When the cold, flu (influenza), or a virus comes on, the body has a tendency to produce some nasty symptoms. These include:
- Body aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throats
Though over-the-counter medication does all it can to alleviate these symptoms, it never seems to be enough. With cannabidiol (CBD) making so many headlines as a therapeutic medication, it comes as no surprise many people wonder if it can help for common sicknesses.
So, can it?
It’s a bit of a complicated answer. There are ways in which CBD can help and ways in which it can actually worsen symptoms. Throughout this article, we’re going to review both.
Why Do We Get the Cold and Flu?
As you’re probably aware, there currently isn’t a cure for the common cold or flu. Though getting your flu shot before the winter season can help (and is highly advised), dodging these common sicknesses at least once a year is practically unavoidable.
This is due to the fact that a new cold or flu virus circles around every year. Since your body has never been introduced to this new pathogen, it isn’t immediately aware of how to kill it off. The symptoms you develop (runny nose, sneeze, congestion) are a result of your body killing this new pathogen in the body.¹
With the understanding, most medication out there seeks to relieve symptoms rather than targeting viruses. Since a new flu or cold virus appears so frequently, scientists don’t have the time nor ability to develop a medication that properly kills it off.
Keeping all this in mind, CBD also doesn’t have the ability to kill off a cold virus. In other words, if you’re already feeling the onset of a cold, you’re bound to get symptoms.
However, CBD may just have the ability to alleviate some of these symptoms.
How Can CBD Help?
Scientists have only come so far in their understanding of how cannabidiol works on the body. We know the cannabis compound indirectly affects our endocannabinoid system and, in turn, produces many of the therapeutic reliefs often associated with it.
It’s these therapeutic reliefs which may just alleviate certain cold and flu symptoms. In order to get a better understanding, let’s take a look at some of CBD’s main properties:
- Analgesic (pain-relieving)
Research has confirmed CBD can be used as a treatment method for chronic pain.³ This data suggests it may help with some of the pain associated with a cold or flu, such as body aches and headaches. However, this suggestion isn’t confirmed.
- Anti-bacterial and Anti-viral
Currently, there is no research suggesting CBD can properly fight off a cold or flu virus or infection. However, due to cannabidiols anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, it might help in getting rid of your sickness faster.⁴
One of the biggest discoveries scientists made was CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties. Certain cold and flu symptoms can be associated with inflammation, such as a sore throat or swollen nasal and sinus passageways.⁵
Numerous studies have found CBD can help people who suffer from nausea. Sometimes, when we get a cold or flu, we experience nausea or vomiting.⁶
- Immune System Boost
Though CBD might not be able to help fight off your viral infection, it can most certainly aid your immune system. Some scientists suggest this aid can help reduce symptoms and even lessen the length of viruses.⁷
- Sleep Aid
One of the biggest difficulties when it comes to getting the flu or cold is many people feel restless. Cannabidiol can not only help people get to bed quicker, but also give them better quality sleep.⁸
Suggestion for Taking CBD While Sick
There are methods of taking cannabidiol which most likely won’t help you when you’re sick. For example, smoking hemp buds or vaping CBD e-liquid juice can actually worsen certain symptoms, such as a sore throat.
If you’re thinking about taking cannabidiol while you’re sick, it’s suggested you consume it through an edible, tincture, or topical. If interested in finding products of this category, feel free to check out Culture for Good’s products page.
¹ CDC: Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others
² World Health Organization: Cannabidiol (CBD)
⁵ HHS Public Access: Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
⁸ The Permanente Journal: Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series