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Have you ever had trouble eating one of your favorite snacks after smoking some cannabis? And your tongue felt so dry, and swallowing became difficult? Whether you are a novice or a seasoned cannabis user, you can definitely relate to one of its side effects – extreme thirst. This phenomenon is also called dry mouth or cottonmouth. For most people, when they experience this dryness, the only thing they desperately want is to drink water.
In this article, you’ll understand the science behind Cottonmouth. You’ll also learn how to prevent it and deal with it whenever it happens. Let’s dive right in!
Cottonmouth: The Science Behind It
When cottonmouth happens, it feels like all the moisture in your mouth has been sucked away. For the longest time, many people thought that the thick fumes associated with smoking weed were responsible. However, people who use oils, capsules, and gummies also experience it. Most of the side effects of cannabis are traceable to its common phytocannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is also responsible for the “high” we get from cannabis consumption.
Phytocannabinoids are similar in structure to a type of chemical called endocannabinoids produced in the human body. THC is particularly similar to anandamide, an endocannabinoid that is also called “the bliss molecule.” Scientists believe that this chemical causes the “runner’s high” in the body.
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A 2006 study has further revealed that anandamide can significantly reduce saliva production in mammals. When phytocannabinoids and anandamide come in contact with the cannabinoid receptor in the salivary gland, it makes the mouth dry.
Is Cottonmouth Dangerous To Your Health?
No one has ever died from even extreme cases of dry mouth. But this is not to deny the fact that the phenomenon can be unpleasant and annoying. Cottonmouth should be taken more seriously because it causes some other side effects like:
- Dental Issues: Cottonmouth is called xerostomia in medical terms. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), it contributes to oral issues like gingivitis, cavities, and other periodontal diseases. Saliva is vital to your total well-being, especially your oral health. It helps food digestion, prevents tooth decay, stops the growth of harmful bacteria, and repairs hard and soft tissues. But you might not notice it until the malfunction of the salivary glands.
- Hoarse Voice
- Cracked Iips
- Sore Throat
- Mouth Sores
How To Deal With Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth is uncomfortable. However, it is not difficult to solve once you know what works. Many cannabis users have their own personal remedies for dry mouth. While some are effective, others are not. Below are proven ways to deal with cottonmouth when it happens:
- Drink Water: The first thing to do when you’re feeling cottonmouths is to simply drink some water. Take some water before, during, and after using cannabis to reduce the dryness in your throat.
- Chew Gum: Chewing gum aids saliva production in the mouth. You can choose sour gum flavors because they produce more saliva than sweeter ones.
- Eat Hard Candy: Eating some candy or lollipops is a great way to boost saliva production. You can also suck on them to reverse the dry mouth effect.
- Drink Herbal Tea: Herbal teas are hydrating, and they do not have caffeine. As such, they can reduce the effect of rid of cottonmouth
- Use Cough Medicines: If you feel like the methods are not effective for you, you can go for cough medicines. They help with dealing with the irritation caused by cottonmouth, and they are usually available over the counter.
- Choose the Right Cannabis Strain: You should verify the strain of cannabis you want to purchase. Strains lower in THC can reduce the effect of dry mouth. You can try out different strains to decide the one that best suits you.
What Makes Cottonmouth Worse?
Cannabis is not always responsible for the dehydration you feel because of cottonmouth. If your body is screaming for water immediately after you use cannabis, you were probably dehydrated before you consumed it. Here are some things to avoid to reduce the dehydrating effect of a dry mouth.
- Alcohol: Alcohol triggers thirst and oral dryness, just like cannabis. If you want to get rid of Cottonmouth, you might have to keep the booze aside.
- Fruit juice, coffee, and tea: You should avoid these beverages if you want to deal with dry mouth. They all contain tannins, which can leave your mouth dry and sour.
- Soda: Soda contains a lot of sugar and/or caffeine, which can cause dehydration. As such, it’s advisable to stay away from soda for the sake of your oral health.
- Alcohol-based mouthwash: Although mouthwashes help to keep your mouth fresh, alcohol-based ones can add to your dry mouth. The astringent substances in mouthwash have a drying effect and can make you thirsty.
You don’t have to be scared when you experience cottonmouth. Apart from the fact that it is an inevitable part of getting high, it doesn’t last for long. Dry mouth usually wears off when the other psychoactive and physical effects of cannabis are gone. Nonetheless, there are things you can do to prevent the condition. Ensure you integrate these practices today to have a wholesomely healthy lifestyle.