Does CBD Oil Help With Colds


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Could CBD Help This Cold Season?

When winter is coming, you can bet there’s going to be an uptick in tissue and menthol throat lozenge sales. And don’t forget the cold prevention approach, with herbal supplements a-plenty.

Could CBD be a part of the new cold solution arsenal? That’s what we’re here to get to the bottom of.

We’re clearing away the congestion to learn:

  • Does CBD help if you have a cold?
  • Can CBD prevent you from catching a cold?
  • If so, how do you use CBD to reap those benefits?

You might have the sniffles right now, or there could be a cold virus lurking in the very room you occupy — so let’s get down to it.

Understanding The Common Cold

How does that old saying go? Oh, yeah. “Know thy enemy.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re aiming to prevent a cold or handle one you already have — you’ve gotta know what you’re up against. So let’s get familiar with our foe.

The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). It spreads through droplets in the air, physical contact, or sharing a contaminated item, like a drinking glass. It enters through the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Although colder months are peak cold season, you can catch a cold anytime of year.

The cold is usually caused by a strain of rhinovirus, but a lot of different viruses can cause a cold. They all have similar symptoms.

  • Runny nose or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • Low-grade fever
  • And feeling like you just wanna be under a heated blanket with your comfort show on replay…

… are all common cold symptoms.

Speaking of knowing your enemy: It’s important to know if what you’re dealing with is a cold or something else, like say, COVID-19 or flu. Be sure to go through the proper protocols to rule out the coronavirus or flu before you assume you’re dealing with a regular old cold.

This Is Your Immune System On Colds

Once a cold virus invades your body, your immune system is the superhero that comes in to save you from imminent nose-blowing and rib soreness from coughing. (Seriously, who knew there were muscles there?!)

This is what that counter-attack looks like.

  • It starts by sounding the alarm that a foreign invader has arrived. This is done by sending messenger proteins called cytokines to your white blood cells, brain, and blood vessels.
  • White blood cells travel through your bloodstream, so your blood vessels expand to make way for more of them to come in and combat the virus. This is when things start to get uncomfortable with symptoms setting in.
  • The white blood cells have to make your body a not-great place for the pesky cold virus. So they dilate blood vessels even further and occupy more space. This is the peak “I want my mommy” phase of a cold, with fever and other symptoms cranked up to 10. The good news is that your white blood cells are also making antibodies to prevent the virus from coming back.
  • Finally, the virus is defeated. Huzzah! This is when you can expect leaky faucet situations as your nose is the main pathway to flush out the fluid your body has accumulated from the immune response.

Love looking closely at the immune system? ReadHow To Use CBD To Support Your Immune System next!

CBD & The Common Cold

So, what do we know about CBD and colds?

With colds generally lasting around a week and not being life-threatening, they aren’t at the forefront of priorities for CBD research. So we don’t know a ton about colds specifically.

But being colds are viruses, we can draw some conclusions about CBD research for viral infections. We can also look at what CBD might do for cold symptoms.

Here’s the current download.

CBD Could Ease Cold Symptoms

Remember the immune response we learned about above? The symptoms that result from this immune activity are caused by two main actions:(1)

  • Inflammation brought on by white blood cells being ushered in and fighting off the virus. The result is congestion, body aches, a sore throat, and eventually a runny nose when the virus KO job is coming to an end.
  • Your brain bumps up its core temperature to make your body an unhappy place for the virus. The result is a fever.

CBD acts on a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This recently discovered system has ties to the immune system. We’re still learning about the relationship, but we know CBD has anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties that may reduce the intensity of these responses.

That means CBD might help you weather your cold more comfortably. And with evidence pointing to CBD supporting sleep, CBD oil could help you sleep through the worst of it.(2)

Compounds In Cannabis Could Prevent Viral Infections

Aside from the well-known cannabinoids CBD and THC, cannabis also contains compounds called terpenes.

The antiviral properties of terpenes have long been known, in part because cannabis isn’t the only plant that has them.(3)

Terpenes found in cannabis and CBD are currently being explored as an antiviral to prevent the contraction of COVID-19.(4) Preliminary research used a relative of COVID-19 and the common cold. So far, researchers have found the most effective way to prevent infection is a combination of terpenes and CBD.

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All this suggests that CBD oil rich in terpenes could be a worthy addition in your cold prevention toolkit.

Take a deep dive into the wonderful world of terpenes in the article calledWhat Are Terpenes & Why Do They Matter?

Using CBD For Colds & Cold Prevention

Now you know the science behind CBD versus cold viruses, you might be wondering how to use CBD products to prevent a cold or manage the symptoms.

It all comes down to safety, smoking, and spectrums.

Run It Past Your Doc

Most people tolerate CBD very well. If side effects do occur, it’s rare. They include dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness, and reduced appetite.

But remember, CBD can suppress the immune system. For healthy adults, this usually isn’t an issue. That’s why it’s okay to take cold medicine and anti-inflammatory pain relievers when you have a cold.

However, if you have an autoimmune condition (or any medical condition), you should definitely consult with your doctor before using CBD for your cold (or anything else). CBD can interact with other medications and isn’t recommended for use with all health conditions.

Don’t Smoke! (Do This Instead)

Smoking irritates your respiratory system, so smoking cannabis or vaping CBD when you have a cold isn’t ideal. It can also make you and those around you more susceptible to respiratory infections.(5)

But with so many fantastic CBD products out there, you won’t have any trouble getting a dose in. You could take CBD with melatonin in your bedtime tea, take a water-soluble CBD softgel for fast-acting relief, or chew a CBD gummy.

And while you’re at it, you may as well make it a gummy made with immune boosting in mind, like these CBD gummies with elderberry, zinc, and vitamin C.

Use Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

If you want the power of terpenes, you need a CBD oil that’s loaded with ‘em. Let’s deduce which type of CBD to choose.

  • Isolate CBD is processed to remove everything except CBD, and it loses terpenes in the process.
  • Full-spectrum CBD is an option, but it may contain more THC than is legal or than you want.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD still contains terpenes with zero or virtually no THC. (The max THC content is 0.3%.)

That makes broad-spectrum CBD the best bet for getting your terpenes. Best part? It’s federally legal, so you can likely find it locally — or keep your germs to yourself and order it online!

We’re Just Getting Warmed Up

Looking at the science, we still have a lot to solidify before we know exactly how and why CBD could be an effective cold remedy or tool for cold prevention.

However, CBD’s properties do seem to ease inflammation and symptoms associated with colds. And, the combo of terpenes and CBD may prevent viral infections.

If you want to try CBD this cold season, first make sure it’s safe to use with your current medical treatment plan. To get the potential benefits of terpenes for colds, use broad-spectrum CBD. Avoid the risks associated with smoking by choosing from the many edible CBD products.

CBD Oil for Colds – August 2022

Research shows that the chemical compound CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) (7) . The ECS helps regulate functions of the nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems (8) .

Scientists suggest CBD can attach to cannabinoid receptors, including CB1 and CB2 receptors, to suppress the inflammatory response (9) .

The authors of a 2008 study suggested that the body’s ECS affects sleep modulation (10) . Poor sleep quality can lower one’s immunity, affecting one’s vulnerability to common cold viruses (11) .

The ECS may also be connected to other bodily functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and energy metabolism (12) .

Why Are People Turning to CBD for Colds?

Inflammation that affects a person’s nose and throat in the upper respiratory tract causes the common cold (13) . Rhinoviruses most frequently cause the common cold (14) .

No cure exists for the common cold. Numerous people recover from it within ten days (15) . Natural remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) products are often used to manage symptoms of the common cold , such as sinus infections.

Common natural remedies include homemade chicken soup, which may help ease symptoms of respiratory tract infections, according to a 2000 study implemented by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (16) .

Research and Studies on CBD for Colds

Studies show that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic propertie s (17) . It may benefit the common cold, which results from nose and throat inflammation and induces pain, such as headaches or sore throat.

A 2010 study administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) produced mixed results based on the particular virus es involved, Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-1 and HSV-2 (18) .

The researchers noted that cannabinoids may help with persistent viral infections. Cannabinoids are a specific group of chemical compounds that contain active components of the cannabis plant.

However, the researchers also noted that the chemical compounds may weaken a person’s natural immune function.

Individuals with cold or flu-like symptoms that believe their illness is more severe than the common cold or flu should seek medical attention immediately.

For example, while COVID-19 shares some symptoms with influenza, coronavirus disease is a severe respiratory illness that may require hospitalization (19) .

Pros and Cons: Can CBD Help with Colds?

The Pros

  • Studies show that CBD may improve sleep quality among people with anxiety problems (20) . People with poor sleep quality are more susceptible to the common cold (21) .
  • CBD is not psychoactive, meaning CBD users do not experience mind-altering effects with CBD (22) .
  • The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) promotes research on the possible medicinal uses of various cannabis strains (23) .
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The Cons

  • No scientific evidence exists that CBD can directly reduce cold symptoms, such as a cough or runny nose.
  • CBD products, particularly those sold through e-commerce, have a high rate of mislabeling and lack standardization (24) . Consumers should read all terms of use and disclaimers.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea are commonly observed side effects of CBD intake in humans (25) . People who experience these side effects should immediately see their doctor.
  • The seizure medication Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD product (26) .

Comparing CBD Oil and Alternative Treatments for Colds

Possible interventions to prevent the common cold include vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics (27) . These remedies may be alternatives to CBD products .

Data regarding vitamin C intake shows that the organic compound may lower the duration and severity of colds in study subjects (28) .

Zinc intake within 24 hours of the start of cold symptoms may reduce the severity and duration of colds in healthy human subjects (29) .

Studies show that probiotics may be beneficial in preventing upper respiratory tract infection (30) . Probiotics are live microorganisms with purported health benefits.

Cannabidiol similarly contains properties that may alleviate the common cold’s symptoms. Edible or topical CBD products infused with vitamin c, zinc, and probiotics may benefit individuals with colds.

How to Select the Right CBD for Colds

CBD comes in different types: CBD isolates, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum.

Full-spectrum CBD contains all naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants. It has high levels of cannabidiol and trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), flavonoids (plant metabolites), terpenes (aromatic compounds), and other minerals.

Meanwhile, b road-spectrum CBD contains similar contents as full-spectrum without the psychoactive compound THC.

Finally, CBD isolates contain pure cannabidiol and are usually sold as powder or crystals.

Consumers should choose only CBD products with the best quality to maximize the compound’s health and wellness benefits.

When purchasing high-quality CBD, consider the following:

  • Industrial hemp is high in fiber yet low in THC content (31) .
  • CBD legality varies from state to state.

Medical marijuana is legal in most states, while others have passed laws legalizing CBD based on stipulations, including the form, THC level, and usage (32) .

  • Each CBD product should include a certificate of analysis (COA). The COA shows that a third-party laboratory tested the product.

CBD Dosage for the Flu and Colds

The FDA has not officially approved a CBD dosage guide. Human clinical trials on CBD, however, may provide insight for safe and reliable CBD doses.

One study used a daily dose of CBD to treat anxiety, which produced sufficient clinical response (33) . CBD produced few reported side effects and was well tolerated.

A 2021 review reported that high doses of CBD up to 1,500 mg per day are well tolerated in human subjects (34) .

How to Take CBD Hemp Oil for Colds

Taking CBD hemp through tinctures allows people to measure the amount of cannabidiol they use.

CBD oil drops are put under the tongue using a dropper. The oil is held there for 30 to 60 seconds before swallowing.

Consuming CBD gummies, tablets, and capsules is another straightforward way to consume CBD. They also come in predetermined CBD doses for consumers’ convenience.

Vaping gets CBD into the system quickly. However, vaping is not a recommended form of CBD administration for colds.

A 2008 study showed that cigarette smoke could worsen viral infections, including influenza (35) .

What Are Colds and the Flu?

Colds and the flu are both classified as contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. The influenza virus causes the flu, while several viruses can cause the common cold (36) .

Common flu symptoms indicating the effects of an immune response include (37) :

  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose or runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Chills

The flu sometimes leads to influenza deaths. Experts estimate that the flu causes approximately 23,600 deaths in the United States every year (38) .

The flu and cold can also have similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to distinguish them. The flu is generally more severe than colds (39) .

How Do People Get Colds and the Flu?

The colds and the flu viruses can spread from person to person, often through the air. Infected individuals are contagious for several days after they have fallen ill.

One can catch viruses like influenza when someone near them is coughing or sneezing (40) .

Viruses continuously mutate to breach the body’s immune system’s defenses. Antibiotics designed for bacteria produce n o effect on viruses (41) .

Viruses ca n stay alive on hard, non-porous surfaces for 24 to 48 hours (42) . People can become infected by touching something the virus is on, like a phone, pen, or doorknob, and then touch their nose or mouth.

How Do Colds Impact Infected Individuals?

Viruses are microscopic infectious agents coated with thin layers of protein (43) .

The cold or flu viruses cannot reproduce by themselves. They use human cells to replicate themselves.

Once the virus infiltrates a human cell, it utilizes the cell to clone itself. After the cell breaks, the virus seeks a new cell or combines with the cell’s DNA.

The virus moves through the process of genetic duplication (mitosis) and cellular division (cytokinesis).

Why Let a Cold Run Its Course?

Viruses that produce colds and the flu affect weak cells with many toxins (44) . The body would prefer to rid itself of these cells in some ways.

A cold or the flu, however, is a natural event. It identifies, destroys, and eliminates damaged cells. Thus, one remedy is to let the cold run its course.

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Common Flu Treatments

Flu vaccines develop antibodies two weeks after an individual is vaccinated (45) . The antibodies protect an individual from influenza infections.

Meanwhile, antiviral medications target a range of viruses, including influenza viruses (46) .

It is critical to wash one’s hands frequently during the flu season, especially before eating or touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. Avoiding sick people can also help stop the flu from spreading.


CBD may have antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory effects and properties that may benefit individuals with colds (47) .

The chemical compound may help reduce chronic pain and inflammation (48) .

CBD studies conducted by organizations such as the University of Colorado yielded promising results (49) .

Still, researchers have conducted no direct studies on CBD and colds. People interested in trying CBD products for colds should first seek medical advice from a doctor.

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Although CBD (cannabidiol) is sometimes promoted to help reduce the symptoms of colds and the flu, there are no published studies investigating these effects in people. Some preliminary research in animals suggests that CBD (and THC) may actually hinder the immune system’s response to certain infections. For details, see the What It Does section of the CBD and Hemp Extracts Supplements Review.

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