Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 14, 2023

Probably the first time people get high is by smoking a joint or a vape. And even though inhaling weed is one of the most popular methods of using the cannabis plant, can smoking weed cause a sore throat?

Most regular smokers have probably experienced this after a toke sesh which resulted in a burning sensation in their throat.  

Smoking the substances in weed including aromatic terpenes, cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others), and also toxins, can cause your throat and nasal passages to dry out. Moreover, the toxins from cannabis smoke are irritant to the respiratory tract and can make you cough. Cannabinoids also inhibit saliva production which causes dry mouth (cottonmouth) and thus makes your throat dry out. And finally, your dry throat can lead to a sore throat.

As a result of that, a lot of people are switching from smoking weed to vaping, although side effects like having a sore throat can happen even when vaping.

So can you prevent this side effect when smoking cannabis? What are the alternative methods of consuming weed which don’t result in a sore throat as a result of marijuana use?

Can You Burn Your Throat From Smoking Weed?

Yes, inhaling weed may cause a burning throat. Moreover, by smoking marijuana, you are exposed to the carcinogens that are present in smoked cannabis and can even increase your risk of lung cancer. (Aldington et al, 2008)

But is there a way to alleviate these side effects? If you want to smoke weed and avoid having these side effects you might want to try some of the following tips.

How to Treat a Sore Throat From Smoking Weed?


Hydration should always be your number one priority when consuming cannabis in any form. Not only will hydration help you prevent cottonmouth, but it will even help your body recover faster if you have smoked too much weed. It’s best to hydrate before and after you use weed so you avoid the unwanted side effects like cottonmouth and a sore throat.

Gargle With Salt Water

If you have developed a sore throat, old-school gargling with salt water might help with some of the inflammation and pain. Use a mix of a glass of warm water with about ½ teaspoon of salt, gargle it around your mouth, and spit it out. This easy homemade remedy may be just what you need for your sore throat.

Use a Humidifier or Vaporizer

If you are smoking outdoors, inhaling fresh air will help prevent your throat from drying out, since it’s common knowledge that dry, hot air can result in a sore throat. On the other hand, if you are smoking indoors, maybe you should add some vapor in the air by using a humidifier before you sleep. It will not only hydrate your bronchial passages and throat, but it’s also a great way to prevent you from having a dry mouth in the future.

Use Throat Lozenges

Throat lozenges are a great affordable option that can help with your sore throat. They come in different flavors you can choose from and offer relief when your throat feels like it’s burning. Many of them contain anesthetics which can reduce your pain, although there are natural ones that contain lemon and honey which are also good.

Enjoy Soothing Foods and Drinks

There’s nothing better for your throat than having some noodle chicken soup if you are experiencing a sore throat. Eating soft warm foods won’t irritate your throat any further and will help it recover faster. Go for soups, mashed potatoes, ice cream, and stews.

You could also opt for some warm drinks like tea with an addition of honey which also helps the throat pain. Drinking warm lemon water with honey is also a great option for throat irritation.

Pause Cannabis Use

If you don’t want to quit weed altogether, but you are experiencing side effects like a sore throat, it might be beneficial for you to stop smoking it for a few days until you get better. After you feel like your symptoms have gone away, and your throat feels better, you can reevaluate whether you want to continue using weed this way.

How Can You Prevent a Sore Throat When Consuming Weed?

Your throat feels a bit better, and now you may be thinking about how you can prevent this from happening again?

Use Other Ways to Consume Weed

You could decide to try out other means of weed consumption. One of the more popular ones is vaping, which can be significantly less harsh for your throat. Vaping cools the air before it gets to your throat and because of that, there’s less chance of experiencing a sore throat.

Also, you could try using tinctures or edibles like weed brownies, that don’t require smoking.

Use Lemon In Your Bong Water

One thing you can try is adding hot water and lemon juice to your bong or bubbler which will add a bit of freshness to your bong water, and make it easier to clean afterward. Lemon juice has soothing properties which will even help you have a better experience when inhaling weed.

Use Fresh Weed

Old, dried-out weed is one of the most common culprits for coughing and a sore throat as a result of smoking marijuana. Make sure you are using fresh buds when you are smoking weed since older weed dries up and is harsher to smoke. Also, older weed is more prone to developing mold and fungus which can be harmful to you if you inhale it.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there are many things you can try if you want to have a more pleasant marijuana experience and avoid side effects like cotton mouth and sore throat. Make sure your weed is top-notch and it’s not dried out so you don’t find it very harsh when smoking. Also, if you want to switch it up a bit,  you can try edibles and tinctures as alternative ways of consuming marijuana.

If you do happen to experience a sore throat, you can try some of the home remedies we wrote about above like salt water gargling, throat lozenges, and enjoying soothing foods and drinks. And finally, you may want to try quitting smoking for a few days to let your body recuperate.

Additional Sources

Aldington, S., Harwood, M., Cox, B., Weatherall, M., Beckert, L., Hansell, A., Pritchard, A., Robinson, G., Beasley, R., & Cannabis and Respiratory Disease Research Group (2008). Cannabis use and risk of lung cancer: a case-control study. The European respiratory journal, 31(2), 280–286. https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.00065707

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.