No matter whether you are an knowledgeable cannabis user with a fondness for wax or a novice who just purchased their 1st bag of gummies, there’s a very good possibility you have encountered 1 of the plant’s most notorious side effects: intense thirst. This phenomenon is typically referred to as “dry mouth” or, a lot more colorfully, “cottonmouth.”
Cottonmouth is specifically what it sounds like — the sensation that every single 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 selection). It is such a frequent phenomenon that it attributes prominently in nearly every single bit of cannabis-associated 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 could possibly visualize, it is nobody’s favourite element of the cannabis expertise.
But although everybody with the faintest acquaintance of cannabis is familiar with cottonmouth, couple of essentially realize what causes it, or what its true effects are. On 1 hand, excessive dryness of the mouth appears like the sort of simply solvable dilemma that does not merit something a lot more than a chuckle and maybe a Massive Gulp or two. Even so (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 popular compound, tetrahydrocannabinol. Recognized to most men and women as THC, it is the most frequent phytocannabinoid in the plant, and it is also what tends to make you really feel higher.
Phytocannabinoids like THC are closely associated to one more set of chemical substances developed in the human physique, which are identified as endocannabinoids (see the resemblence?). THC, in unique, is related in structure to an endocannabinoid referred to as anandamide, which is in some cases referred to as “the bliss molecule.” Scientists now think that anandamide is accountable for the popular “runner’s higher,” which could possibly be 1 of the factors why cannabis and physical exercise is not as odd a pairing as it could possibly look.
But that is not all that anandamide can do. According to a 2006 study, it also considerably decreases saliva production in rats. That is mainly because, like all mammals (such as humans!), rats have cannabinoid receptors positioned in their salivary glands. Each endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids can interact with these receptors — and when anandamide comes into speak to with them, it shuts off the faucets, so to speak.
Perhaps you see exactly where this is going.
The researchers in the study talked about above have been inspired to investigate regardless of whether salivary glands have cannabinoid receptors mainly because, in their words, “It is identified that marijuana use decreases saliva secretion.” Given that THC and anandamide are so alike in their chemical structure and effects, it stands to cause that THC would also have the capacity to reduce the production of saliva.
Much more research are necessary to confirm this, as they typically are in the scientific globe, but the thought appears clear: THC could possibly give you the munchies, but it also (actually) tends to make your mouth cease watering.
Can Cannabis-Induced Cottonmouth Be Risky?
No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose, and no one has ever died from a undesirable case of cottonmouth, either. When it could possibly be annoying at occasions, for most men and women it is not a important lead to for alarm.
Even so, we could possibly want to take cottonmouth a tiny a lot more seriously, mainly because it can lead to important dental concerns. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), cottonmouth (“xerostomia” in health-related lingo) “can contribute to a quantity of oral well being circumstances,” like cavities, gingivitis or other periodontal illnesses, and oral thrush (aka a yeast infection in your mouth).
This could possibly look like a disproportionate response to a bit of thirstiness, but it highlights just how critical saliva is to your oral well being. If you weren’t conscious of this ahead of, do not really feel undesirable — 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 as soon as they do that we comprehend just how versatile saliva can be. Here’s a swift list of some of its major functions:
- Curbs development of damaging bacteria
- Prevents tooth decay
- Repairs difficult and soft tissues
- Protects tooth enamel
- Assists digest meals
- Enhances tastes
- Enables speech
So that is the undesirable news — cannabis-induced cottonmouth is not fairly as amusing as it could possibly look at 1st glance. But do not despair, mainly because it is also not a especially difficult dilemma to resolve as soon as you know what to attempt (and what to keep away from).
How to Deal With Cannabis’ Cottonmouth Effects
Most knowledgeable cannabis customers have their personal go-to treatments when cottonmouth strikes. As you could possibly anticipate, some of these are a lot more successful than other individuals, and a couple of are downright counterproductive. Here’s a swift breakdown:
Items That Will not Aid Get Rid of Cottonmouth
Cannabis beverages could possibly look like a clever way to feed two birds with 1 scone (yes, we saw the PETA memes). But although throwing back a cannabis cocktail or two could possibly temporarily wet your whistle, it will not do so for lengthy — and not only will the THC reduce your saliva, but the booze will present difficulties of its personal.
Alcohol tends to make you just as thirsty as cannabis, but for distinct factors. According to a 2017 paper from Japanese researchers, consuming alcohol activates specific 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 mainly because all of these beverages include tannins, compounds that leave a dry and astringent taste in your mouth (which tends to make sense, due to the fact the plants from which these drinks are created typically make tannins to make themselves significantly less appetizing to predators).
Soda, as you may perhaps have heard, tends to be higher in sugar and/or caffeine. Each of these factors dehydrate you, so when you attain for that ice-cold Coke, possibilities are very good you will be reaching for one more 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, although maybe your breath will smell greater.
Items That Will Aid Get Rid of Cottonmouth
Water: you definitely cannot go incorrect with the most well-known beverage in the globe, so lengthy as it is not flavored.
Sugar-totally free chewing gum can stimulate your saliva glands by way of the act of chewing (this motion also aids release pressure, which is 1 cause CBD gum has develop into so well-known with pro golfers). Plus, the lack of sugar.
Alcohol-totally free mouthwashes like Closys not only assist restore moisture to your mouth, but lots of also include components like xylitol that can assist defend against tooth decay.
Oral adhesive disks such as XyliMelts are an selection for men and women whose cottonmouth cannot be controlled with traditional approaches. These goods can be placed on your teeth or gums, exactly where they’ll gradually release components that assist market higher saliva production.
What About CBD? Could That Aid With Cottonmouth?
We’ve talked a lot about cannabis and THC in this write-up, but 1 point we haven’t talked about is CBD. This wildly well-known cannabinoid has been 1 of the greatest trends of 2019, and you will now locate it in every thing from maple syrup to meatless burgers. 1 of the factors for its sudden ascent is the truth that it will not get you higher, and as a outcome, lots of men and women are beneath 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 shoppers, it was the 1st of 5 regularly reported side effects.
So if you have been searching for one more cause to hate CBD sparkling water, there you go.