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Can Cannabis Fight the Common Cold & Flu?

Marijuana has been taking on a multitude of medical conditions and proving to be helpful to most. It can help alleviate chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, headaches, and many other debilitating symptoms. But, since there is such a lack of research being done on marijuana and the different ways it can help, it is difficult to know just exactly what it can or cannot combat.

Normal Response to a Cold

Whenever you catch a cold or get the flu, your body’s two immune systems (innate and adaptive) gets triggered and then spring into action. Their goal? To attack whichever virus or bacteria that is causing you to get sick.

First in line to start battling the cause of illness is your innate immune system. This is the rapid response system everyone is born with that recognizes a foreign body and begins to attack. [1] If this first line of defense is unsuccessful in destroying pathogens, your bodies learned immune system, the adaptive immune system, springs into action to get you feeling better.[2] This triggers symptoms such as inflammation, a sore throat, and a runny nose.

However, sometimes your natural systems aren’t enough to combat a virus or bacteria and you have to turn to an alternative in order to find relief. Conventionally, that would mean visiting a doctor to get antibiotics and powering through the draining symptoms with a prescription medication. But some people do not respond to these medications very well and are looking for a more natural way to help find relief.

Helps Symptoms from Cold

Extensive research is showing the positive impact marijuana can have on viral infections, but until the completion of the study there is no guarantee it fights the virus itself. [3] However, marijuana can help alleviate the symptoms that come along with an autoimmune response.

The two most popular chemical components in the plant, CBD and THC, have been known to ease symptoms of the common cold. They have pain-relieving, sleep-inducing, and anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease inflammation of the airways, reduce body aches, and increase relaxation. While it is still being conducted, some research is suggesting that CBD even has anti-viral properties.

Consuming Marijuana with a Cold

While it is the most common form of consumption, smoking marijuana is not the ideal method while experiencing an illness like a cold or the flu. The smoke can actually increase irritation in areas that are already inflamed and sensitive from fighting off the infection, like the mucus membranes, making your cough or sore throat even worse. Luckily, smoking or vaping marijuana is not the only way you can find symptom relief. 

Other ways of consuming cannabis, such as in edibles, sublingual drops, or transdermal products, can provide similar relief to smoking without causing the additional irritation to your airways. The bottom line is the easier it goes down, the better, but keep in mind that the ways to dose each of these methods is different than when dosing an inhaled method of consumption. 

Final Thoughts

In terms of fighting the common cold and flu, cannabis shows a lot of potential if dosed correctly. Nonetheless, it can help combat inflammation caused by viruses and bacteria, resulting in a situation that will make you feel more comfortable and easier to heal. Although there is not enough completed research on if marijuana can directly fight infections itself, it can certainly lead our bodies in the right direction towards recovery.

[1] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/the-immune-system

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279396/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26059175

[4] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326487.php#side-effects

[5] https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/smoking-weed-with-a-cold