Does Weed Help With Flu? Relief & Benefits |

Does Weed Help With Flu? Relief & Benefits

This post is part of our Best Dispensaries Around the Bay Area series, sponsored by Project Cannabis.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. 


While suffering from the flu isn’t inevitable, the probability of catching it during the late Fall and Winter months is something to be cautious of. Of course, we can try our best to prevent contraction by washing hands, wiping down door handles and exercise machines, steering clear of people coughing or sneezing, and keeping our immunity up with vitamins, supplements, and a healthy diet. No matter how careful and meticulous you are with dodging the flu, it can still hit you like a big yellow school bus and rock you for 24 hours to a few days. 

After coming down with the flu, people will try anything to kick it to the curb. From slugging back a homemade raw honey and garlic concoction to popping oil of oregano pills, the ways in which we can treat flu-like symptoms seem to be innumerable. But how effective are they, actually? Why is it that when we get the flu, it can feel like a miserable dead-end, with no quick-fixes, even with all these “flu-hacks” out there?

Well, one thing is for certain, they don’t call it flu season for nothing! If you’re sick of feeling hopeless when the flu strikes, it might be time to consider alternative options–such as weed–to help ease flu like symptoms. 

But wait…does weed help the flu?

Weed and Flu: What’s the Scoop?

Does weed help the flu, truly? When we are experiencing aches, stuffed up, nauseous, fatigued, and feverish, it can be a challenge to fall or stay asleep. Ironically, this is the most opportune time for your body to get rest, and it’s practically screaming for it. Thankfully, certain strains of weed such as indica or indica-dominant hybrids may support you in reaching a calmer, more restful state. Indica contains sedative properties that may help some people fall and stay asleep, and the more sleep you get, the quicker your body can recover. 

In the same way, weed may help flu sufferers de-stress. When we have the flu, it can be easy to start to stress about all the things we won’t be able to get done or how long the flu might wear us down for. The worst part is that stress can make matters worse by increasing pain sensitivity and weakening the immune system. Fortunately, specific strains that contain CBD or higher amounts of indica are known to help ease the mind and provide stress relief–helping you recover quicker. 

Other ways in which weed might be able to make the flu more bearable include easing inflammation and associated pain. Inflammation is a common symptom many flu-sufferers experience, which manifests in the form of coughing, wheezing, clogged nasal passageways, difficulty breathing, and general discomfort. The anti-inflammatory properties in cannabis could potentially offer some temporary relief from flu symptoms. Cannabis might also boost appetite by triggering the hunger hormone, which could be helpful for those whose appetites are suppressed because of the flu.

Ironically, there’s a theory that infrequent cannabis smoking could potentially temporarily help open up airways for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. This is referred to as bronchodilation, which has the potential to provide temporary relief from coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, but it should be noted that the effects are short-lived, and often subtle. Smoking cannabis while experiencing certain symptoms of the flu might not be a good idea, however, which brings us to our next topic.


Is it Safe to Smoke Weed If You Have the Flu?

Does smoking weed help with the flu? Interestingly enough, oral cannabis and inhaled cannabis can act differently on the body. If you are sick with the flu and experiencing symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, or wheezing, you’ll want to stray away from smoking weed and stick to edibles or oils. Weed and the flu may be a good match most of the time, but smoking can make respiratory symptoms worse–especially if you are doing it frequently–as the smoke can aggravate your throat and airways. Vaping cannabis doesn’t seem to have as much of an effect on the respiratory system as smoking, but it is also advised to avoid vaping if you have a cough or congestion.

A better choice would be to use medicated lozenges, which some dispensaries carry. THC cold syrups and liquid beverages are another option to get your dose of cannabis, theoretically allowing you to get a little buzz, soothe your throat and reduce inflammation, and help you get proper rest as you move through your sickness. 

Side Effects of Using Weed to Treat the Flu

As with any substance, using weed has potential side effects. There are pros and cons to make note of, so take inventory of your symptoms before considering using weed for flu relief. 

For instance, fevers can make you feel cold, and cannabis can amplify those feelings, making them more intense–especially because of the psychoactive elements in cannabis. Cannabis can lead to dizziness and disorientation, which can creep up from an edible or happen instantaneously from smoking. If you don’t regularly use cannabis, you might experience worsened symptoms such as increased pain sensitivity or paranoia. Getting too high while sick is definitely no fun. 

Other negative side effects associated with weed, as mentioned above, include further irritating your lungs and airways–if vaping and smoking cannabis. Make sure you don’t have upper respiratory issues, or opt for edibles, tinctures, or transdermal patches. 

Can Weed Trigger the Flu?

You may wonder, can weed trigger the flu? If you are sharing smoking tools–such as a vape, pre-roll, or bong–with someone who is feeling under the weather or experiencing flu-like symptoms, then absolutely. Sharing a smoking apparatus with a sick person is a surefire way to fast-track to an infection or illness in yourself. 

While weed alone is not likely to trigger the flu, smoking weed may lead to unwanted symptoms such as inflammation of the throat and airways, wheezing, cough, excess phlegm production, trouble breathing, and potentially asthmatic symptoms in those with asthma.

How to Purchase Marijuana

Now that we’ve answered—does weed help the flu, it’s important to find a dispensary that sells high quality products to ensure you are getting the best relief. Cannabist San Francisco is our favorite San Francisco Cannabis Dispensary as they offer a magnificent assortment of edibles, topicals, oils, and tinctures, as well as fresh flower,  prerolls, and vape cartridges. Their edible selection is off the charts, and you’ll be able to find tons of tasty chocolates, gummies, candies, mints, and snacks that are perfect for helping you relax, sending you off into a slumber, and reducing inflammation. Their budtenders can help guide you to the finest products based on your flu-like symptoms. 

Finding CBD in San Francisco

Project Cannabist dispensary in SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco


Key Takeaways On Weed And Flu

We want to keep it honest over here when answering–”does weed help the flu?” We aren’t doctors, so before you consider using weed as a remedy for flu-like symptoms, we highly encourage you to consult with a medical professional. That said, let’s go over what we know about using weed to treat the flu.

  • Does weed help with the Flu? The truth is, there’s not enough research out there to determine just how much weed helps with the flu, but it could potentially help ease flu-like symptoms, and aggravate others.
  • Smoking and vaping can irritate the throat, lungs, and airways, so opt for edibles, tinctures, or transcutaneous patches if you have respiratory issues, a cough, or sore throat.
  • Ironically, infrequent cannabis smoking is thought to cause bronchodilation, which temporarily opens up airways, but it is not a long term fix.
  • Cannabis may help alleviate headaches, body aches, pain and inflammation associated with the flu.
  • Cannabis may ease insomnia and sleeplessness, which is great for restless sleepers who can’t seem to get some shuteye because of the flu.
  • Cannabis may help increase appetite, which is often suppressed by the flu.
  • THC cold syrups and beverages could potentially be a great way to get some shut-eye without feeling groggy the next day.

It’s clear that weed may help with some symptoms of the flu, but may also trigger or worsen symptoms. Proceed with caution and know the potential risks before consuming weed to treat the flu. If you have respiratory related symptoms with the flu, beware of what smoking methods can exacerbate unpleasant symptoms. Be sure to give yourself some grace and not be too hard on yourself during this time, as stressing about the situation only adds to the misery. 

Remember, you’re going to get through this, perhaps with a little help from Mary Jane! We wish you a speedy recovery from the flu–remember to get ample rest and stay hydrated.

Media credit: Unless otherwise noted, the images in this article are copyright of