5 Things you should know about cottonmouth

Published Mar 5, 2023 02:00 p.m. ET
Unsplash / leyre del rio

Cannabis can do so many wonderful things for the heart, body, mind, and soul that we often forget about the many side effects that can come with it. Of course, most are merely mildly irritating, so it’s easy to kind of ignore the fact they can occur, but some like the dreaded cottonmouth are nearly impossible to put out of your mind, especially when you’re actively in the throws of dealing with a serious case of it.

What is cottonmouth?

Cottonmouth is a term used to describe the way that cannabis can sometimes make your mouth dry and sticky, sensations that are often paired with an awful taste and an inability to swallow, speak, or feel comfortable. In some cases, it might be so bad that it makes your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and even your throat sore and irritated, because the body requires a certain amount of moisture in this region to optimally function.

It doesn’t tend to last for very long, and it doesn’t seem to affect everyone equally, but when it comes on, all you’ll be able to think about is how to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Once you’ve made it past that point, a first thought is going to be how can you avoid going through it again the next time you’d like to partake, and we’re here today to answer both of those questions and more.

What causes cottonmouth?

Dryness of the mouth experienced immediately after consuming cannabis is quite common and though it was once believed that smoking and vaping were the primary causes of this annoying side effect, current research indicates it can happen after ingesting anything cannabis related including edibles, capsules, and even oils.

Anandamide a cannabinoid is now understood to be the sole cause of this condition, as it interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the salivary gland, resulting in a decrease in saliva production. This is why even CBD products may produce this effect, as it is a compound found in nearly every cannabis product that exists today.

How to get rid of cottonmouth


Getting rid of cotton mouth is a relatively easy task requiring a few simple items and a whole lot of patience, as only time will eliminate the sensation completely, but there are some things you can do to ease the discomfort while you wait like:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Munching on fresh fruit
  • Sipping on juice
  • Eating soup
  • Stop

Is there any way to prevent cottonmouth?

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid this irritating side effect aside from avoiding cannabis completely, which most consumers won’t want to do. However, it is possible to reduce the likelihood or severity of a potential event like this, and that is by reducing the amount of cannabis product consumed, and avoiding those with ultra-agitating qualities like smoking or vaping.

Why doesn’t everyone get cottonmouth

Some enthusiasts will never experience cotton mouth, no matter how much they use it, and we still don’t know exactly why that is. It seems those lucky few are simply naturally impervious to the effects triggered by CB1 and CB2 receptors.

CB1 Receptors explained


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