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How To Care For A Sore Throat From Smoking Cannabis

Arguably the most common downside of smoking cannabis is a sore throat. Inhaling marijuana can irritate the throat and spoil an otherwise pleasant experience. We’ll walk you through why this happens, and offer remedies to treat it.

How to handle a sore throat when smoking cannabis.

  • 1. Why does smoking weed make you cough?
  • 2. Factors that contribute to a dry throat when smoking cannabis
  • 3. Alternatives to smoking cannabis
  • 4. How to treat a sore throat from smoking cannabis
  • 1. Why does smoking weed make you cough?
  • 2. Factors that contribute to a dry throat when smoking cannabis
  • 3. Alternatives to smoking cannabis
  • 4. How to treat a sore throat from smoking cannabis

Smoking cannabis comes with many wonderful effects. But, it can also have some less-than-enjoyable side effects, one of which is the dreaded dry mouth or “cottonmouth”. This is when your throat and mouth become dry and irritated after smoking.

Given how common it is for one to get a sore throat from smoking weed, we’ve looked into what causes it, and how you can help soothe your throat.

WHY DOES SMOKING WEED MAKE YOU COUGH?

The thing is, your throat doesn’t just get dry and irritated after enjoying a nice sesh; it also usually comes with a nasty cough. And once you start coughing, it aggravates your throat further, making you cough even more, which means even more irritation and more coughing… Well, you get the idea.

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO A DRY THROAT WHEN SMOKING CANNABIS

So, what exactly is it that irritates your throat when you’re smoking cannabis? Let’s take a look!

BREATHING IN HOT SMOKE

Of course, when you’re enjoying hits from a joint or pipe, what you’re doing is inhaling hot smoke. The hot smoke heats up and dries out your throat and nasal passages. Check. But heat isn’t the only thing that contributes to this nasty side effect, otherwise we’d just need a glass of water and we’d be fine.

SUBSTANCES IN THE SMOKE FURTHER AGGRAVATE MATTERS

The passageway from your pharynx to the bronchioles in your lungs is now hot, dry, and irritated; it may even start to hurt. At this point, it would much rather not be further aggravated. But, that’s exactly what we’re doing since, after all, we’re smoking weed. The substances in your weed, including aromatic terpenes and cannabinoids, but also toxins from the smoke itself, will irritate your (already irritated) throat even more.

THC INHIBITS SALIVA PRODUCTION

When it comes to having a dry throat, you would think that the body would respond by producing more saliva to help things out a bit. And now comes the unfortunate part: cannabinoids such as THC and CBD may actually inhibit saliva production.

Well, say hello to a nasty, dry throat, lots of coughing, and the wonderful world of cottonmouth, courtesy of the same substance that also makes you high. Bummer, isn’t it?

ALTERNATIVES TO SMOKING CANNABIS

If your dry mouth has gotten so bad that it’s causing significant discomfort, the best thing may be to stop smoking cannabis altogether. But let’s not rush things; there are a number of creative alternatives to smoking. Here are some of them:

VAPING

Vaping is becoming increasingly popular, as evidenced by the plethora of associated products on the market. Inhaling vapour is safer and cleaner than smoke. Vapour (aka steam) contains far fewer potential toxins and carcinogens. The water in your body will also cool vapour more quickly than smoke—meaning less irritation when enjoying weed!

• More potent than smoking

• Be wary of low-quality vape liquids

EDIBLES

Edibles can be very precisely dosed. They come in many different forms, from chocolates and gummies that you can snack on to full-fledged cannabis meals.

Unlike smoking or vaping, the effects of edibles will take up to an hour to hit. It could be two hours before your digestive system fully distributes the cannabinoids throughout your system. On the plus side, the effects can then last some time—usually 4 to 8 hours.

• No harmful smoke

• Effects will last a long time

TOPICALS & PATCHES

Lastly, you can also use cannabis topicals such as creams, ointments, and transdermal patches. The latter work similarly to edibles in that they provide their beneficial effects slowly and steadily over the day.

Unlike transdermal patches, the cannabinoids in topical creams don’t enter the bloodstream, but they do penetrate deep into the skin to produce local effects. As such, creams and lotions can be a good option for users looking to soothe local aches such as joint and muscle pain.

• Can be used all throughout the day

HOW TO TREAT A SORE THROAT FROM SMOKING CANNABIS

We went over some alternatives to smoking cannabis you can try out, but some folks will inevitably refuse to stray from sparking up the herb. After all, what beats ripping a nice bowl with your friends? Let’s talk about how you can treat throat irritation and pain from smoking.

STAY HYDRATED

This should come as a no-brainer: stay hydrated! Nothing rehydrates a dry throat like a glass of water. Know that cool water is best for this purpose. Avoid hot drinks like coffee or tea.

USE LOZENGES OR CANDY

The same candies you can find to soothe a cold will do a good job for “weed throat” as well. Sucking on a sweet candy or a lozenge stimulates saliva production, which helps keep your mouth and throat moist. Most of the time, throat lozenges also contain local anaesthetics that can help with irritation and speed up the healing process.

HAVE A BOWL OF CHICKEN SOUP

A hearty bowl of chicken soup has long been used as a home remedy for symptoms of the common cold and flu. It soothes and moistens the throat, which makes it great for a sore throat from smoking weed. As an additional bonus, it provides a filling meal!

USE AN INHALER OR HUMIDIFIER

A steam inhaler is an effective way to bring moisture back into your passages. You can also look into a humidifier for your room. Alternatively, if you don’t want to spend money on an inhaler or humidifier, spend a few minutes in a steamy bathroom. Just pour hot water with a spoonful of VapoRub in your sink and slowly breathe over it with a towel covering your head.

SMOKE LOW-THC CANNABIS STRAINS

As mentioned above, THC is one reason smoking weed causes dry passageways and cottonmouth. But this doesn’t mean you need to stop enjoying weed: just select cannabis strains that are low in THC.

Check out the Top 5 Low-THC Cannabis Strains at Royal Queen Seeds, so you can enjoy a smoother and more pleasant smoke.

CUT DOWN ON YOUR CANNABIS USE

Taking anything in excess is bad. Even if the worst thing cannabis does is make your throat sore, it’s going to become exacerbated the more you smoke. Instead of letting a negative feedback loop accumulate, space out your smoking sessions to give your throat more time to heal. It will also make your stash last longer and your high feel stronger.

Smoking marijuana can irritate your throat and cause cottonmouth. If you're sick of having a sore throat from weed, consider these alternatives.

Puff, cough, pass? Five easy ways to avoid a sore throat from smoking cannabis

Don’t let tickles and tingles get in the way

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    Article content

    Smoking weed can be a love-hate relationship for many.

    Canadians, especially non-medical users, seem to love smoking cannabis. But the afterglow of that treasured toke oftentimes leads to a not-so-loveable condition: sore throat.

    Puff, cough, pass? Five easy ways to avoid a sore throat from smoking cannabis Back to video

    More On This Topic

    ‘I smoke cannabis and here’s how I keep my throat and vocal chords healthy’

    Is cotton mouth from marijuana use actually dangerous?

    Why does marijuana make me cough and how do I stop it?

    “I have been using cannabis for 24 years, but whenever I would smoke, I would experience a burning sensation in my throat and lungs,” says Paul Svoboda, hemp and cannabis aficionado from Spain, who runs the YouTube channel, CBD Love. For Svoboda, the symptoms of sore throat included “excessive saliva production, extremely dry cough, dry nose and difficulty breathing and tasting.”

    An ideal smoke session shouldn’t leave a person’s throat feeling sore and irritated. To avoid such a situation, cannabis users share their tricks and tips:

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    Consider switching to a vape

    “I definitely experienced a difference between smoking and vaping,” says Lily Hall, founder of The High Blog, a cannabis centric lifestyle platform. Hall has been using cannabis for about five years to relieve migraines. “I find that vaping gives a smoother, cleaner puff,” she adds.

    Matthew Lunde, director of media for Harvest Medicine, agrees, “Don’t smoke, vaporize. There’s much less wear and tear when inhaling something that isn’t on fire.”

    Vaping heats the cannabis without burning it—that means releasing no smoke—with the help of a vaporizer. Since cannabis is heated and not burned, this consumption method tends to produce fewer carcinogens, cancer-causing agents, than smoking.

    “Vaping is more flavourful, too,” says Hall. “I tend to use less flower when vaporizing versus smoking. It’s easier to control just how medicated you want to be. You can go for a light session or a stronger one with the click of a button,” she notes.

    Here’s what not to do when vaping: “I tend to get a sore throat when vaporizing at higher temperatures. On lower temperatures, it’s smoother than smoking,” explains Hall.

    Add lemon juice to the bong

    “While using a bong, use hot water with a hint of lemon juice—it’s soothing and easy on the throat,” Lunde recommends.

    The benefits of adding lemon juice just doesn’t end there. “When using a bong, adding just two drops to the water prevents a gunky mess from forming. The lemon juice also helps kill the disgusting bong water smell and keeps things fresh,” Honest Marijuana reports.

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    Sip on lemon and chamomile tea

    When smoking a joint, a glass of water goes a long way. Additionally, “lemon and chamomile tea is great on the throat if it’s getting sore,” Hall shares. “If you find the tickles and tingles just won’t go away, a warm salt rinse helps,” she adds.

    “I always have hot tea, coffee or water with me when I’m vaping,” says Doug, a medical patient from Winnipeg. “Tea with honey is also a great option. In fact, I sometimes even gargle with mouthwash if my throat is irritated.”

    Oil pulling

    “By naturally coating the mouth, gums and throat with natural coconut oil, oil pulling greatly reduces irritation in the throat,” Svoboda says.

    Oil pulling is an ancient health remedy that helps maintain oral health. “In order to oil pull, put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, then swish it around for 15 to 20 minutes,” Healthline recommends.

    “Depending on your preference, you can do this daily or once per week/month. Also, add a few drops of tea tree oil to water and gargle with it. It will almost instantly stop the pain,” Svoboda recommends.

    Ditch the old cannabis

    Old is gold, but the same might not hold for marijuana.

    For those experiencing sore throat, expired cannabis, especially one not purchased from a certified source, can be the cause. Photo by FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

    “Cannabis is a natural organism, which means, like any other plant or flower, it will always be vulnerable to factors like mites, fungus, mould, weather, overzealous watering, excess light and heat, and various deficiencies, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, iron and calcium deficiencies,” says Dr. Jordan Tishler, in The GrowthOp article, Is it possible for medical cannabis to go bad?

    For those experiencing sore throat, expired cannabis, especially one not purchased from a certified source, can be the cause. Doug, who has been using medical cannabis for the past four years, agrees. “Cannabis, especially if it’s old, or not properly flushed, can be very hard on the throat.”

    Want to keep up to date on what’s happening in the world of cannabis? Subscribe to the Cannabis Post newsletter for weekly insights into the industry, what insiders will be talking about and content from across the Postmedia Network.

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    Don’t let tickles and tingles get in the way