No matter if you are an skilled cannabis user with a fondness for wax or a novice who just purchased their very first bag of gummies, there’s a great possibility you have encountered one particular of the plant’s most notorious side effects: intense thirst. This phenomenon is usually referred to as “dry mouth” or, additional colorfully, “cottonmouth.”
Cottonmouth is specifically what it sounds like — the sensation that just about every drop of moisture has been sucked out of your mouth, leaving it as parched and desiccated as the desert of your option (for most men and women, the Sahara is the go-to alternative). It is such a prevalent phenomenon that it functions prominently in practically just about every bit of cannabis-connected pop culture from the previous couple of decades, even inspiring the name of a deeply untalented rap-punk group referred to as the Kottonmouth Kings. As you may possibly think about, it is nobody’s favored component of the cannabis practical experience.
But when absolutely everyone with the faintest acquaintance of cannabis is familiar with cottonmouth, couple of essentially recognize what causes it, or what its genuine effects are. On one particular hand, excessive dryness of the mouth appears like the type of quickly solvable issue that does not merit something additional than a chuckle and probably a Significant Gulp or two. On the other hand (cue the ominous news report jingle), could there be a darker side to this “minor” side impact?
Let’s dive in.
How Cannabis Causes “Cottonmouth”
Most of cannabis’ side effects can be linked to its most well-known compound, tetrahydrocannabinol. Recognized to most men and women as THC, it is the most prevalent phytocannabinoid in the plant, and it is also what tends to make you really feel higher.
Phytocannabinoids like THC are closely connected to a further set of chemical substances created in the human physique, which are recognized as endocannabinoids (see the resemblence?). THC, in specific, is related in structure to an endocannabinoid referred to as anandamide, which is occasionally referred to as “the bliss molecule.” Scientists now think that anandamide is accountable for the well-known “runner’s higher,” which may possibly be one particular of the motives why cannabis and exercising is not as odd a pairing as it may possibly look.
But that is not all that anandamide can do. According to a 2006 study, it also substantially decreases saliva production in rats. That is since, like all mammals (like humans!), rats have cannabinoid receptors positioned in their salivary glands. Each endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids can interact with these receptors — and when anandamide comes into make contact with with them, it shuts off the faucets, so to speak.
Possibly you see exactly where this is going.
The researchers in the study described above have been inspired to investigate irrespective of whether salivary glands have cannabinoid receptors since, in their words, “It is recognized that marijuana use decreases saliva secretion.” Considering that THC and anandamide are so alike in their chemical structure and effects, it stands to cause that THC would also have the capability to lower the production of saliva.
Far more research are necessary to confirm this, as they usually are in the scientific planet, but the thought appears clear: THC may possibly give you the munchies, but it also (actually) tends to make your mouth quit watering.
Can Cannabis-Induced Cottonmouth Be Harmful?
No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose, and no one has ever died from a poor case of cottonmouth, either. Though it may possibly be annoying at occasions, for most men and women it is not a important lead to for alarm.
On the other hand, we may possibly want to take cottonmouth a tiny additional seriously, since it can lead to important dental challenges. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), cottonmouth (“xerostomia” in healthcare lingo) “can contribute to a quantity of oral overall health circumstances,” like cavities, gingivitis or other periodontal ailments, and oral thrush (aka a yeast infection in your mouth).
This may possibly look like a disproportionate response to a bit of thirstiness, but it highlights just how significant saliva is to your oral overall health. If you weren’t conscious of this ahead of, do not really feel poor — most men and women have no thought what saliva essentially does, either. According to a 2015 evaluation in the journal Nature, “The value of the salivary glands – and saliva – tends to go unnoticed till the glands malfunction.” It is only after they do that we recognize just how versatile saliva can be. Here’s a fast list of some of its key functions:
- Curbs development of dangerous bacteria
- Prevents tooth decay
- Repairs really hard and soft tissues
- Protects tooth enamel
- Assists digest meals
- Enhances tastes
- Enables speech
So that is the poor news — cannabis-induced cottonmouth is not fairly as amusing as it may possibly look at very first glance. But do not despair, since it is also not a especially really hard issue to resolve after you know what to attempt (and what to stay away from).
How to Deal With Cannabis’ Cottonmouth Effects
Most skilled cannabis customers have their personal go-to treatments when cottonmouth strikes. As you may possibly anticipate, some of these are additional helpful than other individuals, and a couple of are downright counterproductive. Here’s a fast breakdown:
Items That Will not Enable Get Rid of Cottonmouth
Cannabis beverages may possibly look like a clever way to feed two birds with one particular scone (yes, we saw the PETA memes). But when throwing back a cannabis cocktail or two may possibly temporarily wet your whistle, it will not do so for lengthy — and not only will the THC lower your saliva, but the booze will present challenges of its personal.
Alcohol tends to make you just as thirsty as cannabis, but for distinct motives. According to a 2017 paper from Japanese researchers, consuming alcohol activates particular regions of your brain that trigger “[thirst] sensation and oral dryness.”
Coffee, tea, and fruit juice should really also be avoided when dealing with cottonmouth. This is since all of these beverages include tannins, compounds that leave a dry and astringent taste in your mouth (which tends to make sense, considering the fact that the plants from which these drinks are produced usually generate tannins to make themselves significantly less appetizing to predators).
Soda, as you could have heard, tends to be higher in sugar and/or caffeine. Each of these items dehydrate you, so when you attain for that ice-cold Coke, probabilities are great you will be reaching for a further ahead of lengthy.
Mouthwashes with alcohol, such as Listerine, can give your mouth a fresh and sparkly feeling. However, the alcohol and other astringent components in them imply that you will be just as thirsty as you have been ahead of, even though probably your breath will smell improved.
Items That Will Enable Get Rid of Cottonmouth
Water: you definitely can not go incorrect with the most well-known beverage in the planet, so lengthy as it is not flavored.
Sugar-no cost chewing gum can stimulate your saliva glands by means of the act of chewing (this motion also assists release strain, which is one particular cause CBD gum has develop into so well-known with pro golfers). Plus, the lack of sugar.
Alcohol-no cost mouthwashes like Closys not only enable restore moisture to your mouth, but a lot of also include components like xylitol that can enable defend against tooth decay.
Oral adhesive disks such as XyliMelts are an alternative for men and women whose cottonmouth can not be controlled with standard approaches. These merchandise can be placed on your teeth or gums, exactly where they’ll gradually release components that enable market higher saliva production.
What About CBD? Could That Enable With Cottonmouth?
We’ve talked a lot about cannabis and THC in this write-up, but one particular issue we haven’t described is CBD. This wildly well-known cannabinoid has been one particular of the most significant trends of 2019, and you will now obtain it in all the things from maple syrup to meatless burgers. One particular of the motives for its sudden ascent is the reality that it will not get you higher, and as a outcome, a lot of men and women are below the impression that it will not lead to any of THC’s other side effects, either.
However, that is not fairly the case when it comes to cottonmouth. According to a 2018 survey of CBD customers, it was the very first of 5 regularly reported side effects.
So if you have been seeking for a further cause to hate CBD sparkling water, there you go.