Cotton mouth is one of the most common side effects caused by cannabis. This is a common way to describe “dry mouth” or xerostomia, which is the proper medical term.

Cotton mouth happens when your body doesn’t produce enough saliva. Cotton mouth or xerostomia could be caused by many conditions. Nonetheless, cannabis causes just a temporary reduction in the production of saliva that nothing has to do with medical conditions.

Cannabis and Cotton Mouth: Causes

There are many conditions and substances that can cause xerostomia. For example, dry mouth is caused by:

  1. Medication: certain medicines cause xerostomia. As a matter of fact, hundreds of medicines can cause xerostomia or “cotton mouth”. For example, antidepressants, diuretics, antihistamines, analgesics or antihypertensives can cause it.
  2. Medical Conditions: certain medical conditions can cause dry mouth (xerostomia). For example, conditions such as Sjögren’s disease (an autoimmune disorder).
  3. Lifestyle: chain smoking, alcohol, and other substances can cause cotton mouth. In addition, a chronic use of cannabis could also cause dry mouth. Therefore, it is important to drink water and keep the body hydrated.
  4. Chemotherapy: one of its side effects is xerostomia.

Why does Cannabis Cause a Cotton Mouth or Xerostomia?

All cannabis users have experienced a dry mouth. When you vape or smoke cannabis, you will feel a dry mouth, thirst and you will also crave for food, especially sweet snacks.

Initially, many cannabis users thought “cotton mouth” was caused by thick smoke. However, recent studies have proved that, actually, cannabis dry mouth or xerostomia is caused by the interaction of cannabinoids with our CB1 and CB2 receptors. Apparently, we have many of these receptors located on the submandibular gland. This interaction results in hyposalivation (reduced production of saliva).

Nonetheless, this hyposalivation doesn’t cause dehydration in the rest of the body. This explains why cannabis doesn’t cause hangover like alcohol.

Is a Cannabis Dry Mouth or Cotton Mouth Dangerous?

It is not dangerous, however, if you are a heavy cannabis user, then you should keep your mouth hydrated. This is important because dry mouth may cause tooth cavities, halitosis and increase production of bacteria in the mouth. Therefore, you should drink water and brush your teeth at least twice a day. Furthermore, you could also chew sugar-free gum.

In addition, you better avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine while you are vaping cannabis oils. Furthermore, some sources claim parsley, rosemary or anise are useful herbs to moisturize the mouth.

All cannabis strains cause a “cotton mouth”. Perhaps, some strains more than others, but it is a side effect common in all cannabis strains.

Cannabis and Cotton Mouth: Conclusion

Cannabis dry mouth is caused by the interaction of cannabinoids with CB1 and CB2 receptors. This interaction causes hyposalivation. However, we have listed some ways you should try to avoid it. For example, chewing gum, drinking water, or avoiding both alcohol and caffeine while consuming cannabis. This condition is not dangerous, and it will not become chronic.  In short, the best way to fight it is by drinking water. Moreover, if you are a heavy cannabis user, you should hydrate your mouth to prevent the proliferation of bacteria in your mouth.

We all agree, cotton mouth is annoying, however, it is not serious and if you apply these ideas and methods, then you will reduce this annoying side effect.