If you’ve ever smoked some weed before, you’ve probably already dealt with cottonmouth at least once in your life.
In case you haven’t, the cottonmouth is the lingering feeling of dry mouth from weed after you’ve taken a few hits. Most of us who smoke weed have to deal with this unpleasant feeling whenever we consume weed. Still, now that cannabis has hit mainstream audiences due to its recent legalization, we thought the time was ripe to educate new and seasoned stoners alike on how to overcome this universal hurdle that we all suffer from.
To find out what causes cottonmouth and how you can alleviate yourself from it, keep on reading!
What Causes Cottonmouth?
At first glance, it might seem like the dryness from weed is caused by all of the smoke and heat passing through the mouth down the throat. Still, in actuality, the dryness is more heavily associated with how the cannabinoids in cannabis interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system.
As you’re probably already aware, saliva production has a lot to do with keeping the dryness away from the mouth and throat. That said, a large part of our saliva production is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest system.
It controls both the volume and type of saliva secreted with two different types of nerves, such as sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves.
Researchers found that a compound called anandamide that is structurally similar to THC suppresses saliva production. Unsurprisingly, due to the similarities between the two compounds, it is thought that the THC in cannabis is responsible for the cottonmouth that we all experience from smoking weed.
Not only that, but the breakthrough in understanding the effects of saliva production has also led researchers to understand the medical possibilities of treating patients who experience dry mouth for other medical reasons such as dry mouth or xerostomia.
What to do When You Experience Cottonmouth
If you’ve taken a few puffs from a joint or blunt, you probably won’t experience cottonmouth to the same degree as you would if you’re involved in a more decadent smoke session.
When you get to smoking larger amounts of cannabis, the cottonmouth can get pretty uncomfortable, causing pain and irritation. And while it may seem like an obvious solution to all of this would be to drink some water to quell the dryness simply, unfortunately, there’s more to it than that.
Here are a few tips we’ve come up with to help you get rid of cottonmouth.
Start Chewing Something
Saliva production is what will keep the inside of your mouth moist and hydrated. Chewing something like a piece of gum, some beef jerky, or some dried fruits can help stimulate the salivary glands and promote saliva production, helping to reduce the dryness in your mouth.
If gum, beef jerky, or dried fruits aren’t your cup of tea, you can also include any type of food item that has some texture to it in your smoke session to help keep the saliva flowing.
Have Some Hard Candy
Similar to chewing on gum or jerky, sucking on hard candy can also have the same effect on the salivary glands. Whether you prefer a cough drop, a lollipop, or a piece of hard candy, all of these things will help with saliva production to ease the discomfort of cottonmouth.
You can also tickle your taste buds with some sugar-free candies and lollipops if you are conscious about sugar levels that you consume.
While water alone may not help stop the discomfort from severe cottonmouth, drinking water and staying hydrated is still an important thing to consider.
Having some water readily available can temporarily help ease cottonmouth discomfort and soothe some of the irritation involved with inhaling large amounts of cannabis smoke.
Avoid Consuming Caffeine
One of the last things you’ll want to do is consume anything that will further dehydrate you.
Many caffeinated beverages are commonly known as diuretics, substances that increase water excretion from the body. That said, when experiencing cottonmouth, you should altogether avoid the use of caffeinated beverages, as they’ll further worsen the effects of the dry mouth.
Drinks such as green and black tea, coffee and energy drinks should be avoided when experiencing the cottonmouth effect.
Stay Away From Salty Foods
Even though it might be hard to resist the urge of those delicious salty snacks when you’ve got a case of the munchies, it is in your best interest to stay as far away from salty foods as possible if you have cottonmouth.
The salt in the food will not only make you more thirsty, but it will also aggravate the cottonmouth by forcing your kidneys to excrete large amounts of water to balance out sodium levels in the body.
Do Not Consume Alcohol
Much like caffeine, alcoholic beverages are also considered diuretics, flushing the water out from our bodies.
You’ll want to stay clear of alcoholic beverages as they’ll easily make the situation even worse. Instead, try to include more water in your smoke sessions to keep things smooth and comfortable.
And if you can’t take water anymore, try chewing some gum or have a hard candy to ease the discomfort of the cottonmouth.
Can You Avoid Cottonmouth?
Cottonmouth affects even the most experienced cannabis users, and there really is no way to avoid it. You can think of it as a “rite of passage” that all of us go through when we embark on that figuratively “Green Mile” journey.
However, you can utilize the tips and tricks outlined above to ensure your smoking experience is smooth and enjoyable. There’s nothing worse than coughing your lungs out with a dry mouth and throat after trying to enjoy some quality bud with your friends.
The best you can do is to remember to keep some water and maybe some gum handy while you’re out smoking. Barring that, there really isn’t much you can do about this natural side effect!