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Learn | 03.07.2023

Why Does Cannabis Give You Cottonmouth?

Have you ever wondered why cannabis makes you feel so parched? We have the answer, plus three hacks to keep cottonmouth at bay.

There are a few notable side effects of weed. One of them being the obvious red eyes, a dead giveaway that you’re high. Another side effect that’s not so noticeable from another’s perspective is cottonmouth.

This is one of the most famous side effects of cannabis consumption. A grainy tongue and difficulty swallowing aren’t fun for anyone, especially when you’re about to dive into some delicious carby munchies after a few puffs of some pungent flower.

But why does cannabis give you cottonmouth? Surprisingly, the answer is more straightforward than it might seem. Read on to learn more about cottonmouth, what it is, and three ways to fix it.

Why Does Cannabis Give You Cottonmouth?

Photo By Mouthwash Studios / DTS

As mentioned, the reason for cottonmouth is actually pretty straightforward. Certain compounds in the herb interact with cells that control saliva secretion. When inhaled, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), connects with special cell sites called cannabinoid receptors.

Different types of these receptors are found throughout the brain and body. It’s the interaction between cannabinoids and these receptors that produce the therapeutic and psychoactive effects of cannabis.

When it comes to negative side effects like cottonmouth, that’s a result of the cannabinoid receptors on the salivary glands in the mouth. When inhaled, smoke or vapor containing cannabinoids and beneficial aroma molecules called terpenes interacts with the tissue in the mouth prior to being absorbed by the lungs and taken into the bloodstream.

When compounds like THC engage with cannabinoid receptors in the mouth, they reduce the flow of saliva and give you cottonmouth. This is just a temporary state, and can be fixed with the 3 tips below.

3 Ways To Get Rid Of Cottonmouth

Photo By Mouthwash Studios / DTS

One of the best (and most obvious) ways to prevent cottonmouth is to stay hydrated and have plenty of water on hand while smoking or vaporizing.

Ice water is especially good to have if you’re planning on ripping a bong, dab rig, or tabletop vaporizer. To avoid making cottonmouth worse, it is recommended to avoid the following:

  • Salty foods
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco

Other than simply staying hydrated, here are a few quick tips for getting rid of cottonmouth.

1. Candies, Lollipops, and Herbal Cough Drops

Photo By Aline Viana Prado / Pexels

Sucking on something like a lollipop or herbal cough drops can help ease the symptoms of cottonmouth.

Hard candies or similar treats work as well. In this case, sucking behavior kickstarts glands to produce saliva to help digest the food. They can help promote more saliva when you’re in a pinch and need to chat.

2. Sour Flavors

Photo By Sarah Chai / Pexels

If you’re not in the mood for something sweet, anything with a sour flavor will also do the trick.

When taste buds sense sour, the body releases saliva to buffer the taste. Interestingly, the saliva released when something tastes sour contains higher concentrations of salivary bicarbonate, which is an alkaline substance that neutralizes the sugar acids in foods.

Keep lemon water or simple lemon juice nearby next time you’re taking a hit.

3. Throat-Healing Herbal Teas

Photo By Maresa Smith / DTS

There are certain kinds of tea that can be helpful in relieving throat irritation from smoking and cottonmouth. Some of the most common herbal teas for throat irritation include the following:

  • Green tea
  • Turmeric tea
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Lemon Ginger tea
  • Peppermint tea

Amp up the cottonmouth-fighting potential of these teas with a sizable squeeze of sour lemon and a little honey. Following up with some plain water could also add a refreshing kick.

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