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October 20, 2016

Does Cannabis Cure the Common Cold? (This Ginger, Honey, Cannabis Tea Will Make Anybody Feel Better.)


We've all been there. The scratchy throat and increasing lethargy after a few days of feeling off. The common cold takes a lot out of you and leaves you desperately reaching for anything that might help you feel better. Turns out, cannabis might be one of your options.

Can Cannabis Really Help Fight a Cold? How?

The common cold is caused by a viral infection that affects most of us (except for those enviable superhumans who somehow manage to never get sick!) at least a few times a year with well-known symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat or sinus pain and pressure.

Colds are usually a minor nuisance but they can be problematic for young children and other at risk groups, including people with compromised immune systems or asthma.

Cannabis can help soothe many symptoms of the common cold because of the natural anti-microbial properties of CBD which can help fight the virus. Cannabis can also reduce the pain or discomfort brought on by sinus pressure. CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties which can open up the sinuses and relieve pressure.

THC can reduce pain and help you sleep, so your body can rest and recuperate faster. Headaches and migraines are another common symptom of colds that cannabis can help manage.

Treatment Strategies

Consider using edibles or extracts rather than smoke as it is likely that marijuana smoke may further irritate your lungs during a cold and exacerbate an unproductive cough. Some people even recommend brewing a mug of weed tea. Just remember that THC is not water soluble so a source of fat (milk, cream or perhaps butter--Bulletproof CannaTea, anyone?) is needed for this approach to be effective.

While there are anecdotal claims that cannabis may act as an expectorant it is generally considered prudent to avoid any form of smoke inhalation when your lungs are already sensitive.

Stopping Your Immune Response

Dr. Robert J. Melamede, chairman of the biology department at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has found that marijuana's dampening effect on the immune system could make it useful for treating your cold. He also believes cannabis may be helpful in reducing the impact of more serious viral infections like the swine and avian influenza strains.

However, this should be weighed against personal experience and common sense. Many regular medical and recreational cannabis users suggest that while cannabis use reduces the severity of their symptoms it also may increase the duration of your cold.

The Endocannabinoid System

Cannabis can supplement your body's natural encocannabinoids that are released during immune response. Cannabis can attenuate (calm and regulate) the immune response to keep it from becoming excessive.

Cannabis also has antioxidant properties which can make it helpful for people fighting (or resisting) colds. Recently, cannabidiol (CBD) has become popular because it may help strengthen your immune system. CBD sourced from hemp is legal nationally and is being recognized as a beneficial supplement for fending off the common cold and other illnesses that show up during cold seasons.

Marijuana is a Superfood

The Chalkboard Magazine recently featured hemp oil on its website as an ingredient in an immune-boosting superfood tea. Omega 3 fatty acids (found in hemp and cannabis oil) can help to reduce inflammation in the body to not only reduce the symptoms of the common cold, but also work to strengthen the immune system against other viruses.

Here are a few ideas for using cannabis as a superfood or immune booster:

  • Combine cannabis with turmeric to boost its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Brew cannabis into tea with other herbs like ginger, lemon and honey for a double whammy.
  • Try mixing some cannabis-infused honey into your favorite herbal tea for a soothing treat.
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