CBD Oil for Sore Throat: How Does It Relieve Flu Symptoms?

CBD for Sore Throat Illustration
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: November 9, 2023

Autumn and winter are very beautiful seasons, but at the same time, the low temperatures, harsh winds, and humid weather can cause many health problems, especially as our immune system is more susceptible to different viruses and bacteria.

Sore throat, flu, coughing, and congested nose are all typical symptoms of getting an infection due to a weakened immune system.

Sore throat is a common symptom people are dealing with during winter, so you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do to prevent it or get rid of it?

Can you use CBD oil, the major non-intoxicating ingredient in cannabis plants and a well-known anti-inflammatory, to help with a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms?

Let’s find out.

What Causes Sore Throat?

A sore throat is usually a symptom of the flu or cold. Sometimes, it can be caused by smoking tobacco, but most of the time, it stems from viral and bacterial infections.

Sore throats triggered by viruses often involve other symptoms, such as red eyes, mild headache, fever, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, or congestion of the airways.

Other potential causes of cold are allergies, air pollutants, and air dryness.

To relieve sore throats, people usually take anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers, such as naproxen or ibuprofen. These medications provide short-term relief from pains of flu and sore throat.

CBD also has remarkable pain-killing properties, but at the same time, it doesn’t involve the dangerous side effects associated with the long-term use of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs.

So, when you take CBD, you may expect a feeling of ease in your throat — which may help you to deal with flu symptoms.

Can CBD Help with Sore Throat?

Woman Wearing Black Taking CBD Oil

The supposed health benefits of CBD make it a potentially effective treatment for sore throat.

CBD is a cannabis-derived compound; unlike THC, it won’t get you high because it doesn’t have intoxicating properties. Instead, CBD modulates a very important system in your body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — the number one reason for its therapeutic versatility.

In clinical human trials, CBD has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Researchers even theorized that the antibacterial activity of essential oils in hemp is due to the presence of CBD.

In a study published in Frontiers in Cellular Infection Microbiology, the authors revealed that CBD modulated bacterial membrane vesicles.

CBD increased the bactericidal activity of several antibiotics against Gram-positive bacteria. The research team also noted that CBD can be used with specific antibiotics as a potential enhancing agent to reduce antibiotic resistance.

Another study that tested the efficacy of CBD against Gram-positive bacteria concluded that the compound had remarkable antibacterial effects in a combination with an antibiotic ointment.

Gram-positive bacteria are known to cause a sore throat.

Although these studies suggest that CBD may be beneficial for patients with sore throats, we still need more direct clinical evidence to prove CBD’s efficacy in the long run.

CBD for Sore Throat Pain

CBD is generally used to treat anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and pain.

On top of its antibacterial properties, CBD can also reduce inflammation and alter pain signaling to the brain.

In a 2010 review of the existing studies, CBD and other cannabinoids have been mentioned as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.

CBD activates the CB2 cannabinoid receptor in the ECS, which is mostly found in the immune system and peripheral organs. This interaction causes CBD to inhibit the release of cytokines, which are pro-inflammatory proteins that cause redness, swelling, and pain upon activation.

When it comes to pain, CBD uses a multifaceted mechanism.

First, it helps to increase the body’s natural levels of anandamide, which is one of the two endocannabinoids produced by the body. Anandamide is responsible for modulating our pain threshold on top of many other functions (appetite, fertility, fear, pleasure, etc.)

Another way CBD can mitigate pain is through its interaction with the TRPV1 vanilloid receptor. This receptor controls communication between nerve cells and the brain — including the way pain signals are transmitted. The activation of the TRPV1 receptor leads to dampened sensations of pain.

CBD for Strep Throat

Strep throat occurs when a sore throat is accompanied by fever caused by streptococcal infections.

You can find many testimonies online from people sharing their success stories using CBD oil for strep throat.

According to our findings, it’s only within reason to assume that CBD oil can cause some dryness in your mouth if you take it without water, but it doesn’t contribute to strep throat.

There are no direct studies that would evaluate CBD’s efficacy for strep throat, but considering its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, it can help with the treatment of minor bacterial infections.

But most importantly, CBD is an effective pain killer — so it can definitely help with some pain associated with strep throat.

How does CBD Oil Work to Help with Sore Throat?

Researchers have yet to understand the mechanism behind CBD’s supposed antibacterial properties. However, the compound is known to interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a vital network in the body that regulates essential physiological functions, such as cognition, immune response, pain signaling, body temperature, sleep cycles, appetite, fertility, mood, memory, and more.

The CB2 receptors are primarily responsible for immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions. CBD activates these receptors, which is believed to be the main reason behind its therapeutic benefits.

Why You Should Consider Using CBD for Sore Throat

  • Numerous studies have shown that CBD exerts antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant actions in the body, which could theoretically benefit people with a sore throat.
  • CBD can increase the antibacterial activity of certain antibiotics. Researchers also learned that CBD can be of assistance in killing Gram-positive bacteria.
  • CBD is legal on a federal level as long as the products are compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill. The new law allows for the selling, transporting, and processing of CBD as long as it is derived from hemp and contains no more than 0.3% of THC.
  • The FDA supports research on the potential medicinal applications of cannabis plants and their derivatives.
  • CBD is non-intoxicating, unlike THC, so it won’t produce any mind-altering effects.

CBD’s Limitations for Sore Throat

  • There is no clinical data that could prove CBD’s efficacy in treating a sore throat.
  • Although CBD doesn’t cause a sore throat, it still has some benign side effects, such as dry mouth, reduced appetite, fatigue, drowsiness, and diarrhea if you take large doses.
  • CBD isn’t approved as an official treatment for any medical condition aside from epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
  • There are no standards in place when it comes to manufacturing and labeling practices among CBD producers. A lot of CBD products sold locally and online are mislabeled or contaminated with toxic ingredients.
  • CBD isn’t included as part of an insurance plan in the United States.

How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Sore Throat?

Five Bottles of CBD Oil in Different Color Label

You can choose between three forms of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.

The full-spectrum form of CBD contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant. These compounds work synergistically to improve the therapeutic profile of CBD. This mechanism is known as the entourage effect.

High-quality full-spectrum CBD oils are rich in CBD and only have a trace amount of THC and other cannabinoids.

The second type is broad-spectrum CBD, a form that is similar to full-spectrum. The main difference is the lack of THC, which is removed once the above compounds have been extracted from the plant matter.

Broad-spectrum CBD is a good option for people who want to benefit from cannabidiol but are afraid of taking any amounts of THC.

If you’re allergic to other hemp compounds, such as terpenes, waxes, and oils, you can try CBD isolate. This form of CBD contains pure CBD and carries the highest dose per serving; it’s also odorless and flavorless, which is another point in favor of isolate-based CBD oils.

That being said, isolates don’t evoke the entourage effect, making them less desired than full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products.

Tips for Choosing High-Quality CBD Oils

  • Only purchase from reputable companies that can deliver relevant certificates of analysis (COA) of the chosen product. This document will list the entire phytochemical profile of the tested sample, including its CBD content, THC levels, and results for contaminants.
  • The best CBD oils for sore throat are made from industrial hemp. Choose brands that use organic hemp plants for extraction.
  • Make sure to read product reviews before buying from an online vendor. When purchasing CBD oil for sore from a dispensary, check if the store is authorized to sell CBD products.
  • Choose CO2-extracted CBD oils. This extraction method is the industry’s golden standard because it yields pure and potent extracts without using extra heat or aggressive solvents.
  • Consult a holistic doctor experienced in CBD and cannabis use before purchasing or using any CBD product. Doing so will help you find the right dosage and avoid negative interactions with medications.

CBD Dosage for Sore Throat

Since CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, there are no official dosage guidelines or charts when it comes to using CBD for sore throat.

However, you can take a look at past studies on humans to find what dosages work best that was found to be safe and effective.

A 2019 study from the Permanente Journal revealed that people with anxiety took 25 mg to 175 mg of CBD per day — effectively reducing anxiety while being well-tolerated by the subjects.

A 2017 review of the existing scientific literature concluded that humans could take CBD in doses as high as 1,500 mg per day. The authors also noted that none of the studies that were examined reported increased tolerance to CBD.

How to Take CBD Oil for Sore Throat?

The best way to take CBD for sore throat is through oil or tinctures.

CBD oil is administered under the tongue using a dropper. You need to hold it in your mouth for up to 60 seconds for improved absorption. From there, the CBD will travel directly to your bloodstream, avoiding the first-pass metabolism in the liver.

Another straightforward approach to taking CBD is through eating flavorful edible gummies or taking capsules. Edibles can be eaten like normal snacks, while capsules can be administered similarly to other health supplements. They take more time to kick in — up to 90 minutes — but the effects last longer than with other methods.

Although vaping may be a fast and effective way to administer CBD to your system, it’s not the best way of taking CBD for sore throat. The vapor can be too hot and further irritate your throat.

Does CBD Oil Have Side Effects?

CBD Oil with Hemp Leaves and CBD Chemical Structure

Yes, just like all health supplements out there.

CBD has many health benefits and an excellent safety profile. It can’t cause a lethal overdose and doesn’t involve dangerous side effects with long-term use but it still has some benign side effects.

That being said, where there is a plus, there is also a minus.

CBD can cause the following side effects:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Appetite fluctuation
  • Diarrhea (doses over 300 mg)

CBD can also disrupt your liver’s ability to metabolize drugs because it’s a potent inhibitor of the Cytochrome P450 system (CYP450). This system is responsible for metabolizing 60% of pharmaceutical drugs. A similar inhibitory effect is achieved by drinking grapefruit juice, so if your medication has a grapefruit warning on it, you shouldn’t take it at the same time you take CBD.

The best way to avoid these drug interactions with CBD is to consult a doctor before buying CBD for a sore throat.

Can CBD Oil Make Your Throat Dry?

As mentioned earlier in the article, the ECS and its receptors occur throughout the entire body — including your mouth.

And your salivary glands.

When you take CBD oil under the tongue, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the salivary glands, inhibiting saliva production.

That’s why you get the cottonmouth effect every single time you consume a cannabis-derived product.

It doesn’t matter whether you take CBD or THC — dry mouth knows no exceptions.

You can easily manage this side effect by keeping yourself hydrated before, during, and after your CBD use. If you already have a dry throat, CBD oil might cause some mild irritation, but it shouldn’t deteriorate your condition either.

Key Takeaways: Is CBD Oil Good for Sore Throat?

Although CBD oil isn’t a miracle cure for all your health problems, taking it for sore throat is well backed by science.

Several high-quality studies have highlighted CBD’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects — so it’s safe to assume you can use it to manage sore throat and other symptoms of flu and common colds.

CBD can also reduce the pain experienced by patients with sore throats. While no direct study has yet investigated its impact on this condition, current findings leave no doubt that it can be a decent approach to fighting infections and the side effects of a sore throat.

If you’re considering adding CBD oil to your medicine cabinet, make sure to consult a holistic doctor, especially if you take any medications that could interact with cannabidiol and cause unwanted reactions.

Do you use CBD oil for sore throat? Is it any better than conventional OTC meds? Share your opinion in the comments below!


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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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