You’re not alone if you’ve ever had a coughing fit after consuming cannabis.

It is a typical, normal reaction to smoke inhalation.

But occasionally you can cough even if you don’t smoke.

If you frequently consume cannabis, this is more likely to occur.

Continue reading to find out why smoking marijuana can make you cough.

We’ll also look at how cannabis smoking may impact lung health and lung cancer risk.



Your airways’ sensory nerves trigger a cough reaction when you inhale cannabis smoke. This is your body’s defense mechanism against irritants.

It happens naturally when you breathe in any form of smoke.

✅Researchers are still understanding the effects of cannabis smoke on the lungs.

✅There is currently no conclusive evidence linking cannabis smoking to long-term lung harm. Whether it raises the risk of lung cancer is unknown.

✅ However, smoking cannabis has been linked to persistent bronchitis. 

✅ The result is persistent wheezing, phlegm, and coughing.  In most situations, if you stop using cannabis, these symptoms will go.


Why does this occur?

There are sensory nerves that line your throat and lungs. They function to find irritants in your airways, such as smoke.

The nerves in your respiratory tract convey signals when you inhale an irritant. This triggers a cough reflex that aids in clearing your system of the irritating material. Protecting your lungs and respiratory system is the main objective.

This is what occurs when marijuana is smoked. Your airways become irritated by the smoke, which causes your nerves to reflexively cough. It is a typical response to breathing in any form of smoke.


Does marijuana harm your lungs?

According to research, consuming cannabis usually has short-term rather than long-term impacts on coughing. Now let’s examine the research.


A 2013 review found that cannabis smoking slightly damages the bronchi or big airways. Your trachea (windpipe) and lungs are connected by channels called bronchi.

You are now more likely to develop chronic bronchitis, also known as inflamed bronchi, which results in persistent coughing. When a person stops routinely smoking, chronic bronchitis usually goes away.

Protection from infection

Additionally, smoking regularly damages the cilia in the airways. Cilia are tiny hairs that serve as particles and germ filters. The 2013 assessment also found that while regular smoking lowers your lungs’ ability to fight off infections, it isn’t linked to long-term harm.

Lung health over time

In particular, a 2012 study looked at the relationship between cannabis use and long-term lung function over a 20-year span. The researchers discovered no connection between occasional smoking and poor lung function.

They made certain assumptions regarding the possibility of long-term harm from heavy smoking, but they were unable to draw any firm conclusions. There weren’t enough subjects who smoked cannabis frequently for the study.

It’s important to remember that consuming cannabis while also smoking tobacco is linked to long-term lung harm. In a 2016 study, smokers of both tobacco and cannabis had a higher risk of having poor lung function than smokers of only tobacco.

Despite these results, researchers are still discovering the long-term effects of cannabis use on lung health. There needs to be more long-term research.


Does cannabis smoking lead to lung cancer?

A 2020 study found that 110 chemicals with potential toxicity are present in cannabis smoke. 69 of these substances are also present in cigarette smoke. As a result, many individuals ponder whether smoking marijuana can result in lung cancer.

The research is inconsistent. A 2015 meta-analysis discovered a tenuous association between chronic cannabis use and the risk of lung cancer. A previous study from 2006 likewise revealed no link between chronic smoking and lung cancer.

However, a 2013 study covering more than 40 years discovered that smoking cannabis frequently increases the risk of lung cancer. After the researchers corrected their data for tobacco use, alcohol usage, and respiratory disorders, the connection remained.

Similar to this, a study from 2008 that took into account cigarette smoking discovered a link between cannabis use and lung cancer.

It might be challenging to establish a strong connection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is due to the fact that smoking cigarettes and using cannabis both raise the risk of lung cancer.

Therefore, further research including cannabis users as opposed to smokers is required.

Coughing could also result from lung cancer. The coughing in this situation will either continue or worsen over time. Additional typical signs of lung cancer include:

  • spitting up blood
  • Chest ache
  • hoarseness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unaccounted-for weight loss
  • fatigue
  • recent wheezing
  • Excessive breathing

Remember that there are numerous probable reasons of coughing. Visit your doctor if you’re worried about your coughing.


Persistent cough

As previously mentioned, consistent cannabis use can cause chronic bronchitis. If you have coughing and mucus for at least three months over the course of two years, your bronchitis is deemed chronic.

Because persistent coughing is a symptom of chronic bronchitis, you might still cough even when you’re not smoking. The cough may come and go and get worse occasionally. Wheezing might also be present.

If you smoke cannabis and develop chronic bronchitis, quitting will lessen your symptoms.


Ways to stop coughing

Cannabis smokers claim that there are a number of strategies to reduce post-smoking coughing. One can:

  • Reduce the dosage. Less smoke will reach your airways all at once if you take smaller cannabis “hits” or breaths.
  • Breathe deeply. By doing this, you can avoid getting smoke in your throat, which can make you cough.
  • Breathe in and out slowly. Avoid taking deep breaths and exhaling quickly. You breathe in slowly and deeply.
  • Sip water. Water consumption is advised prior to, during, and after smoking. Reducing throat discomfort may help you cough less frequently.

Want to stop coughing completely? Think about consuming cannabis rather than smoking it.


How to relieve throat pain?

Here are some ways to soothe a sore throat if you have already been coughing:

  • Rinse with salt water. The best remedy for throat irritation and pain is a saltwater gargle. To create it, combine 4 to 8 ounces of warm water with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Drink some water. Fluid consumption will lessen throat dryness. Water that is cold is extremely relaxing.
  • Sip warm beverages. To soothe a sore throat, you can also sip on warm liquids like broth or tea without caffeine.
  • Consume hard candy. Sucking on hard candy can help you cough less and produce more saliva.
  • Consume cold food. Consuming ice cream or ice pops may be beneficial.
  • Put a humidifier on. Humidifiers are the best way to lessen the dry air that can make your symptoms worse.
  • Enjoy a break. Smoke marijuana in moderation until your throat feels better.


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