Smoking is one of the most convenient means of using marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Still, there is the question of whether this method of consumption is safe and effective when you’re down with a cold or the flu. One could argue that there are a lot of health advantages to smoking marijuana, some of which include stress relief and pain management. On the other hand, there may be some health risks that come with smoking the herb while afflicted with ailments, particularly respiratory illnesses.
That said, the answer to whether it’s okay to smoke weed while ill is multifaceted and hinges on your body’s unique response. In this article, we’ll flesh out the benefits—and risks—of using weed while under the weather. And if you’re reluctant about smoking, we’ll look at some best practices as well as alternative ways to get a kick when your body is not at its best.
Benefits of Smoking Weed
While there is limited research available on the effects of weed while sick, some experts believe that smoking a blunt while ill might provide relief for others. Here are some of the potential upsides that come with using cannabis when you’re unwell.
Clinical studies have confirmed that cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main components of cannabis, has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. With this, it’s possible that CBD and weed may help you alleviate flu and cold symptoms such as a swollen nasal canal (stuffy nose), fever, and sore throat.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient of weed, is believed to have a sedative effect that may help you have restful sleep on a short-term basis. As such, smoking weed might allow you to get better sleep if you find that your sleep cycle has been affected by illnesses such as a cold or flu. However, it should be noted that regular, long-term weed use tends to diminish the sleep-inducing effects of THC over time. Still, if you want to explore THC’s potential benefits on sleep, you may want to schedule a THC delivery with a trusted dispensary soon.
Provides Relief for Chronic Pain
Early studies suggest that cannabis has an analgesic effect that translates to short-term relief for chronic pain. Although more research is needed to solidify cannabis’ effectiveness in managing long-term pains and aches, it’s worth mentioning that weed might help with treating short-term sicknesses such as the flu or the common cold.
Drawbacks of Smoking Weed
With all that in mind, you should also consider the potential negative effects of smoking weed while down with short-term illnesses. These include:
Even though there’s no evidence that combining your cannabis with over-the-counter (OTC) medications brings serious effects, you may find yourself feeling extra drowsy after smoking a blunt while sleep-inducing medications are in your system. Intensified drowsiness impacts your cognitive functions, which might make it difficult for you to concentrate.
Additionally, some patients may experience dry mouth, changes in heart rate, and other bodily changes that might get worse when OTC medications are paired with marijuana use. There’s also the possibility of experiencing heightened OTC side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and chills that might deliver discomfort as your body tries to heal.
Suppressed Immune System
Studies show that cannabis may inhibit the immune system and suppress the body’s efforts to fight off viruses. So while weed has potential fever-reducing or antipyretic effects, it may take you a bit longer to heal if you smoke weed while sick. In some preclinical trials involving animals, THC was found to prevent the body from signaling adequate immune responses against various pathogens, including viruses. This has implications for your body’s overall ability to defend against infections.
Various Effects on Lung Health
When you smoke weed through apparatuses such as pipes, bongs, or a joint, you tend to keep the smoke longer inside your body to absorb that psychoactive high. This prolonged inhalation might irritate your lungs and increase your exposure to the chemicals and toxins that come with weed. Constant cannabis smoking, especially when you use low-quality weed, might lead to serious complications like chronic bronchitis and increased susceptibility to diseases like COVID-19.
The Verdict: Generally Safe, but Proceed with Caution
There’s no conclusive evidence that smoking a blunt while afflicted with sickness is outright dangerous, but it still pays to be mindful of how your body might react to the drug. There’s the possibility of experiencing intensified symptoms, but there’s also the capacity of weed to bring relaxing and beneficial effects to your body.
Ultimately, there are no serious hazards that come with getting high while sick. How safe you will be while getting high depends on your body’s response, the frequency of your cannabis use, and the method of consumption. If you want to avert the risks that come with smoking weed while sick, you may want to limit smoking until you get better. Alternatively, you can opt for other methods of experiencing the kick such as consuming edibles, applying patches, or using cannabis topicals. With that in mind, it would be ideal to avoid experimenting with different strains and dosages while sick. It’s also best to avoid sharing smoking equipment such as bongs and bowls until you recover.
So should you smoke the herb or pass on the grass? It depends on you, but the wisest choice would be to stay cautious in using weed, especially when your body is in a vulnerable state. In the end, the best course of action is to prioritize getting better over getting high.