What is Cottonmouth and Can I Avoid it?

We’ve all been there, you are mid-way through a cannabis session with your friends and the unquenchable thirst starts to rear its ugly head. You don’t want to miss any of the fun, but you are hardly capable of talking, much less laughing with the Sahara Desert-feeling inside of your mouth. There is no way to avoid it. So, what can you do to remedy the ultimate buzzkill that is cottonmouth?

dry mouth drinking water

What is Cottonmouth?

Cottonmouth, or dry mouth, is a decreased flow of saliva or a change in the composition of saliva. The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. Xerostomia is one of the most common side effects of cannabis consumption. Weed smokers and eaters are equally likely to experience it. When cannabis is ingested, in any form, cannabinoids block hormone receptors in the salivary glands. This effect causes the feeling of dry mouth. And while it may take longer to feel cottonmouth when you take edibles, the unquenchable thirst can last longer as well. Cottonmouth is a major inconvenience.

What Can I Do About Cottonmouth?

In addition to the annoyance it causes, cottonmouth can also lead to oral health issues. If saliva production is halted for too long, concerns over plaque, tooth decay, bacteria, and bad breath arise. But fear not, there are many ways to combat cottonmouth:

  • Hydrate. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after consuming cannabis. In fact, pause right here and take a big gulp of your water… Have plenty of water throughout the day. If you are a multiple-sessions-per-day cannabis user, then your saliva flow is constantly disrupted, making it even more important to hydrate throughout the day.
  • Brush and use mouthwash. When you are feeling dry mouth, brush your teeth and rinse with mouthwash. (The added benefit is the decreased likelihood of overindulging on munchies after brushing your teeth.) Travel with a small bottle of mouthwash in your bag. There are specific mouthwashes available to aid in dry mouth. Plus, oral hygiene is always a good idea.
  • Lozenges. Dry mouth lozenges are available which stimulate the flow of saliva. These products are portable, making them a great option for when you are away from home. Additionally, dry mouth lozenges are formulated to aid in oral hygiene.
  • Candy. Sugar-free candy or chewing gum aid in cottonmouth by stimulating saliva. If you need something more powerful, look for dry-mouth-treating candy which was originally designed for dry mouth sufferers as a result of radiation treatments.
  • Humidifier. If treating dry mouth symptoms prove ineffective or not effective enough, try adapting your environment. Add a humidifier to your room to create a moisture-rich atmosphere in your home.
  • Modify cannabis consumption. When all else fails, investigate the amount and method of cannabis consumption. The duration and intensity of side effects are directly dependent upon the amount of THC consumed. For less cottonmouth, try less frequent cannabis consumption. Some studies show that CBD may offset the drying effects of THC. Correspondingly, prepare prior to consuming cannabis by hydrating your body.

When cottonmouth hits, do not ignore it. Use one or more of the above tips to alleviate your dry mouth and enhance your THC experience.