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Why Does Cannabis Cause Cottonmouth And How Do You Stop It?

Why Does Cannabis Cause Cottonmouth And How Do You Stop It?

April 13, 2021

One of the biggest complaints among cannabis users? Cottonmouth.

And given cottonmouth is such a common complaint, the team thought it was worth a closer look. So let’s start at the beginning and define the problem…

What is Cotton Mouth?

Cottonmouth is that dried-out sensation in your mouth the typically follows cannabis use. Kinda feels like all of your saliva was suddenly vacuumed out of your mouth.

What Causes Cotton Mouth?

Many cannabis smokers assume cottonmouth is a by-product of smoking. And this makes sense, especially considering smoking cigarettes can also leach moisture from your body.

But cannabis edibles consumers also report experiencing cottonmouth.

So, what gives? It turns out that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the culprit

When THC (which is a chemical compound that “gets you high”) enters your body, it bonds with endocannabinoid cell receptors.

These receptors are part of your parasympathetic nervous system. Also known as your “rest and digest system,” the parasympathetic nervous system regulates your heart rate, helps move food through your digestive tract, and governs saliva production. And some of these receptor cells are situated in your salivary glands.

So, when THC binds to these cells, it shuts down your salivary glands. And as a consequence, you get cottonmouth.

How Do You Stop Cotton Mouth?

Well, the short answer is: You can’t. Cottonmouth is an unavoidable side effect of cannabis use. But you can mitigate the effects.

Typically, cannabis users turn to water, chugging it down by the bottle full. But you’re not really dehydrated. Rather, the THC has shut off salivary glands. So, drinking bucket loads of water won't help.

The best remedy? You need to stimulate saliva production. And according to relevant research, your best options to generate more spit are sucking on sweet candy, eating fruit, or drinking herbal.

On a related note, drinking alcohol actually does dehydrated you. So, chasing a joint with beer, wine, or a shot of Jack Daniels will only exacerbate your cottonmouth.

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