Home Cannabis Marijuana Myth Busters: What Is Cottonmouth And How Do You Fix It?

Marijuana Myth Busters: What Is Cottonmouth And How Do You Fix It?

Photo by Zach Guinta via Unsplash

Not only is smoke weed giving us dry mouth, it’s also affecting our ability to breakdown those five bags of Cheetos we ate afterwards. Here’s why.

We all know the feeling. Without warning, it strikes. Cottonmouth, also known as dry mouth, has been a side effect since the very first marijuana smoker sparked up. It can happen to anyone, but do we know why?

What Is Cottonmouth?

In an exploration of the science behind cottonmouth conducted at the University of Buenos Aires, they found that the answer lies in the body’s cannabinoid system. Cannabinoid receptors are a vital component of the Endocannabinoid system that is involved in pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

Every single one of us has cannabinoid receptors, and our puffing pleasures are directly informing two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) found in our submandibular glands (SMG). These are major salivary glands located beneath the floor of the mouth. They each weigh about 15 grams and contribute almost 70 percent of the saliva we secrete.

Blame The THC

So why does this matter? These Argentinian scientists discovered that every time you take a toke of the smoke, the cannabinoid receptors in these glands latch on to the THC. This causes the glands to stop interpreting messages from the parasympathetic nervous system that tells them to produce saliva. These messages can be blocked in two unique ways, either by binding to receptors in salivary glands or receptors in the brain where the signals originate from.


As we know, our beloved Mary Jane can teach us a lot of things. In this case, we learn a lesson in biology. Saliva plays a huge role in digestion, which is what happens when the munchies strike. Saliva helps to not only lubricate the passage of food from the mouth to the stomach, but also contains digestive enzymes of its own that assist in the breakdown of starches and fats. Essentially, not only is smoke giving us that dry mouth, but it is also affecting our ability to breakdown those five bags of Cheetos you ate after smoking.


How Do You Fix It?

And while researchers have yet to find a tangible solution to the temporary cottonmouth that affects kush consumers worldwide, they’ve been researching ways that they can use this knowledge to treat issues related to saliva production. In targeting cannabinoid receptors, scientists may be able to increase or decrease saliva levels in patients that suffer from a variety of conditions known to cause a permanent state of cottonmouth.

There may not be a current cure for the wide spread side effect, but there are definitely measures you can take to lessen the blow. Avoiding sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco will help reduce the level of cottonmouth. As always, drinking plenty of water. Milk, hard candy and mouthwash are also great ways to combat cottonmouth. Smokers have been dealing with cottonmouth for decades, and it hasn’t lessened the love for the beloved bud. Of all the benefits and reasons to love Mary Jane, a little bit of dry mouth never hurt anyone.


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