What is Cottonmouth And How to Mitigate Its Effects

Chewing gum

Cottonmouth, dry mouth, the pasties – call it whatever you like. But you can’t deny that this side effect of smoking marijuana – although that’s the worst thing that may happen to you when you consume weed – can become particularly itchy for some people.

Why and how is marijuana responsible for causing the cottonmouth effect? Well, this aspect hasn’t been studied and therefore understood properly until recent times. Fortunately, scientists have now discovered the truth behind cottonmouth and the causes for it. Learn about the pasties and see how you can mitigate its effects to fully enjoy your experience with weed.

What is Cottonmouth?

Feeling of a cottonmouth

Source: Green Rush Daily

Simply put, cottonmouth is the far-from-pleasant feeling of a dry mouth and a slightly sore throat after smoking cannabis. This particular side effect has been around for as long as people have been using the herb, which is – to cut the long story short – very, very long. If you’re a savory and experienced stoner, you have not only developed strong tolerance for the herb but, presumably, you’ve also come to terms with the fact that cottonmouth is unavoidable. Thus, you normally don’t spend hours on thinking about this minor inconvenience. Nonetheless, now that scientists have finally shed some light on the issue, you can learn how to minimize its impact on your overall comfort while smoking marijuana.

Cottonmouth and The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid system

Source: Elixinol

Given the fact that cannabis pollen was found on the mummy of Ramses II, it goes without saying that people have enjoyed marijuana since ancient times. Therefore, they also experienced “cottonmouth.” So the pasties are not exactly a spectacular discovery. However, it was only recently, in 2006, when this peculiar effect of marijuana has finally caught the eyes of scientists. Finally, they began to dig deeper into the subject and come up with broad research. That is why we can now have a better understanding of the problem.

When thinking about cottonmouth, most people associate it with dryness from the potsmoke. And some people will actually argue that this is the real reason. In fact, there’s more to it than meets the eye. The real cause of cottonmouth is strongly connected to the human endocannabinoid system. Namely, it’s the way cannabinoids, the active compounds in marijuana, influence the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the entire human body, which also includes the brain. As they get attached to these receptors, they then activate them. The interaction between certain cannabinoids and our innate receptors triggers all sorts of various reactions and processes. This is why you get the high from THC and reduced inflammation by ingesting CBD, for instance.

So how exactly are cannabinoids responsible for the feeling of cottonmouth?

Cannabinoids & Saliva Production

Cannabinoids and saliva production

Source: Tumblr

The saliva production is controlled by a part of our autonomic nervous system and the digest system. When the brain conveys nerve impulses towards the salivary glands, the production of saliva becomes stimulated. Sometimes, the increased saliva production is influenced by our subconscious brain, which is why sometimes you need the mere thought of your favorite food to make your mouth water.

Because the human body is ‘equipped’ with endocannabinoids – the cannabinoids naturally produced by our system – some marijuana compounds may mimic their functions, providing a user with certain effects. Interestingly, cannabinoid receptors are also present in the submadibular glands that are responsible for saliva production.

Given this, we should take a peek at the similarity between anandamide and THC. Anandamide is responsible for decreased saliva secretion, which should already ring a bell. Being very similar to anandamide in terms of structure, THC is also believed to bind to the receptors located in the submadibular glands. Do you understand the connection now? By mimicking the role of anandamide, Tetrahydrocannabinol reduces the saliva production in the mouth. There you go, you’ve learned the most likely cause for cottonmouth!

With this amazing research, cannabis users can now sigh a breath of relief. It opens up new ways to treat conditions associated with disturbed saliva production, not to mention that marijuana lovers may one day find a way to solve the problem once and for all.

Okay, the optimistic outlook aside, are there any methods of mitigating the effects of cottonmouth? Yes, there are, and I’ll be more than happy to give you a look behind the curtain!

How To Deal With Cottonmouth

How to deal with cottonmouth

Source: Green Rush Daily

For most weed lovers, the level of cottonmouth after they take a few hits is not a big deal. However, the dry mouth may become disturbing during longer and heavier sessions with your friends. Most of the times, you’ll grab a bottle of water, trying to empty it as soon as possible, only to realize that you’ve merely masked the problem.

The idea of dealing with cottonmouth is not to fight its effects. It’s about stimulating saliva production in your body. On the other hand, you shouldn’t give up on drinking water or other neutral liquids thanks to which you will remain well hydrated. Here are some life hacks that may actually save your dry day:

Chew On Something

Chewing gum

Source: Science ABC

Chewing increases saliva production, so chewing gum can be all you need to help you mitigate the effects of cottonmouth. If you’re not a fan of chewing gums, there are other ‘snacks’ that will need some chewing act, namely beef jerky, fruits, or gummies.

Suck Candies And Lollipops

Colored candies

You see, chewing isn’t the only mechanism that will get your saliva flowing. Sucking a lollipop or a candy will give you the same effects as chewing gums or candies; it will increase saliva production in your mouth, making the pasties less irritating. In addition, sour sweets work better for watering your mouth, so if you can get some sour candies, it’s all the better. If you have a soul of a true Spartan, you can even munch on a slice of lime or lemon.

Drink Herbal Teas

Herbal tea

Source: Anashe Yoga

A cup of herbal tea is a true gamechanger when it comes to a feeling of a sore or irritated throat from smoking marijuana. You’ll find some flavorful herbal teas at most modern grocery stores, so hunting for your favorite tea should not be a great deal. In addition to hydrating your body and watering your mouth directly, herbal teas offer great relief to an irritated throat. To achieve even better effects for your sore throat and cottonmouth, you can add a squeeze or two of lemon juice to your tea.

Cottonmouth & Friends: Things You Should Avoid

Although it’s always good to stay well hydrated, some beverages may even deteriorate the symptoms of cottonmouth. Among the drinks you should exclude from your list, you’ll find black and green teas, coffee, and basically beverage containing caffeine, as they will dry out your mouth even more.

When it comes to munchies after smoking weed, as afflicting as it may be, try to refrain from eating salty foods and salty snacks because they will make the problem worse. The same goes for alcohol and tobacco; when smoking marijuana, don’t do it in a combo with these two – it’s a strong no-no!

How do you perceive cottonmouth? Is it particularly disturbing for you, or do you rather find it as an acceptable part of smoking marijuana given all the health benefits it comes with?

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