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.
Smoking cannabis can come with so many wonderful effects. Some of its side effects, however, can be less than wonderful. For example, there may still be a negative impact on your lungs from smoking cannabis, though not as much as from tobacco. If cannabis was fully legalized, there could be far more comprehensive research on such issues. One constant of cannabis use appears to be a condition called “dry mouth” or “cottonmouth”. This is when your throat becomes dry and irritated after smoking weed. It is the most common negative side effect listed alongside strains on Leafly. Given how widespread this problem is, we have looked into what causes it, and how you can help soothe your throat.
HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU COUGH?
It seems a shame to have this drawback from the otherwise pleasant experience of smoking marijuana. Sometimes the throat can be so irritated, a cough is triggered. This could aggravate the throat further, leading to more coughing, and so on. There are a number of factors that contribute to dry throats from cannabis smoking. Breathing in hot smoke is your first clue that your passages could be heated up to the point of drying out. From your gums to the bronchioles in your lungs, you will feel the impact of whatever toxins may have been in your weed and whatever’s lighting it. None of this is helped by the fact that cannabinoids like THC may actually inhibit saliva production. So if dry mouth is causing you a lot of discomfort, maybe it’s time to stop smoking cannabis.
ALTERNATIVES TO SMOKING
We did not, however, say it is time to stop consuming cannabis. Cannabis can have wonderful health benefits, but perhaps smoking isn’t the healthiest way of enjoying them. Maybe you’re some kind of singer, performer, or public speaker who needs to keep their voice in good condition. Perhaps you’re trying to get more precise with your dosage. Then of course, there are medical users who need a safe way to get cannabinoids into their system. There are a number of creative alternatives to smoking available.
Vaping is increasingly popular, with cannabis companies even producing oils for vape pens. Inhaling hot water vapour is safer than smoke. Steam contains far fewer potential toxins and carcinogens. The water in your body will also cool water vapour a lot quicker than smoke. And vapour arguably gives a more potent hit, boosting the impact of cannabinoids, now unfettered by toxins. The downside is that uncertainty remains over whether certain additives in vape oils can deposit the same dangerous tar in the lungs as smoke. There is the potential of dry herb vaporizers to consider, but let’s say you want to keep your lungs out of it.
Edibles can be very precisely dosed. Reliable labelling, or your own careful preparation, will ensure specific amounts of cannabinoids are infused into food. Edibles come in a range of delicious forms, although the high itself will take longer to be felt. It could be two hours before your digestive system fully distributes cannabinoids throughout your system. At that point, your high could last anywhere between 4–12 hours. It’s similar to the distribution method of cannabis patches. Patches, or even a cannabis-infused lotion of some kind, allow the skin to ingest cannabinoids steadily throughout the day. These are just some of the alternatives to smoking. But let’s say you’re not going to quit smoking cannabis because you’re not a quitter. What can you do then to make your throat feel better?
GROUNDWORK FOR A HEALTHY THROAT
Healing your throat after smoking cannabis is advisable, but on the condition you follow two crucial pieces of advice. Number 1 is to stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water is healthy for you anyway, and is certainly the best place to start to rehydrate your throat. Cool water is better for this than hot drinks like coffee, black tea, or green tea. Second of all, you should moderate your cannabis use. By definition, 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 often 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 highs feel stronger.
CARING FOR YOUR THROAT
Let’s say you’ve lit up and the coughing fit has begun. As we already advised, having a drink of water is a good idea. Anything really to get your mouth more moist. You could chew gum or suck on candy. There are cough sweets like Jakeman’s, which are specifically developed to soothe sore throats. Ask any pharmacy. A savoury option would be chicken soup, which moistens the throat and provides a filling meal. If rawness persists, try gargling salt water to help treat the discomfort. If you can invest in technology for some kind of steam inhaler, humidifier, or vaporizer, that will also bring moisture back to your passages. A cheap alternative is to inhale steam for a few minutes in your bathroom. Just pour hot water with a spoonful of Vaporub in your sink, and slowly breathe over it with a towel covering your head.
Let us know what works to relieve your sore throat from cannabis and get back to puffing away.