Dry mouth, called xerostomia in medical contexts, is a common side effect of cannabis and is often referred to as “cotton mouth” or “cottonmouth” by cannabis users. Many people wonder if this side effect is due to smoke, cannabinoids, or dehydration.
What Causes Dry Mouth When High?
Smoke can dry out your mouth and produce a feeling like cottonmouth. However, the dry mouth you experience from smoke is different from cottonmouth from cannabis. Smoking does not cause cottonmouth, but it can exacerbate it.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in modulating many different biological processes, including saliva production. Cannabinoid receptors are found in the salivary glands. Marijuana causes cottonmouth because of the way the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant interact with your saliva glands. When cannabinoids from weed bind to receptors in the salivary glands, these glands secrete less saliva. Both the CB1 and CB2 receptors play a critical role in cottonmouth.
According to recent research, CB1 receptors modulate the flow of saliva, while CB2 receptors seem to modulate consistency and content of saliva (for example, sodium levels.) Consuming cannabis leads to a significant drop in saliva production, which creates that parched, dry mouth feeling that defines cottonmouth.
Does Marijuana Dehydrate You?
So, if using marijuana gives you a dry mouth, does marijuana dehydrate you? While having a dry mouth or cottonmouth can make you feel thirsty, marijuana does not dehydrate you. That is one reason that cannabis does not produce a hangover in the same way alcohol does. While cannabis does not cause dehydration, you can try to drink a little extra water when you are using cannabis to see how it affects your experience. Your hydration level is one of the 15 factors that you can control to improve your results with cannabis.
Do Edibles Give You Cottonmouth?
While smoking may exacerbate dry mouth, cottonmouth is caused by cannabinoids interacting with receptors in your salivary glands. In short, any ingestion method that gets you high on THC will cause cottonmouth unless you have built up a tolerance to this specific side effect.
How to Mitigate Dry Mouth from Cannabis
Here are some general suggestions on how to mitigate side effects from cannabis, and then we will explore some specific suggestions about how to fix cottonmouth.
Try a new product: Different cannabis products will contain different chemical compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, which may exert distinct effects. Use Jointly’s Product Finder to discover new top-rated products.
Try a new ingestion method: Additionally, the way you ingest a product will change how it affects you. Smoking a joint of cannabis flower may produce slightly different effects from vaporizing it, although both ingestion methods involve heating cannabis and inhaling the active compounds. Each ingestion method has its own advantages and may produce different effects or side effects. To learn how different weed ingestion methods produce different effects, read our article The Best Way to Take Cannabis for Wellness Purposes.
Add in a companion food: Did you know that weed companion foods can enhance your cannabis experience in different ways? Mangoes, dark chocolate, green tea, and thyme are all weed companion foods. Chemical compounds in these foods may alter your cannabis experience, and potentially mitigate adverse side effects like drowsiness. To learn about these foods and how to add them into your cannabis wellness routine, check out our article Do These Foods Get You Higher?
Find your minimum effective dose: Most adverse side effects from cannabis are caused by ingesting too high of a dose of THC. While you cannot die from ingesting too much cannabis, a THC overdose is a real risk. The single most effective way to mitigate side effects is to microdose and titrate up your dose until you find the minimum effective dose of cannabis to get the effect you want.
Turn the dials on the 15 factors: According to cannabis experts, there are at least 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience and play a major role in whether a cannabis product is giving you the feeling you want, or producing adverse side effects like cottonmouth. Perhaps you will find that when you use cannabis after a night of good sleep, you rarely experience cottonmouth. Or maybe you will discover that an exercise session before using cannabis eliminates this side effect even when all other factors are kept the same. The Jointly app lets you to track the 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. As you optimize how you consume cannabis, your favorite cannabis products will perform better for you.
How to Fix Cottonmouth
We have gone over some ways that you can mitigate side effects in general, but what is the best way to fix cottonmouth? Can you prevent cottonmouth in the first place? Because cottonmouth is such a well-known side effect from cannabis, there are special products like mouth sprays made to combat cottonmouth, which are formulated to help resolve this side effect. Chewing gum is thought to help block signals to suppress saliva production, so chewing gum when you consume cannabis may allow you to prevent cottonmouth entirely. Cough drops are demulcents, meaning they coat mucous membranes with a protective film. This film helps prevent dryness of the mouth. You could try sucking on a cough drop during your cannabis experiences to fix and prevent cottonmouth.
Get Started on Your Cannabis Wellness Journey
Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.