December 17, 2021

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.

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.



  1. Nichols, JM, et al. (2020). Immune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol. Cannabis and cannabinoid research.
  2. (2021). CBD: For Sleep and Insomnia. American Sleep Association.
  3. Cox-Georgian, D, et al. (2019). Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes. Medicinal Plants: From Farm to Pharmacy.
  4. Herrington, AJ. (2021). Compounds In Cannabis Show Promise As A Treatment For Coronavirus Infections. Forbes.
  5. (2019). Common Cold Risk Factors. Healthline.

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