Winter is here and so is cold and flu season. Does marijuana help or hinder OTC cold medicines?
We finally know why we get colds in the winter. According to a study in 2022 published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the cold weather messes with our nose. The biologic, molecular explanation regarding one factor of our innate immune response appears to be limited by colder temperatures. In fact, reducing the temperature inside the nose by as little as 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) kills nearly 50% of the billions of helpful bacteria-fighting cells and viruses in the nostrils. This allows us to catch a cold. Then we race out and spend $11 billion on over the counter (OTC) cold medicines. But what about cold medicine and marijuana?
First, as rough as it sounds, caffeine should be avoided with cold medicine. Most medicine are contain stimulants. Adding additional caffeine, like taking the meds with coffee may increase symptoms like restlessness and the inability to sleep. Additionally, you should use alcohol while taking the meds. Alcohol, like some medicines, can make you sleepy, drowsy, or lightheaded. Drinking alcohol while taking medicines can intensify these effects. You may have trouble concentrating or performing mechanical skills.
Now about cold medicine and marijuana. Although there’s no serious risk, combining weed with OTC cold and flu medications which have sedative effects, can intensify drowsiness and affect cognitive function. You may find it more difficult to concentrate or make decisions. Similar to alcohol, but you don’t know your own reactions.
How you consume can also affect your recovery. While most people now use gummies, the traditional way is to smoke or vape. This can aggravate the throat and imped recovery.
NyQuil is a recognizable over-the-counter brand of medicine can temporarily relieve coughing, headaches, stuffy and runny nose, sore throat, fever, and sneezing. And while it can seem innocuous to combine NyQuil and cannabis, it is not a good idea.
The three active ingredients in NyQuil include acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine. All three have been linked to side effects like stomach pains, nausea, dizziness, and drowsiness (common side effects of consuming too strong a dose of cannabis). Taking Nyquil in addition to cannabis can result in stronger side effects and sedation than desired. You do not want to increase side effects while battled a cold.
While having a cold is no fun, it is best to do what you can to combat it and get it over with, sleep, hydrate, and take the appropriate medicines. It usually has to run the course and you don’t want to do anything to encourage it lingering about.