It’s difficult to enjoy your high when your throat is on fire and your saliva feels like glue in your mouth. That’s cottonmouth for you, and unfortunately, it’s pretty much guaranteed after a couple bong rips. In fact, it’s the most common side effect of cannabis, no matter how you consume it. Luckily, there are a few foolproof ways of relieving cottonmouth!
What is Cottonmouth?
Xerostomia (zero-stow-me-uh) is the fancy medical word for cottonmouth. It is also known as hyposalivation, which literally means a lack of salivation. THC, as well as other cannabinoids found in cannabis, interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for bodily reactions and processes. For some reason, THC triggers a response in our bodies to decrease saliva production.
One of the theories is that anandamide, a fatty acid neurotransmitter with a similar structure to THC, has been found to decrease saliva secretion. Because of this, many researchers believe THC is the only cannabinoid to cause this physical reaction. The THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the submandibular glands and causes them to stop receiving messages from the nervous system.
The following are tips on how to combat cottonmouth:
1. Drink tons of water through a straw
Cottonmouth is dehydration of the mouth and throat, so having water on hand during your smoke sessions is a must. When dealing with a dry mouth, try taking small sips at a time rather than chugging. Smaller sips will refresh your mouth a little bit at a time and give the salivary glands the opportunity to turn back on, so to speak. If you drink too quickly, you won’t allow the water to moisten your mouth.
Consuming water through a straw actually stimulates saliva production more than if you drank out of a glass. Plus, drinking through a straw may encourage you to drink more than usual.
If cannabis is a constant in your life, water should be as well. Make sure you stay hydrated before, during, and after a session.
2. Skip the caffeine
Unfortunately, the caffeine found in coffee and tea can add to the intensity of your dry mouth. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it forces the production of urine. Your kidneys hold onto water when you have a diuretic in your system. They then pass that water through urine, instead of reabsorbing it back into your blood. Even if you try to offset the caffeine intake with more water, you may find yourself having to use the restroom more frequently and still feeling dehydrated.
Teas also contain tannins, which are astringent plant compounds. These can dehydrate skin and body tissues, causing the sensation of dryness. Similarly, alcohol is also a diuretic that can make cottonmouth worse. Try to avoid these to decrease cottonmouth.
3. Keep a pack of gum nearby
Sugar-free gum is considered to be one of the best ways to eradicate dry mouth. Gums that contain xylitol can help maintain a neutral pH of the mouth, meaning you could potentially be fighting tooth decay while relieving your dry mouth.
The act of chewing stimulates saliva production. The brain believes it is digesting food, when it is not.
4. Indulge in some sour candy
A natural way to stimulate the production of saliva is to suck on a lemon or orange. Sour candy can also activate the flow of saliva, providing relief from cottonmouth that lasts as long as the candy does. The glands in your mouth react differently to different tastes, and flavors that are sour are often accompanied with an influx of saliva.
Sour flavors can make your mouth water more than sweet flavors do, so stick to your Toxic Waste, Warheads and Sour Patch Kids. Not only will it kick the cottonmouth, it will satisfy your munchies!
5. Fire up the humidifier
Your nasal passages can also become dry when cottonmouth strikes, which can aggravate the sinuses, mouth, throat, and sense of taste. Inhaling steam is a great way to add moisture to your mouth and nasal passages. Just boil some water, run a hot shower or use a humidifier.
If you find yourself waking up with a sore throat regularly, invest in a humidifier to keep the air around you moist at all times. Using a humidifier throughout your sessions could also aid in avoiding cottonmouth altogether.
Cottonmouth sucks, but as you can see, there are enjoyable ways of combatting it! Make sure you have a few of these essentials on hand for each of your smoke sessions so you can kick back and enjoy the high.