Does CBD Flower Give You Cottonmouth? – Dry Mouth Explained

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Many of us are all-too-familiar with the dreaded feeling of a dry tongue and mouth after smoking CBD flower, but why does it happen in the first place?

CBD flower, and CBD in general, can cause dry mouth, also known as “cottonmouth,” because of the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. CBD binds to receptors that directly impact the way our body creates saliva, thus influencing how dry the inside of the mouth feels.

Dry mouth is a reality of cannabis and hemp use that’s hard to avoid, but it’s one that you can plan and prepare for. Plus, there are lots of easy tips you can utilize to manage your discomfort and lessen how long your cottonmouth lingers. Read on to learn how to identify, understand, and control CBD-induced cottonmouth!

Why Does Marijuana Cause Cottonmouth?

Both marijuana and CBD hemp flower can cause cottonmouth because they introduce cannabinoids that bind to receptors in the body that impact saliva production and composition. 

When this happens, the mouth either slows or stops its normal saliva production rate. We rely on saliva to keep our mouths feeling “normal” throughout the day, so a lack of saliva produces what’s often a very noticeable feeling of dryness. 

Cottonmouth can make it difficult to do the things you want to without discomfort, but like all cannabis-related side effects, it can be managed with some planning and problem-solving.

The Science Behind Cottonmouth

In the past, it was commonly believed that the cause of cannabis-induced cottonmouth was its hot, harsh smoke. Only after years of inquiry and research were scientists able to determine the true culprit: the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that exists in the human body regardless of whether you use cannabis. It helps facilitate communication with the brain and body to regulate things like appetite, mood, sleep patterns, and more.

Even though it may seem to work against us sometimes (like when it causes a sandpaper tongue and dry throat!), the ECS plays a vital role in keeping our bodies functional. 

It is made up of receptors all throughout the body that both endocannabinoids, produced naturally, and cannabinoids, consumed artificially, can bind to.

Think of receptors like a lock and cannabinoids like the key. Only certain cannabinoids can interact with individual receptors, but once the two bind, they work together to complete a task.

In the case of cottonmouth, two key receptors are at work. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors can be found on the tongue and in the mouth, and each type plays a role in telling the body how and when to produce saliva.

Research suggests that CB1 helps regulate the consistent production and flow of saliva while CB2 is more responsible for its consistency and makeup.

So, when cannabinoids enter the body, even if not through smoke, they can bind to these receptors and cause changes to the way they behave. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to CBD flower, these changes are usually unpleasant: decreased saliva production that leaves the mouth parched and sticky.

While this phenomenon may be somewhat unavoidable, understanding why it’s happening can help you manage it better. The more you consume, the more cannabinoids you’re exposing yourself to and the higher your chances of experiencing dry mouth are.

A close up view of a beautiful trichome covered CBD flower cola.

Can CBD Flower Cause Cottonmouth?

One of the most common side effects of CBD use is dry mouth. Though CBD isn’t THC, it still has the ability to bind to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system that cause cottonmouth.

We should note, though, that the fact that CBD can still interact with the ECS in many of the ways THC can is perhaps its main benefit. 

Things like munchies, pain relief, lessened anxiety, and other therapeutic effects are thanks to the same processes that cause a dry mouth.

So, even though CBD flower can cause cottonmouth, it’s not something that’s always fully within the realm of control. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to make your symptoms go away faster or come on less intensely in the first place.

How Long Does CBD Dry Mouth Last?

CBD dry mouth often lingers for one to a few hours before it completely dissipates. It usually lasts for around the same time the CBD itself does, so the more you use, the longer your cottonmouth will probably stick around. 

Of course, everyone is different; some people might find that dry mouth comes and goes quickly, but others might struggle to feel normal again until the CBD has worn off entirely.

Strong CBD products might tend to cause dry mouth more frequently than others even if you only use a small amount. Their potency means that loads of cannabinoids can enter the body at once no matter how much you use, so use with caution.

What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Cottonmouth?

To get rid of your CBD cottonmouth, you’ll want to do something to compensate for the lower amounts of saliva in your mouth. 

In many cases, that means not just relieving the discomfort, but also trying out things that might help your mouth get back into the swing of things.

But how can you do that? Below are some of our easiest and most successful tips to relieve cottonmouth:

Practice Smart Oral Hygiene

Keeping your mouth clean may actually help more than just bad breath! Oral hygiene products and practices may help you produce more saliva or at the very least tackle some of your discomfort.

Biotene mouthwash, for example, is specifically made to help treat dry mouth and works great for cannabis-induced cottonmouth.

That’s not all, though–brushing your teeth can make a big difference, too. One of the main functions of saliva is actually to cleanse the mouth, so a lack of it typically leads to bad breath.

Even if it doesn’t make your mouth less dry, brushing your teeth gets rid of unwanted bacteria that thrive under these circumstances.

Swish Some Water

Swishing some water around your mouth can help temporarily alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. 

This solution probably won’t make you start producing new saliva, but it can provide some much-needed relief and hold you over while you wait or try other things.

Stimulate Your Salivary Glands

Kicking your salivary glands back into gear will help you tackle your cottonmouth more definitively. To do that, try chewing some sugar-free gum or hard candy.

They’ll get your glands working, and they taste nice, too!

Key Takeaways

CBD flower hasn’t managed to dodge cottonmouth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Understanding where it comes from and why it happens is half the battle.

Cannabinoids like CBD can bind to receptors in the ECS to change our saliva production, which is the key piece at work here; if you’re able to get yourself to salivate more and keep your mouth hydrated, you’ll likely bypass a lot of the discomfort.

So don’t be afraid to chug some water or have a snack. It will probably help! 

Another thing that helps is choosing and using products that make sense for your personal limitations and needs. If smoking potent CBD flower leaves your mouth feeling like the Sahara Desert, don’t be afraid to try something new. 

For product recommendations and more information that can help you make a decision, check out our directory. We’ve made it easy to find the products that work for you without sacrificing your budget or your priorities. If you’re specifically looking for CBD flower, click here to check out our personal favorite company, Secret Nature.

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Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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