After medicating on a high THC strain, you may feel like you are chewing on glue and losing saliva. This may also be accompanied by bad breath, making the experience even more hellish. Welcome to cotton-mouth, a major annoyance that comes with cannabis.
The medicinal properties of cannabis have attracted an assortment of patients. However, all is not bliss as patients frequently have to deal with one annoyance: cotton-mouth and the resulting breath issues. This article shows you what to do about this to give you a more delightful experience as you medicate on cannabis.
What Is Cotton-mouth?
If you are consuming cannabis for the first time, you might be quite appalled by the sticky and dry feeling left in your mouth. Unfortunately, this is bound to happen every time you partake, but there are a few tricks that you can use to minimize this effect. In summary, that effect is what is referred to as cotton-mouth in cannabis circles. Cotton-mouth is not just limited to smoking cannabis, it also happens when you take cannabis through different methods such as consuming cannabis-infused edibles.
What Causes Cotton-mouth?
Cotton-mouth is triggered by decreased production of saliva in the mouth. When this happens, your mouth dries up and this comes with the stickiness and bad breath.
Cannabis contains different compounds such as cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other nutrients. All these compounds have some therapeutic usefulness, but cannabinoids have substantially significant therapeutic value. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most studied, and most popular, cannabinoids. THC is responsible for the psychoactive stimulating properties of the herb.
Research has shown that THC is actually responsible for the cotton-mouth effect produced by cannabis. It is the only cannabinoid that binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, that’s also why it can cause psychoactive effects. Apart from this, it also acts on salivary glands to cause that dry, sticky feeling associated with cotton-mouth.
One study, published in the journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine (2006), showed that salivary glands (submandibular) have both CB1 and CB2 receptors. This confirmed that cannabinoids from cannabis could affect saliva production. The study found that both CB1 and CB2 receptors were present in the salivary tissue. This indicates that the endocannabinoid system plays a key role in salivary production, and therefore could be responsible for cotton-mouth symptoms. The study concluded that cannabinoids inhibit saliva secretion by acting through CB1 and CB2 receptors in the salivary glands.
The study also found that THC, which is analogous to the body’s own cannabinoids- anandamide, could inhibit saliva secretion. This possibly explains the link between cannabis and cotton-mouth.
How to Get Rid of Cotton-mouth
Now that you know how cotton-mouth comes about, how do you deal with it?
Cotton-mouth is the result of diminished saliva production in the mouth, the result of which is a dry and sticky mouth. Sorting this out would definitely imply increasing saliva production.
There is a number of fast remedies that can trigger saliva secretion. The first is chewing gum or any hard chewy foods. This is set to stimulate your salivary glands to secrete saliva.
Chewing on sour foods such as sour candy, vinegar pickles, or lemons can also help to increase saliva production and get rid of cotton-mouth. Sour foods have a way of stimulating salivary glands.
Lastly, you can get rid of dry mouth by simply rehydrating. You can either suck on ice cubes or sip on water/ or other non-caffeinated drinks. You can do this as you continue enjoying your cannabis to ensure that your mouth doesn’t get the chance to dry out. Rehydrating will also help to ease some of the symptoms of cannabis smoking, such as a sore/dry throat.
What About The Cannabis Breath Problem?
Cotton-mouth is not the only annoying thing that comes with consuming cannabis. Many users also experience bad breath that goes hand in hand with cotton-mouth, and for some, this is even worse as it can draw the wrong kind of attention. Remember that saliva helps to clean out bad bacteria that are responsible for bad breath. So how do you deal with cannabis bad breath? There are four things you can do to nip this menace right in the bud.
- Practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis.
Good hygiene involves regular brushing, flossing, and mouth washing twice a day to prevent the build-up of bacteria that causes bad breath. This will also help to get rid of any bad smell caused by cannabis.
- Use clean smoking devices
Using dirty or sharing cannabis equipment will promote the transfer of bacteria that may cause bad breath. Avoid sharing cannabis smoking equipment and also clean your equipment thoroughly after use before using again.
Where possible, don’t use smoke-producing methods such as traditional joints to take your cannabis. Smoke is likely to increase your production of bad breath.
- Reduce cotton-mouth
Remember that mouth-drying is responsible for bad breath. To avoid cotton-mouth you can go for low THC strains or take them in moderation. Reducing cotton-mouth is one of the most effective ways to help treat cannabis breath.
- When it happens, rehydrate
Lastly, should you sense bad breath after taking cannabis, do not panic. All you need to do is o get rid of cannabis bad breath as fast as possible. Some quick fixes include chewing gum, sucking on a lemon, and chewing the mint leaf. This will help to stimulate saliva production that will clear bacteria responsible for causing bad breath. You can also use mouth sprays or mints that can clear the smell. If this does not work, you will need to brush your teeth and floss to save face.
Cotton-mouth is one of the annoying symptoms that come with medicating on cannabis. This is generally triggered by THC which diminishes saliva production. Fortunately, you can fix this by employing the tactics listed above. I hope you really enjoy your next cannabis indulging experience.
- High Times (2018): What To Do When You Have Cotton Mouth. Retrieved from https://hightimes.com/guides/cotton-mouth/
- Research Gate (2006): Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6843321_Inhibition_of_salivary_secretion_by_activation_of_cannabinoid_receptors
- NCBI (2006): Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16946411