What Is Cottonmouth? The Science Behind Cannabis and Dry Mouth

At present, hashish consumption is authorized for medicinal functions in a majority of American states. Additionally, an growing variety of states are legalizing it for leisure functions. This has led to a considerable rise within the variety of authorized marijuana customers. What lots of them have in widespread is the expertise of a facet impact referred to as cottonmouth.

Whereas hashish customers might have suffered dry mouth after consuming hashish, a few of them don’t perceive what causes it. This text supplies a scientific clarification.

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What Is Cottonmouth?

It’s a slang time period for a minor antagonistic impact related to using marijuana. Signs embrace a sticky mouth and chronic thirst. Beforehand, it was assumed that harsh smoke from hashish irritated tender oral membranes, which resulted in cottonmouth. Nonetheless, it’s nothing greater than a standard response of saliva glands within the mouth to hashish parts that run by way of the bloodstream.

One of many greatest myths surrounding cottonmouth is that ingesting or vaping hashish received’t trigger it. In actuality, whether or not one prefers concentrates, combustion, or edibles, cottonmouth is a attainable facet impact.

Cottonmouth is a slang time period used to explain a dry mouth. It’s a potential facet impact of hashish, regardless of the consumption technique.

Within the medical group, cottonmouth is known as xerostomia. It’s described as a decreased salivary circulate and is usually related to hashish use. A regular suggestion is to not use marijuana if there are not any drinks handy. As soon as the mouth dries out, the cottonmouth travels to the throat.

Taking too lengthy to deal with cottonmouth might trigger different unwanted effects to manifest, like unhealthy breath and a sore throat.

Understanding Cottonmouth: Why Do We Have Saliva?

Human saliva consists of 98% water and is produced by three pairs of glands. These include the parotid, sublingual, and submandibular glands.

Saliva is a essential a part of our on a regular basis lives. Its major perform is to guard our mouth and assist to maintain it clean. The graceful sensation is crucial as a result of it allows meals to slip down the throat simply. This prevents choking and permits for fast entry to important nutritional vitamins, vitamins, and minerals.

Consider a throat with out saliva as an individual sliding down an enormous water slide with none water on it. Painful, proper? That is the place these important saliva glands come into play. The submandibular glands produce round 70% of the saliva within the mouth and are thus probably the most essential glands.

What’s the Connection Between Dry Mouth and Hashish?

What’s it about marijuana that causes the dry mouth impact? The reply lies in our endocannabinoid system (ECS), a community of naturally occurring cannabinoids like anandamide, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.

The ECS helps regulate quite a lot of cognitive and physiological processes. Within the case of cottonmouth, the connection between the parasympathetic nervous system and ECS is what issues.

Let’s break it down. The submandibular saliva glands are discovered underneath the jaw bone and are answerable for most of our saliva manufacturing. These glands include cannabinoid receptors. When somebody consumes hashish, the cannabinoids bind to those cannabinoid receptors.

This course of prevents the ECS from transmitting messages to the parasympathetic nervous system. In different phrases, the nervous system isn’t getting the message to maintain saliva flowing.

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Primarily, the true explanation for cottonmouth pertains to how cannabinoids work together with the ECS. THC is the principle intoxicating ingredient in hashish and is considered the principle wrongdoer in cottonmouth, and there’s analysis to show it.

Why Does Weed Give You Cottonmouth? The Science

There was a scientific breakthrough of types within the examine of cottonmouth and weed in 2006. A examine revealed in Experimental Biology and Drugs concerned in search of attainable causes for cottonmouth, notably a lower in saliva manufacturing. They theorized that there have been CB receptors in our salivary glands that induced the impact.

The crew experimented on male rats and located that CB1 and CB2 receptors have been current in sure areas of the rats’ submandibular glands. They discovered that anandamide connected to the receptors, leading to decreased saliva output.

A 2012 examine additional investigated this concern. The researchers discovered that underneath customary situations, the cells in saliva glands use endocannabinoid signaling to cease extreme saliva ranges from increase within the mouth. Once we devour cannabinoids, there’s a huge fall within the saliva produced as a result of elevated activation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

In keeping with the examine, CB1 receptors modulated the circulate of saliva. In the meantime, CB2 receptors influence the saliva’s consistency and its content material, together with sodium ranges. Subsequently, any drug that antagonizes the CB receptors causes elevated saliva manufacturing.

The lead researcher used two medication. One focused the CB1 receptors, whereas the opposite focused the CB2 receptors. She demonstrated that when antagonist medication have been administered, they might block the decreased saliva output brought on by THC use.

Finally, this analysis exhibits that the THC in hashish probably decreases saliva manufacturing within the mouth. This explains why cottonmouth can occur even when somebody makes use of hashish edibles.

Weed and Cottonmouth: Is it Harmful?

Whereas cottonmouth is primarily thought-about an irritant, it might injury oral well being if left unchecked. The American Dental Affiliation (ADA) says that hashish smoking, on the whole, is related to periodontal problems and a heightened danger of neck and mouth cancers.

The ADA cites a number of research on its official web site, together with this one revealed within the Australian Dental Journal in 2005. In it, the researchers wrote that marijuana abusers sometimes have poorer oral well being than non-users, and are at higher danger of periodontal ailments. Additionally they said that hashish smoke acts as a carcinogen, and is linked with pre-malignant lesions and dysplastic adjustments throughout the oral mucosa.

Certainly, a meta-analysis revealed within the Journal of Periodontal Analysis discovered a hyperlink between hashish and an elevated occasion of periodontal illness in adults.

Bear in mind, saliva lubricates the mouth, enabling us to talk, style meals and swallow. Saliva additionally retains the mouth, enamel, and throat shielded from micro organism, viruses, and different microorganisms. Subsequently, the above points develop into extra probably when our saliva ranges are constantly low.

Different unwanted effects of low saliva manufacturing embrace:

  • Mouth Sores
  • Cracked Lips
  • Uncooked Tongue
  • Sore Throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Cracked Lips
  • Cut up Pores and skin within the Mouth

As an apart, smoking hashish is way worse for oral well being than edibles. It ends in an enormous variety of chemical substances and toxins carried within the smoke seeping into each floor of the mouth.

Moreover, a examine revealed in The Journal of the Tennessee Dental Affiliation discovered that persistent marijauna use was related to gingival enlargement. Also referred to as gingvival hyperplasia, this situation can enhance the danger of gum illness and influence the alignment of the enamel.

Hacks to Fight Dry Mouth When Smoking Weed

For normal hashish customers, it’s important to remain hydrated to assist take care of cottonmouth. Common marijuana customers constantly interrupt saliva circulate, inflicting dehydration within the throat and mouth.

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As soon as the cottonmouth totally units in, it’s probably that even a glass of water received’t totally assist. As an alternative, the hashish consumer will really feel like they should drink 5 extra! Among the best methods to keep away from that is by hydrating earlier than and after a session. If marijuana is an everyday a part of somebody’s life, consuming water ought to be, too.

Listed below are just a few different methods to fight cottonmouth when utilizing marijuana.


Chewing stimulates saliva manufacturing, which suggests it could possibly assist with dry mouth. A single strip of chewing gum can stimulate the salivary glands as soon as once more. Dried fruit and beef jerky are options for individuals who don’t like chewing gum.

cannabis and chewing gum


Some mouthwashes are made particularly to fight cottonmouth. Store round, and look into changing common mouthwash with one that stops and treats dryness.


Sweet is among the quickest fixes for cottonmouth. A small Jolly Rancher ought to trigger salivation while not having any water. Alternatively, there’s additionally sweet created to combat dry mouth. One of the crucial well-liked choices is Cotton Mouth Sweet.

Crushed Ice

Like water, that is additionally a good way to fight cottonmouth – merely chew on some ice. It’s all about protecting the mouth moist, and ice may be useful for this.

cannabis and ice


This doesn’t work for everybody; as for some, it’s going to trigger mucus. Milk is excessive in fats, which helps to cowl the throat and mouth, lowering dryness.

Natural Teas

Aside from experiencing a dry mouth, there’s a risk of getting a sore and irritated throat after smoking marijuana. Nonetheless, natural teas might present a semblance of reduction. A tea containing ginger is good as it’s identified for growing saliva manufacturing. Certainly, this was the conclusion drawn from a examine revealed within the Jundishapur Journal of Pure Pharmaceutical Merchandise.

By the way, different helpful herbs for exciting saliva manufacturing embrace:

  • Nopal Cactus
  • Spilanthes (As present in PureKana’s Pure Picks)
  • Candy Pepper
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Hollyhock Root
  • Aloe Vera

Take Word of Any Treatment You’re Utilizing

It’s important for marijuana customers to evaluate their present consumption of medicine earlier than utilizing the plant.. Whereas hashish consumption causes many situations of dry mouth, so do prescription and OTC medication. A examine revealed in Medicine in R&D discovered that the next forms of medication enhance the probabilities of dry mouth:

  • Bronchodilators
  • Antihistamines
  • Hormone Drugs
  • Antihypertensives

It’s unwise to cease taking prescribed medicine all of the sudden with out the approval of a doctor.

Last Ideas on Weed and Cottonmouth

As of late, there are a selection of concepts and strategies to take care of cottonmouth. From staying hydrated to chewing some sweet or ice, it’s attainable to discover a option to overcome the dry mouth sensation because it arises. It’s an annoying facet impact. Nonetheless, it’s not that severe within the higher scheme of issues and is comparatively straightforward to take care of.

Though cottonmouth can happen whatever the technique of hashish consumption, constantly smoking marijuana might trigger long-term oral injury. Please bear this in thoughts earlier than selecting to make use of hashish.

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