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Ask a Stoner: Does Marijuana Affect Acid Reflux?

Ask a Stoner: Does Marijuana Affect Acid Reflux?EXPAND
Westword

Dear Stoner: Does smoking weed make acid reflux worse? I’ve noticed that my chest burns sometimes after smoking.
Timmy Tibs

Dear Timmy Tibs: This doesn’t totally land in the “unanswerable” category, but it’s got one foot in it. There’s evidence that smoking can increase gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux) and heartburn, and there’s limited evidence that cannabinoids can help with acid irritation in the stomach — but we could find no studies that specifically deal with pot smoke and its effects on stomach acid.

Acid reflux is likely from the coffee, hot sauce and beer you've put in your belly throughout the day, but smoking doesn't help.
Acid reflux is likely from the coffee, hot sauce and beer you've put in your belly throughout the day, but smoking doesn't help.
Shutterstock.com

Smoking of any kind can worsen your acid reflux problem. Smoking relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (not that kind of sphincter), which means stomach acids can rise up more easily in your esophagus, causing heartburn. The munchies can also contribute to your acid reflux, as many of the foods and drinks associated with post-pot smoking can be very acidic, including coffee, soft drinks and many condiments and sauces.
However, consuming cannabinoids in ways other than smoking could help the condition, according to David Love, a physician based in North Carolina. “If used for this indication, it would be more logical to take the cannabinoid by oral intake rather than by smoking,” he says, implying that edibles or tinctures could actually decrease acid reflux without the smoke irritating your body.

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Take note of your diet on days that you smoke cannabis, both before and after smoking. If there’s little acidity in it, maybe your body doesn’t react to smoke as well as it used to. You could always pop a couple of antacids or take ginger pills during the day if you plan on smoking later that night.

Have a question for our Stoner? E-mail marijuana@westword.com or call the potline at 303­-293-­2222.

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