Cannabis has a myriad of health benefits, but there’s no denying that consistent smoking, no matter what it is, can take a toll on your throat. We’ve got tips for keeping your vocal cords healthy, whether you need to preserve them in the long term or are just trying to avoid a sore throat from smoking weed.
Take Smaller Hits
People who get really sore throats from smoking weed are typically the ones who take too big a hit and end up spending half the smoke session hacking up a lung. It’s often not even the smoke that causes the sore throat, but the excessive coughing that inflames the larynx and upper airways. The more you cough the more sensitive your airways get, so you end up coughing more. Just avoid the whole mess by taking smaller hits that don’t send you into a coughing fit.
Pretty much every guide for everything ever is going to tell you to drink more water. It’s an obvious remedy for a sore throat from smoking weed as it alleviates dryness. If you’re just trying to stave off dry throat or cotton mouth, you may be able to get away with a few sips every few minutes. But if you’re trying to calm down a majorly irritated throat, chug a full glass of water before you smoke and another one after.
Use a Vape
Drop the joint, bong, or bow and invest in a vape. Vaporizers heat the cannabis below combustion temperatures, so it only releases the beneficial chemicals, rather than the carcinogenic ones. You don’t get that harsh smoke in your lungs but rather a crisp, clean vapor that gets you high without setting your lungs on fire.
You no longer have to labor over your stove and oven trying to make the perfect “special brownies.” These days, there are so many edible options like mints and gummies that allow you to get a lower, more consistent dose that gets you high without sending you to another dimension.
Choose Snacks That Make Your Throat Happy
Sure, it’s way easier to reach for a bag of Doritos when you’re stoned, but that’s not going to do your throat any favors. There’s nothing like a bowl of chicken noodle soup—homemade or from the can—to soothe your throat, no matter what the cause of inflammation is. If heating up a stove sounds like a little too much work post-smoke (we get it), fruits, yogurt, and applesauce are healthier and more hydrating options than those dry Cheetos in your pantry. Low sodium options are always best, as digesting high concentrations of salt is one surefire way to dehydrate yourself.
Gargle Salt Water
While swallowing salt water would certainly dehydrate you, gargling it will relieve inflammation and pain to some degree immediately. Add about a tablespoon of salt to some warm water, stir a little bit, then gargle and spit it out. Again, do not swallow it!
Drink Tea with Honey
Drinking a warm cup of tea with a spoonful of honey in it will feel amazing on an inflamed throat. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy—in fact, its a healthy and cheap alternative to snacks if your munchies are more about oral fixation than actual hunger. Just be careful, as some teas have caffeine or apigenin that can cause you to get hyper or sleepy, respectively, especially if you’re having multiple cups.
Turn on the Humidifier
A dry environment will only add to the soreness and itchiness of your post-smoke throat. Add some vapor to the air with a humidifier. You can even add essential oils like lavender, rosemary, or eucalyptus, which not only make your apartment smell great and mask that skunky smell, they also have some health benefits of their own. Humidifiers aren’t just for smoking. Keep them on in the dry wintertime when to avoid getting sick and add a little eucalyptus if you do happen to catch a cold.
Keeping Your Vocal Chords Healthy in the Long Term
Even if you’re not prone to a sore throat from smoking weed, smoking consistently could be doing gradual damage to your vocal chords. If you’re job or passion requires a healthy voice, that doesn’t mean you have to stop smoking altogether or even limit your consumption to stay at the top of your game. You just have to be diligent about smoking in a way that doesn’t harm your airways. Drink lots of water, keep throat lozenges handy, and invest in a vape so that the smoke you do inhale is free of carcinogens and not as harsh on your throat.
Already Sick and Have a Sore Throat?
Lighting a bong is probably not the best move if you’re nursing a cold or flu. Then again, if you’re homesick for many days, you’re probably not only looking for some pain relief, but are also bored out of your mind and want to pass the time with a little THC. Stick to edibles and vapes though, as the harsh smoke from other smoking methods will only further irritate your already inflamed throat.
If you want to use cannabis purely for pain relief while you’re sick, CBD oil is the way to go. It’s known for reducing inflammation, so it may be able to work magic on your worst symptoms. CBD oil isn’t psychoactive, but cannabis strains with low THC and high CBD are great if you’re looking for buzz but also need to calm your body down.
If you’re nursing a serious illness whose symptoms include fevers and chills, it’s always best to see a doctor and find out if you need to take antibiotics or anything else. Cannabis won’t be able to cure anything severe, so go see your doctor, and while you’re there, ask if cannabis would be helpful in alleviating any of your symptoms.