Cannabis offers many potential health benefits, such as reducing inflammation, alleviating anxiety disorders, and even fighting cancer. But while you may enjoy the benefits of cannabis, you may also notice your throat begin to suffer. It’s common to develop a sore throat or “smoker’s cough” with long-term use. If a scratchy irritation or pesky cough just won’t go away, you may be wondering how to soothe a sore throat from smoking.
Thankfully, there are several methods to protect your throat and reduce symptoms. Keep reading to learn more about the science of smoking and the best remedies for a sore throat.
How Does Smoking Irritate Your Throat?
First, let’s look at scientific data. A study of tobacco smokers shows a link between smoking and respiratory symptoms, including sore throat, coughing, and shortness of breath. Research of frequent cannabis smokers shows a heightened risk of developing a chronic cough, phlegm, and breathing problems.
Why does this happen? Well, when you smoke cannabis or tobacco, the organic plant matter combusts and introduces particulates and chemicals throughout your oral and respiratory tract. This affects everything from your mouth to the inner recesses of your lungs.
When you inhale smoke, it irritates tissues and cells in your respiratory system, sometimes causing pharyngitis, the medical term for a sore throat. Additionally, smoking can damage cilia, which are small hair-like structures that protect your airways. When cilia are damaged or destroyed, it can result in a habitual cough. Coughing can further aggravate the sore throat, leading to a vicious cycle.
What’s the Best Sore Throat From Smoking Remedy?
Dealing with a cough and sore throat can be annoying at best and debilitating at its worst. If you’re wondering what to do when your throat hurts from smoking, you have plenty of options to try, from home remedies to pharmaceutical medication. Here are some of the top treatments for a smoker’s sore throat.
Drinking fluids is an easy way to keep your throat hydrated and alleviate the parched feeling that comes with smoking. Consume water throughout the day to maintain hydration levels. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine since they can cause further dehydration.
Salt Water Gargle
A warm salt water gargle can soothe your sore throat and kill harmful bacteria. Simply mix a half-teaspoon of salt into an 8-oz glass of warm water. Gargle this solution every three hours until your symptoms go away.
You may know that chamomile can calm you down, but did you know it can also soothe a sore throat? A scientific study shows chamomile is effective in relieving throat irritation. As one of the oldest medicinal herbs, you can count on chamomile for its soothing properties.
Another common household remedy is honey. You can swallow it directly or mix it in your cup of tea. According to one study, honey can alleviate nighttime coughs even better than cough suppressants.
Licorice root is a medicinal herb that can alleviate sore throats. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that using a gargle or lozenge with licorice root may prevent or alleviate sore throats. However, pregnant women should avoid licorice root, as it has a risk of causing premature birth and health problems in babies.
Another traditional remedy for sore throats is slippery elm, which has a mucus-like texture. To prepare slippery elm, pour boiling water over the bark and stir. You may also be able to find slippery elm lozenges.
Did you know garlic has antibacterial properties? It contains allicin, a compound known to fight off infections. Studies show garlic supplements can help prevent the common cold. Some people believe sucking on a clove of garlic can soothe a sore throat. If you try garlic, you may want to freshen your breath after by brushing your teeth or using mouthwash.
Exercising may sound like the last thing you want to do when you have a sore throat, but physical activity can loosen up mucus and make it easier for you to cough up phlegm. Exercise can also boost your overall physical and mental health.
If natural remedies for your sore throat aren’t working, you may want to try the following medicines:
- Cough drops and lozenges
- Throat numbing sprays
You can find these over-the-counter options at your local pharmacy.
Sometimes, a sore throat just won’t go away. In this case, you may want to visit your doctor and ask about medications for your symptoms. Your doctor may advise you to take bronchodilators or corticosteroids.
Bronchodilators are available in inhalers and they relax the muscles around the airways. Corticosteroids relieve inflammation in the airways and are often used in conjunction with bronchodilators.
Quitting or Reducing Smoking
Reducing your smoking can help relieve a sore throat and chronic cough. If you rely on cannabis for medicinal purposes, this might be difficult to do. However, you don’t necessarily have to quit altogether. Other options include taking a tolerance break or trying alternative methods of cannabis consumption.
Is Vaping Better?
While vaping involves inhalation, it’s not the same thing as smoking. When you smoke marijuana, the plant burns from the combustion process. When you vape, you heat up the cannabis to a high enough temperature to create a vapor, but without burning it. Vaping doesn’t produce all the same chemicals associated with smoking.
A 2015 review even states that vaping isn’t associated with chronic respiratory symptoms. This means vaping is likely to minimize your respiratory symptoms compared to smoking. You can vape either cannabis flower or extracts with the right equipment. The process of vaporizing concentrates is also known as “dabbing.”
What About Edibles and Tinctures?
When you’re dealing with a persistent sore throat, you may consider consuming cannabis in ways that don’t involve inhalation. Opting for edibles or oils can give your respiratory system the break it needs, but remember these are quite different methods of consumption. One main difference is the onset of effects. While smoking results in an almost immediate high, edibles and tinctures take longer. Edibles can take between 30-90 minutes to take effect. When tincture drops are taken sublingually (under the tongue), the onset of effects can take 15-30 minutes.
If you’re not used to edibles, you run the risk of accidentally consuming a higher dose than you intend. If you decide to try edibles, start with smaller doses and build up as needed. Essentially, you should treat edibles with the same precaution you would with prescription medications. Test your tolerance with small doses and gradually increase until you get the relief you need. Start with 5mg THC and wait two hours. If you’re not feeling the desired effects, you can take another dose.
While smoking comes with relief for various physical and mental ailments, it can sometimes irritate your airways. When this happens, try these remedies, medications, and alternative options to soothe your sore throat from smoking.
Explore more cannabis information on the Kannabia Seeds blog.