Cotton mouth, also called dry mouth, the pasties, or xerostomia, is a common side effect most cannabis users are very familiar with. It was not until recently that scientists understood why weed causes cotton mouth and sometimes a sore throat. But, now there has been new light shed on cotton mouth and the reason it happens. Keep reading to learn why weed causes cotton mouth and how to prevent it.
Why Weed Causes Cotton Mouth
In addition to other areas of your body, there are cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located in the brain as well as in the submandibular glands under the bottom of the mouth. These glands produce nearly 75% of saliva.
When you consume marijuana, THC binds to these receptors, causing the parasympathetic nervous system to stop sending messages to those submandibular glands. This leads to a significant reduction in saliva production. Additionally, the THC binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain, also causing a reduction in saliva production.
The result? A dry, tacky mouth and a desperate desire for water.
Strains That Most Cause Cotton Mouth
If you’re going to smoke any of the following strains, you can expect some cotton mouth.
- Green Crack
- Super Sour Diesel
- Blue Dream
- OG Kush
- Jack Herer
- Lemon Haze
What to Do for Cotton Mouth
Most people experience some type of cotton mouth when they smoke weed. For most people, just taking a few hits won’t cause much in the way of cotton mouth, but smoking larger amounts can lead to that familiar dryness and tackiness.
As much as it would seem to help, drinking water doesn’t do much to relieve cotton moth – though you should always drink water when smoking to stay hydrated.
There are a few things you can do if you have cotton mouth:
Chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which means it can help relieve cotton mouth. Just chew on some gum to get those glands going again. If you’re not a fan of gum, look into chewing something else that’s chewy, like gummy candy or beef jerky.
Just like chewing, sucking on a hard candy or licking a lollipop will get some saliva production going again. For extra effect, go for a sour candy to get your mouth really watering.
Having a vitamin deficiency makes people more susceptible to cotton mouth. Taking vitamins A, B-12, and C will help prevent cotton mouth and speed up saliva production when it does happen.
Avoid tea with caffeine, as this can lead to more reduction in saliva. Instead, go for a caffeine-free herbal tea. Add some lemon juice to your tea to make it even more effective at relieving cotton mouth and a sore throat. Some teas that are great paired with cannabis are mint, chamomile, and ginger.
When water is lost due to cotton mouth, consuming electrolytes will help restore proper moisture balance to your body. Electrolytes are minerals that regulate the amount of fluid in the body. Specifically, sodium triggers your body to retain water, so consuming an electrolyte beverage will help you retain water without feeling bloated.
Gargle With Salt Water
As strange as it may sound, gargling with salt water can alleviate cotton mouth because the salt will draw moisture from the tissue in your mouth, which can help soothe a dry throat and cotton mouth.
You can drastically reduce cotton mouth by making the area inside your mouth moist, or by making your environment humid. If you have a humidifier, turn that on. If you don’t, inhale the steam from a hot shower or a boiling pot of water.
Avoid alcoholic, acidic, or caffeinated beverages. Not only will these not help with hydration, but they can also make your cotton mouth worse.
Curing Cotton Mouth
Now that scientists have figured out why weed causes cotton mouth, we have a whole arsenal of methods to counter it. From chewing gum to making your environment humid, there are plenty of ways to overcome cotton mouth when it happens.
While it may be annoying, cotton mouth is a very common side effect of consuming marijuana. But, really, it could be worse. Alcohol causes nausea and brutal hangovers, and medications have a whole list of bad side effects. So, in comparison, dealing with a bit of cotton mouth is really just a mild annoyance.
How do YOU overcome cotton mouth when it happens? Share your tips with us down in the comments!
Disclaimer: Marijuana has intoxicating effects and may be habit-forming. Smoking is hazardous to your health. There may be health risks associated with consumption of Marijuana. Marijuana, in any form, should not be used by individuals that are pregnant or breastfeeding. Marijuana is intended for use only by adults 21 and older. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. This product may be unlawful outside of Washington State.