CAN CANNABIS HELP FIGHT THE COMMON COLD AND FLU?

Research shows that the cannabis plant has a plethora of health benefits. Countless ailments, including chronic debilitating diseases, seem to benefit in one way or another from the properties of the plant. But what about less serious conditions? Could cannabis also help against something as simple as the common cold or flu?

WHAT CAUSES THE COMMON COLD?

The common cold is a contagious viral infection caused by roughly 200 different strains of virus. Around 50% of the time, the common cold is caused by the rhinovirus, but other cold-causing viruses include influenza, coronavirus, and adenovirus.

When these viruses enter the body, they attack the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and mouth. After a few days, the virus might also make its way to the lungs. The body’s immune system will fight the virus in all of these areas, causing inflammation and an overproduction of mucus, which carries dead, infected cells and expels them from the body. This is what ultimately causes the telltale symptoms of a cold, like a runny nose and nasal congestion, a sore throat, coughing and sneezing, and (in case of the flu) fever.

How Cannabis Can Fight the Flu

CANNABINOIDS AND TERPENES CAN FIGHT INFLAMMATION

If you’re reading this, you may already be familiar with the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis. Research shows that cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, and CBC can all help drive down inflammation all around the body. Some of the terpenes in cannabis, including linalool, limonene, and eucalyptol, all have anti-inflammatory potential too.

Our body’s attempt to fight cold and flu viruses automatically causes inflammation in the throat, sinuses, nose, and lungs. The cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis may help drive down inflammation in these areas, and therefore relieve symptoms like a runny or congested nose.

CANNABIS AFFECTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Current research has made it clear that cannabis affects the human immune system. How it does so, however, isn’t 100% clear.

Some studies show that cannabinoids help suppress the immune system, which is what ultimately gives them their anti-inflammatory effect. This is good news for people suffering from conditions characterised by chronic inflammation. However, it’s also important to remember that acute inflammation is a necessary bodily process and a sign that our immune system is actively fighting a threat in our body (like a virus, for example).

However, other studies show that cannabis can boost the immune system when necessary. HIV/AIDS, for example, is underlined by immunodeficiency that gets worse over time. Research indicates that cannabis can help strengthen the immune system of people with HIV/AIDS by increasing their number of T cells. This suggests that cannabis may be able to help strengthen the immune system when needed, such as when fighting an immediate threat like a cold virus.

How CBD Can Help Fight The Flu

CANNABIS, ECHINACEA, AND THE COMMON COLD

Echinacea is a genus of plant used to make health supplements that are commonly used to reduce the symptoms, severity, and duration of the cold and flu. Studies show that Echinacea concentrates can help significantly boost the immune system during a cold, as well as reduce symptoms.

It’s interesting to note that Echinacea contains a variety of alkylamides that—like many of the compounds found in cannabis—interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors. This suggests that stimulating the endocannabinoid system may play an important role in helping our body fight cold and flu viruses. This is promising news for cannabis.

A NOTE ON SMOKING CANNABIS DURING A COLD/FLU

There’s definitely some potential for cannabis to help with cold and flu symptoms. However, if you’re considering using cannabis when sick, it’s probably best to avoid smoking it.

Inhaling smoke from a pipe, joint, or bong directly irritates the throat and lungs, which can only increase inflammation in these areas. This may aggravate your symptoms and possibly even increase the time it takes for your body to fight off the virus. Hence, it’s best to avoid smoking while you’re under the weather. Instead, try the following alternative.

Cannabis Tea

MAKE YOUR OWN CANNABIS TEA

Cannabis tea is a great way to use cannabis without the negative effects of smoking. To make a cannabis tea, don’t just throw your buds in a boiling cup of water, as this won’t extract any of the cannabinoids or terpenes from the plant material. Instead, you’ll want to first make an infused oil or honey, then mix that into your tea.

Below is a quick outline of how to make cannabis honey to use in tea.

INGREDIENTS

  • 325ml good-quality honey
  • 3–4 grams of cannabis flower
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • Water

DIRECTIONS

  1. To make your weed honey, decarboxylate your cannabis flower in the oven. Grind up the cannabis, spread it out on a lined baking tray, and bake it for roughly 30 minutes at 110°C. Make sure to give it a stir halfway through.
  2. Next, put the cannabis and coconut oil into a jar. Boil the jar in a saucepan with water for roughly 2 hours to infuse the oil. You’ll need just enough water to cover ½–¾ of the jar. After 2 hours, strain your oil through a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Make sure to get as much oil out as possible.
  3. Finally, blend the oil together with the honey using a handheld blender. You’ll be left with a creamy, smooth honey that you can use to sweeten any kind of tea.

Cooking Cannabis Oven

USE CANNABIS TOPICALS AND EDIBLES

Another great way to use cannabis when you’ve got a cold is via edibles or tinctures. Oils and tinctures can be taken on their own or mixed into food and drink to provide a strong dose of cannabis without smoking. For high-quality, cannabinoid-rich, ready-made oils, make sure to check out our selection of CBD oils.

Edibles are another great way to use cannabis while sick. Keep an eye out for infused candies or lozenges made with CBD or THC extract to help you soothe a sore throat, for example. Also, try using cannabis-infused oil to make delicious, hearty, and nutrient-rich soups to battle a cold or flu.

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