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How To Relieve A Sore Throat From Smoking Weed
4 min

How To Relieve A Sore Throat From Smoking Weed

4 min

Feel like there's a frog in your throat? Smoking, whether cannabis or tobacco, takes a heavy toll on your throat over time. Keep reading for a brief overview of simple ways to relieve a sore throat associated with smoking weed.

We've all been there; you wake up after a long night of smoking with friends, and your throat feels like it's been carved to pieces with a fork. The next time you feel like you've got a frog in your throat after a smoking session, follow the tips below to alleviate your symptoms, and, if you’re brave, even switch out your joints and blunts for healthier ways to get high.

Why does smoking cannabis cause a sore throat?

Why Does Smoking Cannabis Cause A Sore Throat?

While weed enthusiasts love to argue that smoking cannabis is healthier than smoking cigarettes, research shows that that's not necessarily the case. Recent research shows marijuana and tobacco smoke are strikingly similar and contain many of the same compounds, although sometimes in different concentrations (Graves et al., 2020).

Like tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke contains many known carcinogens, free radicals, and other highly toxic compounds, and is composed of hot, dry air that irritates and inflames the sensitive tissues lining the throat and mouth. Cannabis smoke can also contain plant debris that can further irritate the throat and entire respiratory tract, and smoking has also been shown to weaken the immune system, leaving you more prone to throat infections, colds, or flu.

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7 tips to care for a sore throat from smoking weed

That said, as cannabis smokers, some calculated risk is par for the course. Still, there are ways to mitigate or avoid the harshness provided by weed smoke, making for a more enjoyable experience. Here are seven ways you can aim to beat the rough, dry, sore throat associated with smoking weed.

1. Take a break

Take A Break

If you often suffer from a sore throat from smoking cannabis, the best thing you can do is take a break. Smoking on a daily basis consistently exposes your throat to hot, irritating smoke. Taking a break, even just for a few days, will give your throat time to recover, and give you time to consider ditching your joint or blunt for a less irritating method of consumption. Not only that, but it’ll lower your tolerance a bit, which means you’ll need to smoke less weed to get comparably high once your break is over.

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2. Avoid places with dry air

Many smokers like to close the curtains and curl up on the couch or bed while they smoke. But did you know that regularly smoking in an environment with dry air might be part of the reason you're experiencing a sore throat? The combination of dry air from your environment and hot smoke from your joint or blunt can combine to irritate your throat further, causing it to feel raspy, sore, or inflamed.

Next time you light up, pay attention to your environment; or, better yet, invest in a cheap hygrometer to measure the humidity. The US EPA defines the ideal humidity range for air quality to be between 30–50% (Vanvuren, 2018). If the air where you typically smoke clocks in below that, consider buying a small air humidifier to bring some humidity back to the environment and potentially reduce the strain on your throat while you smoke.

3. Stay hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is always important, but even more so when you're smoking up. Make it a habit to always have some cold water on hand during your sessions, and try drinking a glass every hour. Not only will this help to soothe your throat, but it'll also help you stay hydrated throughout your session and prevent you from getting lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous.

4. Try different consumption methods

Aside from taking a break, arguably the best thing you can do to relieve a sore throat from smoking weed is investigate different methods of consumption. While there's nothing quite like smoking a big, fat blunt or joint, it's far from the healthiest way to enjoy cannabis. Some alternative methods that are less straining on the throat include:

Edibles

Edibles

Eating weed allows you to bypass all the health complications associated with smoking. And there’s never been a better time to experiment with cannabis in the kitchen. Thanks to the growing legalization movement, there are all manner of recipes out there to choose from. Or, you can get creative and dream up your own weed-infused concoctions.

Vaping

Vaping

Vaping has taken the cannabis world by storm, and for good reason. A good-quality vaporizer will give you greater control over the temperatures your cannabis material is exposed to, allowing you to find that sweet spot at which you can savour the largest concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes. And thanks to innovation in the vaping industry, vapes are getting cheaper and evermore sophisticated by the day.

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Tinctures

Tinctures

Tinctures are another great way to enjoy cannabis. In fact, they were one of the most popular methods of using cannabis holistically in the West in the 19th century (Pain, 2015). They are super easy to dose using a dropper, and are very discreet. And while one of the main downsides of using tinctures is the time it takes for them to kick in, you can easily bypass that problem by holding the liquid under the tongue for a minute or so. Sublingually administered tinctures usually take effect within 15–20 minutes and can last for 1–2 hours, depending on their potency and how they were manufactured.

Bongs/water pipes

Bongs/ Water Pipes

If you simply can't give up smoking, we highly recommend swapping the joint or blunt for a bong or bubbler. Water pipes use percolation to filter and cool smoke. And while it's not clear exactly how effective bongs are at filtering smoke, they do at least trap ash and other plant matter far more effectively than a joint filter tip. Moreover, bongs are really effective at cooling smoke, making it far less irritating on the throat.

5. Enjoy warm foods

Another great way to relieve a sore throat after smoking cannabis is by enjoying a warm meal or beverage. Warm herbal tea with honey and lemon, for example, can help soothe the dryness, irritation, and swelling caused by a heavy session. Similarly, a warm bowl of hearty soup can be just as soothing.

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6. Gargle with salt water

While it might seem old-fashioned, it definitely works. Saltwater is a very effective disinfectant, and gargling it can help to relieve a sore, inflamed throat. For the best results, we recommend mixing roughly 30ml of warm water with a teaspoon of salt and a few drops of lemon juice, and gargling repeatedly.

7. Try throat lozenges

Try Throat Lozenges

Last but not least, one of the simplest ways to help soothe a sore throat from smoking is using throat or cough lozenges. You'll find them at any pharmacy or drug store, and the localised anaesthetic they contain is extremely effective at temporarily soothing the throat. Keep in mind, however, that throat lozenges do very little to actually heal the irritation or inflammation caused by smoking. Instead, they just help to mask the symptoms of a sore throat.

Stop a sore throat from smoking weed

Stop A Sore Throat From Smoking Weed

There you have it—7 simple ways to relieve a sore throat from smoking. Keep in mind that the best way to avoid ever dealing with a sore throat again is by ditching your joints, blunts, or bongs for a healthier, smoke-free alternative, of which vaping is arguably the most popular and effective.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
Disclaimer:
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. Graves, B.M., Johnson, T.J., Nishida, R.T. et al. Comprehensive characterization of mainstream marijuana and tobacco smoke. Sci Rep 10, 7160 (2020) - https://doi.org
  2. Pain, S. A potted history. Nature 525, S10–S11 (2015) - https://doi.org
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