Why Does CBD Flower Burn My Throat? – List of 9 Remedies

A hemp bud being pulled out of a pop top container held by tongs.

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One of the cons of smoking CBD flower is dealing with a sore throat. But there are ways of dealing with the burning and ensuring it doesn’t occur again.  

When grown properly, CBD flower shouldn’t burn your throat. The irritation you feel after smoking could be caused by pesticides, incorrect drying/curing, or lack of proper care, especially when it’s grown in bulk. But if you smoke CBD very regularly, then some slight throat irritation is normal.

The first step to solving your sore throat irritation issue is understanding what’s causing it. And if you’re already struggling with a burning throat, we will discuss tips on how to deal with it. Read on, and we’ll go in-depth to solve the burning throat question.

Factors That Can Cause Throat Irritation

There are several factors that cause throat irritation after smoking hemp flower. Here are some of the most common.  

pesticides or other chemicals used during the growing process

Pesticides and chemicals are among the biggest buzzwords when it comes to the CBD industry. They’re one of the few reasons that CBD flower could actually become harmful to your health.

Even organic pesticides can cause problems when used incorrectly. One of the commonly used pesticides in the growth of hemp is neem oil. Neem oil is a natural pesticide that is perfectly safe, but only if it is used during the early stages of growing. If neem oil is used incorrectly toward the end of the flowering cycle, then it could cause health problems for consumers. That’s because neem oil has an active component known as azadirachtin that many consumers believe to be linked with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). CHS is rare, and it only occurs with repeated, daily users of cannabis, but it causes bouts of vomiting.

Pesticides also have several toxic compounds that can cause discomfort, such as sore throat, to consumers. This is because while pesticides are everywhere, they’re more toxic when inhaled than when we eat or touch them. Besides sore throat, smoking any product with pesticides can also cause vomiting, nausea, and abdominal pain.

But can CBD flower be pesticide-free? Yes. 

High quality CBD flower is free from mold, mildew, and insects. This is possible to achieve even without pesticides if the product is grown in a controlled, highly regulated environment. The producer may also use organic products to control pests.

That said, the only way you can truly tell if a product is pesticide-free is by asking for test results and buying from shops that are proactive about vetting their vendors. Any new brand you’re buying from should be certified by a third-party testing service.

If you’re experiencing an uncommonly frequent sore throat, then look into the brand that you’re buying from and find out whether or not they are organic. If not, then it may be time to switch to an organic provider.

Incorrectly drying and curing the buds

Another reason you may be experiencing sore throat issues after smoking CBD flower may be poor curing and drying. Similarly to the pesticides, this is an unfortunate side effect to the CBD industry’s youth. In a young and sometimes unregulated industry, some products may be produced with a lack of professionalism. 

Curing refers to the long process of removing moisture from the CBD flower. The curing process involves the initial drying phase, which includes hanging the plant, then allowing it to sit in a dark, temperature- and humidity-controlled room, and a fan. The plant will stay in that space from five days to two weeks. After that, the buds will be manicured and transported to air-tight containers where they will wait for up to six months, with occasional breaks to let the plant breath. The amount of time that the buds spend being dried and cured will often depend on the strain, and sometimes the longer the plant waits in air-tight containers, the better the quality of the CBD. Due to this lengthy process, you can see how it would be commonly mishandled if not completed by professionals.

But it’s crucial to get the drying and curing process right. Curing CBD flower is one of the most critical steps in cannabis cultivation. How smooth, flavorful, and potent CBD flower is, will be determined by how well the curing process was done.

Curing also affects the quality of smoke produced by CBD flower, which causes the unpleasant throat burn you get after smoking. This is because curing creates the right environment for bacteria and enzymes to break down any unwanted material. It also facilitates the breakdown of unhealthy sugars formed when chlorophyll decomposes. These minerals and sugars are responsible for causing a sore throat. 

When incorrectly dried, CBD flower is also likely to develop mold and become a breeding ground for bacteria. Yet, if well done, the flower can retain its flavors and nutrients for up to two years. 

A room filled with mesh netting trays hung from the ceiling filled with hemp flower that's drying.

When hemp is mass-produced, sometimes less care is put into the crop, resulting in a lower smoke-quality.

When dealing in high volumes, some things may fall through the cracks. Some are genuine errors, while others are an effort to reduce production costs. All these errors lead to poor CBD flower quality with several side effects such as sore throat after smoking. 

  • The grower used low-quality seeds or clones.

One of the most common errors is starting with poor-quality seeds or clones. If a grower starts with bad seeds/clones (some of which are filled with chemicals and pesticides), no proper procedure can result in quality CBD flower.

  • Chemicals and Pesticides

Large scale CBD producers are also forced to use multiple chemicals and pesticides to protect their plants. While small scale producers can actively keep an eye on their plants and avoid heavy chemical usage when unnecessary, mass producers may not be able to afford that risk.  

  • Less attention to detail during the drying and curing process. 

Many large-scale producers also go through the drying and curing process poorly to avoid costs, or they simply rush through the process if they are in a time crunch. Some problems may occur simply because they don’t have the manpower to recognize mistakes when working on such a scale.

For example, say a small-scale provider is curing their hemp buds, and, as part of the process, they open one of the containers to let the product breathe. When they do so, they notice an ammonia smell. That red flag would mean that the hemp was not dry enough when it was transferred to the container to be cured, and it has now been filled with bacteria. If not disposed of immediately, this will only yield moldy hemp. But because the small-scale provider had the time to notice this small tip, they will get rid of the plant before it is ever sold. That same attention to detail may simply not be feasible with a large scale provider who sells in bulk, who may not even notice the mistake in the first place. 

It’s not a guarantee that small-scale producers do everything right, but many of them use organic pest control methods, and some even grow their products indoors for close monitoring. 

Wrongly inhaling your CBD flower when smoking

There is more than one right way to correctly smoke CBD flower, but if you’re doing it incorrectly, chances are you’re going to end up experiencing coughing and a sore throat.

  • Inhaling more than what fits in your lungs.

When hoping to reap the full benefits of CBD flower, you may be tempted to fill your lungs and then some with the smoke. That means some of the hot smoke overflow ends up sitting in your nose, mouth, and trachea.This may cause you some irritation, and you may also not reap full the benefits of your CBD flower.

  • Smoking too much, too quickly.

CBD consumed through inhalation has a quick impact, and you should be able to feel the effects of the compound within three to ten minutes. However, some beginners might go too fast because they believe they’re not feeling the CBD flower’s impact. 

If you are impatient and considering taking another hit because you don’t feel the effects, try waiting up to ten minutes before inhaling again. That will ensure you don’t overdo it, and it can also offer some valuable insight as to how much CBD you should consume and how long it takes to have the desired effects.

  • Frequent smoking

Too much smoking can eventually lead to a sore throat as well. Smoke is hot, and it may cause you to cough if it’s irritating your bronchi and throat. Inhaling smoke, regardless of the type, can lead to lung problems. And although CBD is a safe alternative to cigarette smoking, for example, inhaling any hot material will most likely irritate your throat and lungs over time. 

If you are a frequent smoker experiencing throat irritation, don’t worry too much about the quality of the bud. What you are experiencing is a normal side effect of smoking. If you need CBD for medical reasons, perhaps try switching to a different method for a period of time to let your throat rest. If that doesn’t interest you, read on to learn more about proper smoking methods and how to improve your throat’s conditions.

Women wearing sunglasses with pink lenses smoking a joint blowing out smoke.

Ways to Reduce Throat Irritation

Here are several effective tips to help you reduce throat irritation when smoking CBD flower.

Drink enough water

Many people know the importance of staying hydrated when smoking but may still not take enough fluids. Drinking enough water before and during smoking CBD flower can significantly reduce your chances of suffering from a burning throat. Drinking enough water will keep your throat moist and prevent any burning sensation after smoking. Ice water should be especially soothing.

You can also try different types of herbal teas that have healing and soothing effects like chamomile and lemon tea. Aloe vera water truly works wonders on a burning throat and dry mouth.

Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol because they may contribute to dehydration.

Gargle salt water

Gargling salt water is mainly used by people suffering from mild tonsillitis and other forms of throat infections. But it can also help reduce the throat pain that you get as a result of smoking CBD flower. For best results, put the salt into lukewarm water and hold it down your throat as you can. 

Consume soothing foods

If your throat is bothering you after smoking, avoid tough foods and focus on eating noodles, soup, and other soft foods. Hard foods like chips or toast may scratch your throat and irritate it further.

If you experience the burning sensation often, consider stocking your fridge with soft foods and your favorite ice cream flavor. 

Ensure you're buying CBD flower from a trusted and reputable source

One sure way of avoiding having a burning throat is ensuring you’re getting your CBD flower from a reliable source. 

Trusted sources are often transparent about the source of their CBD and are vigilant in vetting their vendors. They should also be able to present a CoA, or Certificate of Analysis from a third party lab tester.

As we mentioned earlier, poor quality CBD is one major cause of a burning throat after smoking.This is all thanks to the high usage of pesticides, poor drying and curing, and carelessness in the production process. 

Buying from a trusted source also ensures you get your CBD flower fresh. Some producers over-dry their CBD flower purposely to reduce any kind of infections, making it harsher to smoke. 

Old CBD flower is also unhealthy for your lungs since it attracts mold, fungus and acts as a host for pests. 

Because we recognize the importance of buying CBD from a quality vendor, we’ve put together a list of the most trustworthy brands that we’ve found on the internet. You can access it for free here

Hands wearing see through gloves holding a glass jar in one hand and freshly harvested hemp flower in the other.

Use cough drops or lozenges

The same remedies that heal a cold such as cough drops and lozenges can soothe your throat by numbing the area that is causing you discomfort.

Sucking on a cough drop also helps keep your mouth and throat moist by facilitating saliva production.

Also, in many cases, lozenges have anesthetics that reduce irritation and quicken the healing process. Others have natural ingredients such as honey and lemon, which are well-known remedies for pain. 

Use a humidifier

Where do you enjoy smoking your CBD flower? Your location has a lot to do with how sore your throat gets when smoking hemp. 

If you prefer smoking indoors, we recommend using a humidifier to get some moisture into the air. This could be especially useful if you live somewhere with a very dry climate, or you’ve noticed that your house or apartment tends to be dry.

Consider another smoking method like a dry herb vaporizer

A dry herb vaporizer will heat up the plant in order to create a gas or vapor. Some vaporizers heat the plant directly, and others heat it by allowing hot air to flow over it. 

This method heats the plant without burning it or overheating it. The temperature is consistent, and every time you inhale you know you will always be experiencing the same level of heat. 

Considering that very hot smoke causes irritation and coughing, switching to this smoking method may cut down on the burning sensation you feel while smoking.

Ensure that you inhale your CBD flower correctly

Inhaling your CBD flower the wrong way can lead to a sore throat. 

Here are some simple steps that will help. 

  • Take in a small amount of fresh air (smoke-free)
     
  • Inhale your CBD slowly and continuously, filling your lungs with at most two-thirds smoke or vapor. Now pause and inhale some fresh air – nice and deep. Then exhale.

  • Wait a few minutes before taking your next hit so as not to overdo it. You may be surprised to realize that you can get the impact of three hits in one hit if you do it right.

CBD and other compounds are only absorbed above your first bronchial split. So, any excess smoke that is past the capacity of the lungs overflows to the nose. This means you waste your product as well as irritate your nasal passage. 

Another reason why you shouldn’t hold excessive smoke for long in your lungs is to avoid infection from any potential toxins. There is no use in letting them hang in there longer than is necessary. 

Consider taking a break

If you’ve been suffering from a burning throat for a long time, it may be time to take a break. Irritating an already hurting throat makes it worse, causing an unending cycle. 

Wait for a week or so to give your throat time to heal (this might also improve your tolerance as well). If you need CBD for urgent health reasons, then use this time to experiment with different consumption methods. 

When you come back to smoking CBD, you may find that it is more effective than before, and also more enjoyable now that it isn’t causing the same kind of irritation.

Takeaway

There are many factors that can cause a sore throat after smoking CBD flower, some of which may be due to poor smoking methods, and others may be due to poor hemp quality. However, the most common reason for a sore throat may just be that you have been smoking quite often lately, and it may be time for a little break to let your larynx heal.

If you are only noticing problems with a sore throat when you smoke a certain flower from a certain brand, then that company may have suffered an oversight in the quality of their bud. The hemp could be too dry, poorly cured, old, grown from law-quality seeds/clones, or packed with pesticides. All those factors can cause throat burning and itching, again exemplifying the importance of buying from a trusted source.

You also might be inhaling more than fits in your lungs, holding in the smoke for too long, or smoking too much and too quickly. Try taking it slow, or look into other quick methods like a cough drop, gargling salt water, using a humidifier, adopting a different smoking method (like a dry herb vaporizer), and consuming soft foods. Aloe vera water works wonders for a burning throat and dry mouth after smoking.

With these methods, and with a quality product, you will be back to a smooth and pleasurable smoking experience in no time.

A sore throat from poorly done CBD isn’t fun for anyone. That’s why we take pride in ensuring our followers get a quality product that’s grown only by the best vendors. We’ve assembled a directory of the most trustworthy products on the market. Click here to browse products like edibles and creams, here for top shelf hemp flower, and here for CBD for pets.

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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Our goal is to educate you on all things CBD, enabling you to navigate this vast unregulated industry like a pro. We know all too well how overwhelming it can be to find trustworthy brands in this crowded market, so we’re here to help!

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