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Have you noticed that you often get heartburn after smoking pot? You'll now be wondering whether you should stay away from marijuana if you want to get rid of heartburn and follow an acid reflux diet.

Are you often plagued by acid reflux, and do you want to get rid of heartburn fast — and hopefully forever?

You will have heard that certain foods and dietary habits trigger heartburn, and that avoiding the main triggers of acid reflux will offer you relief. If you're a regular marijuana user with frequent heartburn, you may be wondering if smoking pot makes your heartburn worse. 

Does Marijuana Cause Heartburn? It's Not That Simple

Look around for info about potential heartburn triggers, and you'll quickly notice that many people will advise you to stay away from tomatoes, alcohol, spicy foods, fatty foods, chocolate, and coffee — as well as urging you to eat smaller meals more frequently, because large portion sizes can cause heartburn too [1]. 

Dig a bit deeper, and you'll also ask yourself: "Should I eat citrus fruit on an acid reflux diet?" Good question, because citrus fruits are highly acidic, which makes your heartburn worse [2]. You may further want to lose weight if you're overweight or obese, because overweight folks have an increased risk of acid reflux [3]. Oh, and measures like having your least meal at least three hours before you hit the sack [4], sleeping on your left side [5], and even chewing gum after meals [6] can all be natural heartburn remedies as well. 

As you can see from the references, there's plenty of research into various heartburn triggers and lifestyle alterations that can help you get rid of heartburn. That's where we hit a wall, though — studies specifically investigating the impact marijuana has on heartburn simply aren't around.

That's a surprise, perhaps, and it will baffle you if you're a pot smoker who's pretty sure that marijuana actually does make your heartburn worse. The lack of scientific evidence suggesting that marijuana causes heartburn doesn't mean it doesn't, mind you. Smoking pot may lead to heartburn indirectly, and that's what we'll look at now. 

Smoking Causes Heartburn

Most pot smokers mix weed and tobacco to make a joint — and it's rather clear that an acid reflux diet and tobacco just don't combine:

  • Chronic smokers are at a greatly increased risk of experiencing acid reflux while they are smoking a cigarette, because smoking causes a drop in esophageal sphincter pressure, making it easier for those stomach acids to creep up to where they don't belong [7]. 
  • Nicotine decreases salivary flow, making episodes of acid reflux last longer [8].

Nicotine is definitely a huge part of the problem here — even chewing tobacco and nicotine gum cause heartburn. It's also possible that smoking itself contributes to acid reflux by drying the esophagus. 

Marijuana Causes The Munchies, And The Munchies Cause Heartburn

Research shows that marijuana has an enormous (excuse the pun) effect on appetite — regular pot smokers consume up to 40 percent more calories! What kind of calories, you may wonder? Fatty snacks, chocolate bars, and sugary drinks, mostly. [9]

It so happens that the foods people are most likely to crave after smoking a joint are the same foods that often cause heartburn, in other words. Besides specific foods, large portion sizes are also a risk factor for frequent episodes of heartburn and even the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, the chronic form of heartburn. [10]

Smoking pot may make your heartburn worse because marijuana makes you want to eat more food, and more foods that are really bad for people with acid reflux, in other words. If you want to follow an acid reflux diet to find relief from heartburn, you don't really want an appetite stimulant to hold you back, do you?

The Bottom Line

Pot smokers who often suffer from heartburn, and especially those who have noticed that they often experience acid reflux while smoking pot or immediately after, should definitely listen to their gut — despite a lack of scientific research directly indicating that marijuana causes heartburn. As you've seen, marijuana can contribute to your acid reflux in two distinct indirect ways — by introducing nicotine to your system, and by increasing your appetite. 

If you're looking for an acid reflux diet to help you keep heartburn at bay, the fact is that there's no cookie-cutter recipe that will work for every single person. Some people really need to say no to spicy foods, onions and garlic on an acid reflux diet, for instance, while those who have been eating spicy foods since early childhood may actually be less likely to suffer from heartburn. 

Your job is, then, to figure out for yourself what triggers your heartburn and what doesn't. Can marijuana cause heartburn? Indirectly, certainly. If you find that this holds true for you, then you're certainly advised to quit smoking pot. 

(Oh, and one final note for the few curious folks who were wondering — what with the medical marijuana trend and all that — if marijuana can actually help heartburn. There's absolutely no evidence that marijuana is a natural heartburn remedy, and enough indirect evidence that marijuana indirectly causes heartburn that you shouldn't go try for yourself, either.)