Smoking Weed with a Cold
Unless you're one of the lucky few that don't catch the common cold or other illnesses... we’ve all been there. If we're here, we've considered it anyway. So, does smoking weed with a cold mean worsening of symptoms? Let's learn a little more about how THC works with our bodies before we get ahead of ourselves!
Have you settled in one night or woken up one morning just to realize you're heavily mouth-breathing, uncomfortable, and unable to eat an adequate amount of food… just can't? Go to a doctor if you're ill and uncertain, but you could have a cold or flu. If you're familiar with either or both of those, you know exactly how bothersome the little chaps can be!
Since we're talking about weed, let's say we've considered turning to our little green friend to make the "feel bads" all go away... The problem that arises from that is having no idea whether weed is actually on our side or not in this particular bout of illness.
The problem with smoking pot during a cold, flu, or sinus infection, lies in the act of smoking and the introduction of THC into the craziness going on. Red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma… it’s all very technical, but the general medical truth is what goes in must come out. Smoking weed, vaping, or whatever your smoking preference introduces THC into an already immunocompromised body. That act can further lower your body’s effectiveness to rid itself of any other (even pre-existing) invaders. So let’s pro-con this situation so it’s easier to break down and really weigh out.
Pros of Smoking Weed:
- Weed can make you feel more relaxed (and sleepy).
- Pot can help replace discomfort with comfort in several situations.
- Marijuana can help with some slight inflammation.
Notice how most of the pros here are psychological, not physical? Weed might make you feel better, but it doesn’t actually make anything better. It gives your body satisfaction and relief from its craving at the moment. I don’t know about you, but I can be a weenie when it comes to certain types of discomfort. Ugh, just imagining suffering from a cold or flu right now has my body aching! Stuffy, yet runny nostrils. Tossing and turning through the night from being too hot, no, too warm. It stinks... if only we could smell "it." So let’s just get to the elephant in the room and figure out why weed isn't a good option right now.
Cons of Smoking Weed:
- Weed can elevate your heart rate (raised anxiety levels).
- Causes "dry mouth."
- It can cause swelling and irritation in the lungs, throat, and the sinus cavities. (These aren't the only organs that could be affected, either).
- It can extirpate upper respiratory issues.
- Could reduce your immune system's capabilities.
We're not trying to diss on weed completely and say it couldn't ever help with anything. We're simply trying to figure out whether it's wise to smoke weed or not, especially while dealing with a cold! We haven't even touched the subject of negative side effects THC can cause while taking other prescribed medications! These little guys known as myeloid-derived suppressor cells can end up working against your body’s immune system, instead of for them. The MDSCs regulate your immune system's responses. When your body is infected, they disperse and neutralize the environment as much as they can. Since weed "numbs" us, and so do MDSCs, our bodies will have a harder time healing if we smoke weed while sick.
When you add THC to, let’s say, an antibiotic... (such as Amoxicillin, Cipro, etc.) it can impede your body's ability to ward off any arising problems. THC can also cancel out some of the influence antibiotics are supposed to have on your system.
Most chronic pot smokers are no strangers to bronchitis, emphysema, and long-lasting colds. Feel free to do all the research in the world you need!
We're not doctors, but there is research still being done by immunologists. For our knowledge and safety, they're trying to detect the exact effects THC has on meds we, as a population, may come into contact with. For the moment, the recurrence of suppressing cells has been shown to lower the body’s defenses. During a cold, flu, or a bout of bronchitis, you really need those little guys to hang in there with you. While your evening toke may make you feel better for the moment, in the long run, it may end up keeping you in the weeds (so to speak).
This may be known to some as the “coming down effect." When you begin to "come down" from the feeling of euphoria, your mind becomes a little vulnerable. You’re probably somewhere around the corner of Sleepy Town and Where Am I? Take a glance down those roads and you'll soon realize confusion and paranoia tend to walk hand-in-hand there. Certain antibiotics make it difficult to feel comfortable and sleep. That lack of comfort and sleep on medication can lead to paranoia and confusion, as well, so...
Getting stoned while on those medicines can obviously increase these negative effects. The munchies are not the best friends to have when trying to recoup from a bout of gastroenteritis, either. I’ve learned that cold, soothing things (like ice cream) might seem tempting while sick... but they don’t sit very well with an antibiotic that clearly states "No Dairy" on the bottle.
Can You Be Fully Functional, Stoned, and Sick?
Your body is fighting off a fever and you’re busy trying to unscrew the lid from the pickles you just have to have in your kitchen. (Nevermind the chocolate smeared on the bong). You might find yourself exhausted after a few tries, having to defeatedly retreat to the couch. Your body was weak to begin with and you just exerted more energy... with no payout. You've just experienced physical and mental strife all in one strike! Bummer... but, you can do better!
We struggle to keep ourselves happy and healthy every waking day of our lives. We pay hundreds, thousands of dollars every week, month, or year to ensure luxuries and comfort… but we can't seem to keep our peace of mind.
Comfort comes at a cost sometimes, it's up to you whether the cost is positive or negative. Is smoking really comfortable? Does it actually make your lungs feel good? No matter what kind of blanket you cover it in, smoking can delay your healing.
Your body, bone marrow, and all the little white-celled army buddies are probably best left to their own devices (and your doctor's advice) when you're sick. Though pot contains medicinal properties, it isn't effective enough to be super-beneficial when smoked.
You need to be able to decide what could work best for you and what route to take from there. Whether it is to follow your heart and wander off into wonderland, listen to the man in the big white coat, a friend, or, maybe to listen to your own body. It's usually pretty capable of telling us exactly what it needs. Whether that is rest, relaxation, food, hydration, whatever... just give your immune system a chance to fight off what has invaded its territory and set the bowl down for now.
Antibiotics can be good, weed can be good, but the two shouldn't be mixed together. Illness and smoking shouldn't be combined, either.
It’s not your job to treat yourself, but it is your job to use good judgment about how you receive treatment. You can't always do something about everything, but with the right help, you can get to feeling better.