The Science Behind Marijuana and Cotton Mouth (Dry Mouth)

Causes and Cures

Cotton Mouth and Marijuana

Whether you’re a noobie or a veteran, you’ve probably experienced some of the side effects of smoking cannabis during your life. One side effect that is extremely common is dry mouth, aka, cotton mouth. It feels as if someone has shoved a bunched of cotton balls into your mouth and then asked you to try to lick a stamp. Impossible! That’s Cottonmouth.

While you might have experienced the dry sensation in the past, most people don’t understand the connection between cannabis and Cottonmouth. Thankfully, recent research has been able to shed some light on this topic.

Why do We Have Saliva?

Human saliva, which is made up of 98% water, is produced in a by 3 pairs of glands called the parotid, sublingual, and the submandibular glands, the latter also known as the SMG.

Saliva is a critical component in our everyday lives as it is used to protect our mouth and make it smooth. Smooth enough so that food can slide down your throat. Think of it as sliding down a giant water slide without any water. Painful, right? Now comes the interesting part. The SMG is the most important gland as it produces around 70% of the saliva in your mouth.

What’s the Connection Between Dry Mouth and Cannabis?

Now, what most people don’t know is that these glands contain CB1 & CB2 Cannabinoid receptors. This means that when you consume cannabis, they are somehow affected and in most cases, they will cause dryness.

THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is a powerful cannabinoid and when it enters a person’s body it binds to endocannabinoid receptors, including the ones in your mouth. It temporarily shuts down the lines of communication between the nervous system and the saliva-producing glands, causing your mouth to dry up.

Just for your information, alcohol and smoking tobacco both have the same effect.

Hacks to Combat Dry Mouth When Smoking Marijuana:

#1 – H20 for Cottonmouth

Drink Water Smoke Weed

There are quite a few ways to combat Cotton Mouth when consuming cannabis, but the most common one is simple H2O. Sipping water is an excellent way to fight off cottonmouth.

#2 – Sugarless gum for Dry Mouth

Cannabis and Chewing Gum

Chewing gum promotes saliva as it tricks your body into thinking you’re eating.

#3 – Drink Milk

Cannabis and Weed Milk

This doesn’t work for everyone as for some it will cause mucus. Milk is high in fat which helps to cover your through and mouth reducing the dryness.

CBD Oil Discount

#4 – Crushed Ice

Cannabis and Ice

Similar to water, this is a great way. Simply chew on some ice.

Got any other cool tricks to prevent Cotton Mouth when smoking cannabis, share them with us in the comments below or on our Facebook post.

The Science Behind Marijuana and Cotton Mouth (Dry Mouth)
February 16, 2017
8 comments
  1. Felicia Willette

    Milk is a superb thing for cotton mouth, thanks

  2. Linda Ray

    I have found sugarless gum to be a great way to deal with the dry mouth side effect.

  3. Teresa Garza

    Cottonmouth is terrible. I suck on sugarless gums after a hit

  4. Sammy

    I hate it when I get Cotton mouth. Been smoking for over 20 years. I know which strains to stay away from

  5. Sophie

    It happens from time to time. At least it is only cottonmouth. Some medications have some nasty side-effects

  6. Mia M

    I switch to edible cause I couldn’t stand the dryness of cottonmouth

  7. Adam

    I hate cottonmouth. I only get it with specific strains

    1. Max

      Just curious which strains do you find DON’T give you bad dry mouth.

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