The Surprising Way to Stop Coughing when Smoking Weed by Dr. Michele Ross, PhD

The scent of marijuana has been dancing around our heads much more frequently with its legalization! This year we're celebrating with several ways: we had our medicated bake sale, and we also brought on an expert (from the neurobiology realm) to discuss a symptom that we often see clinically: the chronic smokers' cough.

Before we get started, a bit about Dr. Michele Ross...

Dr. Ross is a neuroscientist with fibromyalgia who has used Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in her healing journey. With her understanding of the body-mind-spirit, she has authored five books including Vitamin Weedcreated numerous online courses including the first certification on Cannabis & Motherhood, and has educated thousands of patients, clinicians, and cannabis industry professionals around the world. Check out her social.


Dr. Michele Ross

Dr. Michele Ross, PhD


Anyone who has pulled a puff of a marijuana joint or a vape pen knows that burning feeling in your throat, and the inevitable coughing fit that happens after  The embarrassing coughing session after smoking weed may go away for experienced cannabis users, however, that doesn’t mean chronic cannabis users are in the clear. Many cannabis smokers develop a chronic cough from their habit, even when they are not smoking.

Why Does a Cough Develop From Smoking Weed?

Regular cannabis smoking, whether from a joint, a bong, or a vape pen, may cause tiny injuries or trauma to your throat and lungs from toxic chemicals like ammonia that are inhaled from burned cannabis. Scientists have found regular marijuana smoking can lead to lung cells losing cilia, the little hairs that help sweep debris out of the lungs. Regular inhalation of cannabis can also lead to an impaired immune system (similarly, in TCM, immunity is largely connected to the lung function and organ), as macrophages are less able to attack bacteria and viruses that are inhaled. Both of these physiological changes in the body  can lead to excess coughing, as it’s harder for the lungs to get rid of air pollution and microbes you breathe in. 


Lung Cilia

Electron micrograph (EM) of the cells lining your lungs and airway |


Why Quitting Weed Might Not Be the Answer

The most obvious way to stop a chronic weed cough is to stop smoking marijuana, but for medical marijuana patients who may depend on the plant for relief or better sleep, this may not be an option. Even cannabis users who buy from adult-use marijuana dispensaries may simply enjoy the relaxation they get from smoking cannabis and not want to quit.

Finding A Long-term Fix For A Weed Cough

While drinking water or sucking on hard candies or cough drops can help an irritated throat  from weed smoking, it’s not a permanent long-term solution for the cough. After searching for solutions, and most of them failing hard, I finally found something that works for both me and my clients. Tea!

While I am a big fan of tea, I really never really explored more than green tea, black tea, and some herbal flavors like chamomile tea. Then I was introduced to TCM, which regularly uses teas and other foods as a way to promote recovery and maintain wellness. TCM uses a potent combination of different fruits, vegetables and herbs as tonics for specific symptoms. What’s fun is that these tonics, which look like tea bags, can be used as teas, or even added to soups to help turn an average bowl of ramen into a healing functional meal.

A Throat Soothing Tonic for Weed Cough

While I had heard of TCM formulas for period pain or upset tummy, I didn’t realize that there were ancient formulas to soothe the throat. While a throat soothing tonic could help when you have the cold or the flu, it is now your secret weapon in preventing and treating weed cough. Five Seasons TCM makes a throat soothing herbal tonic that includes powerful ingredients like Chinese licorice, Chrysanthemum, and Osmanthus that can help reduce hoarseness, lessen irritation, moisturize the throat, and soothe the lungs.

Try drinking the throat soothing tonic tea while smoking or for 3-5 days until your weed cough clears. Then drink the tonic tea once a week to keep your throat healthy and happy. Now no one needs to know you’re a weed smoker because your cough is gone!

 Throat Soothing Culinary TCM Tonic Bag

Throat Soothing Culinary TCM Tonic Bag

Editor’s Note: 

From a TCM viewpoint, smoking weed or smoking any herb for that matter is a warming or yang-producing activity. Weed itself already has warming energetics, and the addition of heat produced from burning or vaporizing heats and “burn up” the natural fluid that lubricates the organs in the body. This can lead to dryness with some heat in the body. The lungs are especially prone to dryness in general, and this dryness is understood as a Lung Yin deficiency.

Lung Yin deficiency can look like: sensations of heat in the body in the afternoon, night sweats, hot sensations in the palms and soles of feet, red malar flush on the cheeks, red tongue, perhaps with a thin dry coat. There may also be signs of a dry unproductive cough (no sputum or phlegm), or cough with a scanty sticky sputum, dry itchy throat and low hoarse voice. Not all smokers will develop a Yin deficiency cough but it's more common in smokers than not (especially in long-term users).  

In addition to the throat tonic and food therapy, our in-house acupuncturist, Kai Yim LAc, recommends sleeping with a humidifier on for the drier patterns that are accompanied by dry nose and throat, dry cough with no sputum or only scanty sputum, and red-tipped tongue. 

Learn more about dryness

Cover image credit: @thoughtcatalog
Written by Five Seasons TCM


Some of these comments are absolutely horrible. You can tell these folks are either young or are simply lashing out cuz they live miserable lives. Do better, people.

To the folks saying the author has never smoked, I wonder if you have — cuz you certainly aren’t acting like it. Embrace the chillness of cannabis, and the way it brings people together, and remember that we have peace pipes for a reason.

Cassidy79 on Jun 04, 2023

Wow…. The comments here are not the expected response from weed smokers… mainly the fact that they could even bother to leave one.

Maybe stop with the cones if it makes you communicate with other human beings in a hostile way. You are doing weed wrong. Maybe even check you didn’t accidently crush and sprinkle shards on top while reading the article. It’s known to happen… often… and on purpose.

Weed-Smoker-Who-Doesnt-Inhale-but-still-coughs on May 07, 2023

I agree with Charlie, it’s the dispensaries weed with chemicals. Before legalization it wasn’t as tainted & I didn’t cough as much.

Joey on Feb 05, 2023

Thank you so much for this informative article. I truly love Chinese medicine and the amazing wisdom that it offers us. This is completely new information to most of us western folk. It can be a little jarring and I can see from a lot of people’s responses that it was a lot to handle.. Really confused them and they lashed out. Unfortunate, hopefully they can learn to be open and take a new information without feeling threatened 🤷‍♀️ but I just want to say thank you so much for sharing this because I have been a weed smoker for about 13 years and really value this information.

Ash on Jan 31, 2023

I didn’t cough that bad but after I had bronchitis 1 year ago. Now I cough everytime I smoke and man I cough loud and for a long time. I even fractured a rib coughing. I hate it but I smoke medically so I deal with it.

Mark Skinner on Jan 26, 2023

I apologize to the author for all of the jerk stoners that left rude, unkind comments. Nothing better to do with themselves than Google how not to cough and then harass the author.

Jordan on Jan 23, 2023

cancer cures smoking.

Brian on Jan 09, 2023

My goodness people can be don’t have to be; mean

And then – dogpile – wow.

Can we be better?
Started @ 12 and that is close to half a century now and I cough like a coal miner now … so come on people now.


Eve on Dec 28, 2022

i couldnt find any common ground on this article lol

talaya on Dec 21, 2022

If the article is so terrible, why bother commenting? You are the “bitch”

Kristina on Dec 12, 2022

I have been smoking for 34 years now and I smoke about 3 to 4 bowls by myself every day. Yes, I do cough from time to time but I almost don’t cough anymore.

Jamey on Dec 07, 2022

She has no Idea what she’s talking about at all. I very seriously doubt she has smoked any at all. Wow

Jamey on Dec 07, 2022

My husband smokes almost every day and has the most annoying hack. It drives me nuts. Nothing helps this hack it is worse in the mornings. The lungs were not ment for constant smoke of any kind. Thc builds up in there and the throat some have it some don’t. Just stop smoking it and do edibles.

Lisa on Nov 09, 2022

I don’t think this woman has ever smoked pot in her entire life. If she had she would likely know that there are people who can hit a big bong and clear that thing with maybe one tiny little cough and that’s all. There are also people who take one tiny little hit and they practically explode. I’m one of those people. I don’t feel it as I’m hitting it but a few seconds later – O M fucking G!!!! Its always the same. Puff Puff Pass. Then I feel that burn. Only its not in my throat. Its in my chest where the smoke is. Duh. I try not to cough but I fail every time. And I cough sooooo hard and fast and for so long and all l can feel is this burning in my lungs that fucking hurts like hell. The pressure builds up so high until that I can’t contain it. It explodes out of me. Like the top of my head comes off. All I can do is nothing. This thing is taking me for a ride and I can’t stop it. I will cough for AT LEAST 3 to 5 minutes, sometimes longer. Mind you, I’m coughing so hard that I can’t stop to inhale any air. But I force myself and I suck in a bit. But I tell you what. I’d be the most stoned person there. It was a bit frightening if you didn’t know me And I never took a second hit. I can’t find any information about this type of reaction anywhere. The furthest I got was people would always watch me have my hacking fit and they’d almost always say two things. “You alright?” and then “This shit expands” What does that even mean? Can’t find out a single word about it on any website. Not even Erowid. I was telling this story to someone once and he said, “What that means is that pot smoke fills up your entire lung” Then he explained, “When you breathe, you only draw in enough fresh air to fill the top 2/3 of your lungs. The air in the bottom 1/3 doesn’t get exchanged” He didn’t know why. All he knew was there was something about pot smoke that allowed it to fill the bottom 1/3 of your lung. Then he pointed out that the lung tissue down there is very tender. Its never been exposed to anything damaging. Except for pot. It made sense. For the first time in all of my 50+ years I finally had a plausible explanation. But I’ve been thinking about it still and its starting to not sit right with me. I can believe that it could be true for someone who just started smoking. Their lungs are pristine. But after subsequent smokings the lungs would have to toughen up a bit. After 47 years of light usage but often, I know my lungs would have toughened up to the smoke. There has not been a single time when I haven’t blown the top of my head off. Now are you gonna sit there and tell me that all I have to do is drink your damn tea? Woman you are but a silly bitch, aren’t you…?

Ingrid Kvalvik on Oct 15, 2022

Pure nonsense. No common sense at all.

Thomas on Oct 08, 2022

Got this oz…gets me high but the cough so hard, I stripped lung muscles and developed Pleurisy, and the shit hurts to think. Never had an issue with a hard cough before with flower,only with dabs and shatter. Why would some basic ass regs make me hack up my uterus every hit??

Carrie on Sep 28, 2022

This article is bullshit.

Thisarticleisbullshit on Sep 24, 2022

I came back home from buying some plastic boxes today and my parter was just smoking my weed like wtf? Anyway great article bitch

Jesse Pinkman on Sep 14, 2022

Fake and gay

Dd on Aug 22, 2022

Ding dong its door sales person here you smoke weed you cough eat frogs you hop. All hand in hand . If you have tea you sling it like it’s your life but it’s no cure for weed cough.

Ed slot on Jul 10, 2022

There is only one company making smoking pipes and accessories that drastically reduce coughing and remove toxic resin and tar. check out and especially they MAZE-X pipe if you want to stop coughing

Michael Bentora on Jun 11, 2022

Do you know about the Toronto weed delivery?

Zohi on Apr 28, 2022

The article is just an ad for TV. It spends 20 paragraphs being the same generic “relatable” article intro she learned in 2nd grade then just promotes her stupid fucking tea. What a pathetic clickbait to try to convince people their cough could be cured with your bullshit in a bag.

This article fucking sucks on Apr 08, 2022

You ever read content labels on dispensary weed? Boron, Potassium, and a few other chemicals (and fertilizers? even organic ones?). I feel that’s what causes strong coughing. Yes, regular Cannabis without additives, can make you cough, but dispensary smoke really produces a racking cough. It’s not my age. or the THC content. Good Mexican weed doesn’t make me cough near as much, and, often gets me higher. I just have a few puffs only evenings, so no chronic all-day toking.. So, what gives with this?

charlie on Feb 24, 2022

You ever read content labels on dispensary weed? Boron, Potassium, and a few other chemicals (and fertilizers? even organic ones?). I feel that’s what causes strong coughing. Yes, regular Cannabis without additives, can make you cough, but dispensary smoke really produces a racking cough. It’s not my age. or the THC content. Good Mexican weed doesn’t make me cough near as much, and, often gets me higher. I just have a few puffs only evenings, so no chronic all-day toking.. So, what gives with this?

charlie on Feb 24, 2022

🤣 I think she meant and ounce

El on Feb 20, 2022

If u smoke a QP a day I feel sorry for you

Joshua P McVoy on Feb 10, 2022

I smoke a quarter pound a day my lungs throbbing, not my throat

Jaylen on Jan 26, 2022

perdere peso velocemente

Coreyspums on May 28, 2021

Leave a comment