High and Dry: How to Mitigate Cotton Mouth Before It Starts


If you partake in cannabis, than you know the feeling of cotton mouth all too well. One second you’re enjoying your high and all of a sudden, you’re parched and desperate for anything cold and wet to pour down your throat. While there’s yet to be a scientific cotton mouth cure for this pesky side effect of marijuana use – there are a few things you can do to prevent your mouth from feeling like the Sahara in the first place.

Also known as Xerostomia, cottonmouth is a dry, sticky feeling in the mouth. Dry mouth can also cause difficulty chewing and even a sore throat, not to mention bad breath. While it’s logical to assume it’s the dryness of cannabis smoke that causes a mouth to dry out, eating an edible will eventually lead to the same effect. So, what is about cannabis that leads to cotton mouth?

The Causes of Cotton Mouth

The result of the way the cannabinoids within cannabis affect the bodies nervous system, cotton mouth is primarily caused by an endocannabinoid, called anandamide. According to a 2006 study, salivary secretion in this submandibular gland is blocked by the activation of cannabinoid receptors, such as THC and CBD, which prevents the gland from salivating.

But don’t think you have to suffer with the inevitable side effect of dry mouth every time you want to spark up. From what to do and what to pass on, we have you covered on a few tried-and-true cotton mouth remedies to keep dry mouth at bay.

Top Cotton Mouth Remedies

Drink Up

It may seem fairly obvious, but the best cotton mouth cure is to drink more liquid. However, instead of taking big gulps when your mouth first begins to feel dry, ward off cotton mouth beforehand by taking regular sips throughout the day.

Also, your best bet for how to get rid of cotton mouth is to stick to plain ole water. As tempting as that cold beer or glass of merlot is, research suggests they will actually make the symptoms worse, as the tannin within them adds to the drying sensation.

Get Your Chew On

A stick of gum will not only ward off the bad breath that can accompany cotton mouth but chewing also stimulates saliva production.

If you don’t like chewing gum, sucking on hard candy will also do the trick.

Swish with Mouthwash for a Cotton Mouth Cure

Swishing with mouthwash not only will leave you minty fresh after a smoke sesh, but it’s also one of the top tried-and-true cotton mouth remedies. The Mayo Clinic recommends one that contains xylitol, skip mouthwashes that contain alcohol as they can dry your mouth out even more.

Run a Humidifier

Not only good for when you have a nasty cold, but a humidifier is also a great way how to get rid of cotton mouth by keeping the air moist. If you already have one laying around, run your humidifier when you’re getting high.

No humidifier? No worries. You can also ward off that cotton mouth by inhaling the steam from a hot shower or boiling water.

Try Oil Pulling

According to a 2009 study, this ancient Ayurvedic practice can help reduce plaque and microorganisms in the mouth, which makes it no surprise that it may also help as a cotton mouth cure.

Simply swish a tablespoon of coconut, sunflower or sesame oil around in your mouth for several minutes (don’t gargle or swallow it) and then spit it out. Follow it up with a warm water rinse, then brush your teeth as usual.

Skip the Caffeine

Although cotton mouth will make you want to drink anything (or everything), not all beverages are good cotton mouth remedies. Studies have shown that black teas and sodas can actually dry out your mouth even more (basically anything with caffeine), so stick with herbal teas or plain water instead.

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