Having a dry mouth when smoking cannabis or “cotton mouth” as it’s commonly referred to, is a common experience for cannabis users all throughout the world. Several researches found the association between dry mouth and cannabis use. Cotton mouth is more prevalent as cannabis use increases.
WHAT IS COTTON MOUTH?
Cotton mouth can be a temporary condition brought on by nerves or excitement, or it can be an ongoing symptom due to certain medical ailments, or effects of medications taken, or by use of illegal drugs. According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, cottonmouth is a common condition and it is estimated that approximately 1 to 65 percent of people have it, depending on the type of patient population. A common complaint of cannabis users is a persistent thirst and sticky mouth that just won’t go away.
The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests that a person produces about 1.5 liters of saliva per day. Cotton mouth starts to develop when the amount of saliva produced by the salivary glands is not enough.
WHY CANNABIS CAUSES COTTON MOUTH
The correlation between cotton mouth and cannabis has something to do with cannabinoids. The cannabinoids are the active compounds present in cannabis and interact with the human endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system contains cannabinoid receptors that are found all over the human body. When tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds to the receptors in the submandibular glands (glands producing saliva), it makes them stop receiving messages from the nervous system. Signal to produce saliva has been blocked resulting to reduced amount of saliva in the mouth.
EFFECTIVE REMEDIES FOR COTTON MOUTH
Remedies for cottonmouth may include changing the medication to treat the underlying condition. If dry mouth is caused by cannabis use, giving up on them or significantly cutting back may improve symptoms.
- Drink plenty of water or constantly sip water, this will moisten the mouth and help with chewing and swallowing
- Stick with plain water
- Try chewing gum or sugar-free lozenges, this can help to stimulate saliva flow
- Sugary or milky drinks tend to make it worsen the condition
- Consuming sour flavor food may also help to increase saliva secretion due to the activation of taste buds
- Avoid drinking caffeine containing beverages, coffee, tea, and alcohol