-all for many ailments – from minor headaches to chronic pain; its benefits are notorious for being wide-ranging for symptom relief. 

Faced with the flu, most people instinctively reach for a cocktail of painkillers and decongestants from the pharmacy shelf, following the conventional path to recovery. But the growing understanding and acceptance of cannabis’s medicinal potential have led many to explore alternative healing routes. 

Cannabis’s two well-known compounds, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have shown incredible promise as natural pain relievers and symptom mitigators, encouraging many to view cannabis as a possible contender in cold and flu treatment.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to pause and consider: Amidst the personal testimonies, what does scientific research say about cannabis’s role in mitigating flu symptoms? Does it help or hinder recovery

Let’s explore this topic and uncover whether your cherished herb is a friend or foe when you’re feeling under the weather. 

Is Smoking Weed While Sick Safe?

The use of cannabis, though celebrated for its vast wellness properties, is not always a one-size-fits-all remedy when you’re unwell. 

The interplay between cannabis and illness isn’t fully charted, with scientific research only offering glimpses into its potential benefits and risks. 

Adding cannabis to your over-the-counter cold and flu medicines could intensify drowsiness and impact cognitive functions.

It’s also important to remember that although sharing may be caring, that mantra is not applicable when it comes to passing around a joint, bong, pen, or pipe when you’re sporting the cold or flu. 

So, where does this leave us? Well, smoking weed when you’re battling cold or flu sickness isn’t technically off the table, but it isn’t scientifically justified either. It’s more of a ‘maybe, with a side of caution’. 

Overall, your best strategy is to always listen to your body and seek professional advice when needed. After all, we want our relationship with Mary Jane to be a healthy one, right? 

In the following sections, we’ll take a look at the benefits and risks of smoking cannabis while battling your sickness. 

Can Smoking Weed Help with Common Cold Symptoms?

Though there is not a one-size-fits-all remedy, there is some evidence that suggests cannabis could provide a certain degree of relief from the discomfort that comes with the common cold or flu. 

Let’s tune into the potential harmonies cannabis can create amidst your body’s symphony of sniffles and sneezes. 


Headaches are an all-too-familiar symptom of the common cold, often taking on the form of a persistent, throbbing metronome. 

Cannabis, particularly strains rich in CBD, may dial down the volume of your headache that is associated with your common cold or flu. 

While it is not a cure, it can certainly take the edge off, making your cold a bit more bearable.

Puffy Eyes

With its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis may offer some relief to the sore, puffy eyes that often accompany a cold. 

Cannabis could bring a certain level of comfort that your over-the-counter drops may struggle to deliver, although, it’s important to remember that this might not be the fast-forward to your authentic recovery.

Aches And Pains

Cannabis has taken center stage in numerous scientific studies as a potential pain reliever, often focusing on chronic pain. 

However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it might also alleviate the temporary aches and pains that tag along with the cold. 

While you may not be leaping out of bed, a bit of bud may help the time under the blankets a tad more comfortable. 

Inflamed Sinuses

Cannabis’s anti-inflammatory properties could potentially extend their benefits to inflamed sinuses, a classic discomfort experienced during a common cold. 

Remember, smoking of any kind will only aggravate your already-inflamed sinuses. So, other forms of consumption are recommended. 

It might not be a magic fix, but cannabis could lend a helping hand in your symptom management toolkit when used responsibly. 

While cannabis can offer symptomatic relief, it should complement a broader health strategy including adequate hydration, rest, and nutrition. If symptoms persist or worsen, prompt consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial.

Can Smoking Worsen Your Symptoms?

The dual nature of cannabis is a curious one. On one hand, it can act as a balm for some cold-induced discomforts. On the other, it can exacerbate certain symptoms, adding a not-so-harmonious note to your recovery process. 

Sore throat 

Your throat may feel like you’ve been gargling gravel, so lighting up a joint probably isn’t the wisest move. Just as with any smoke, cannabis smoke can be an irritant. 

If you’re already grappling with a sore throat due to a cold, smoking weed might intensify the discomfort, inflaming the gravel into full-fledged boulders. 


Long-term smoking of weed has been associated with chronic coughing and excessive phlegm production. 

If a cough is already punctuating your every sentence, introducing the weed smoke to your lungs could intensify this symptom, making each breath a struggle.

Stomach pain 

The reach of cannabis extends to your gastrointestinal system, where it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, potentially leading to discomfort or even inflammation. 

If your cold or flu already has you feeling unsettled in the stomach, smoking weed could be adding fuel to the fire. 


The dizzying dance of a cold can be disorienting. Cannabis, with its potential to lower your blood pressure, may add a few more twirls to your routine than you intend. The result? Enhanced feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness. 

In essence, while cannabis may offer a comforting hand in some instances, it can also sharpen the edges of certain symptoms. It is crucial to remain in tune with your body’s symphony, engage in informed conversations with your healthcare professionals, and chart the best course for your recovery. 

Does Weed Interact With Medications?

Navigating the labyrinth of medication and its potential interactions can be a daunting task. While generally, cannabis shows no significant adverse effects with over-the-counter (OTC) flu drugs, combining it with sedative OTC medicines like Nyquil may negatively impact cognition and alertness. 

Concurrent use of cannabis and antibiotics is usually not advised. Both substances often metabolize in the liver, which can amplify the effects of either and possibly compromise the antibiotic’s effectiveness. 

Common flu medications deemed relatively safe to use alongside cannabis include:

  1. Decongestants, for relieving a stuffy nose
  2. Expectorants, aiding in mucus clearance from airways. 
  3. Pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, for flu-related aches and pains. 
  4. Antihistamines, managing allergic reactions and some flu symptoms. Some cause drowsiness, potentially amplified by cannabis

While these medications are generally safe, always consult with a healthcare provider before combining cannabis with medications. Individual responses can vary, so a tailored approach is paramount. 


Does smoking make a cold worse? 

The effects of smoking on a cold can vary from person to person. It’s generally acknowledged that smoking exacerbates certain cold symptoms, like a sore throat and coughing. 

Smoking can also suppress the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off viruses. It is usually advisable to avoid smoking when you’re suffering from a cold. 

Is it okay to smoke if you have Covid 19? 

As a respiratory disease, COVID-19 can be worsened by smoking, making it harder for your body to fight off the virus and recover.

The act of smoking involves deep inhaling and exhaling forcefully, which could also spread the virus if others are around you. 

It is advised to not smoke if you’re suffering from COVID-19, and if you do choose to consume, consider alternatives such as edibles or tinctures. 

Can I smoke if I have strep throat? 

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes a sore and scratchy throat. Smoking can further irritate an already inflamed throat, exacerbating the discomfort. 

Smoking can also interfere with your body’s ability to fight off infections, potentially prolonging the recovery period 

It is not advised to smoke if you have strep throat. 

Will edibles help with a sore throat? 

Cannabis edibles could potentially provide relief from a sore throat, especially those made with soothing ingredients such as honey or ginger.

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