Chicken Soup, CBD and The Common Cold


Feel a cold coming on so you’re reaching for the chicken soup? Over the years, chicken soup has been used to treat the symptoms of upper respiratory diseases and the common cold, and there may be something to this. A study conducted in 1993 found that chicken broth contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. However, it seems that the chicken soup itself did not alone affect the symptoms but the soup prepared with added vegetables showed a decrease in the movement of neutrophils, which represent the body’s first line of defense against pathogens and make up over 70 percent of white blood cells. [1]

All that said, it seems that natural ingredients like chicken soup have anti-inflammatory properties, which suggests why more and more consumers are turning to natural remedies to fight common ailments. To that end, many consumers are enthusiastic about cannabidiol (CBD) to help alleviate the symptoms of many common ailments.

CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses to affect pain response, lower inflammation and aid injury recovery as well as control other functions of the body such as sleep, appetite and immune response.

CBD Aids Cold Relief

A cold is the result of a virus in our body.  Viruses are not able to reproduce on their own and so use the machinery and metabolism of your cells to replicate. Since a virus that causes a cold affects weak cells, it turns out a cold is actually a natural event that helps your body identify damaged cells, destroy and eliminate them. When the immune system launches an attack on a virus, it causes an inflammatory response that produces flu or cold-like symptoms. [2]

While some assert CBD has anti-viral capabilities, there is not enough clinical evidence to support this.  However, while CBD may not be able to cure the common cold, it can ease many of the symptoms of the common cold, including body aches, inflammation of the airwaves and lack of sleep by giving your own endocannabinoid system a boost.

Ease body aches and reduce inflammation

CBD topical products are absorbed through the skin where they bind to the body’s own CB-2 receptors that are found in the peripheral nervous system and which play an important role in fighting inflammation.  Once CBD connects with CB-2 receptors, it has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect on the body

A study reported in the European Journal of Pain looked into the effectiveness of a topical CBD gel on animal subjects to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. The CBD was applied to the animals for four consecutive days. Results indicated a significant drop in joint swelling and signs of pain. The data indicated that topical CBD has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side effects.[3] More research and clinical trials, however, are needed to fully understand CBD and anti-inflammatory responses in humans.

Improve sleep quality

Lack of quality sleep can make people more vulnerable to the common cold. Some research on CBD and sleep indicates that CBD may interact with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system to potentially affect the sleep/wake cycle.  Furthermore, by reducing the symptoms of pain and anxiety, CBD may also contribute to a more restful sleep.[4]

It just may be that chicken soup and CBD make a strong antidote to the symptoms associated with the common cold.





[1] “Chicken soup as a cure for colds?” Recipe, accessed July 3, 2021.
[2] Editorial Team, “What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Colds and CBD,” Way of Leaf, March 17, 2021.
[3] Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936‐948. doi:10.1002/ejp.818
[4] “CBD: For Sleep and Insomnia, American Sleep Association, accessed July 4, 2020.