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Cannabis & Cotton Mouth

Cannabis consumption is currently legal for medicinal purposes in more than half of US states, with a growing number of states providing recreational protections as well. And while marijuana usage is a popular topic of discussion in both social and legislative arenas, there is a common side effect of cannabis that needs to be better understood: cotton mouth.

What is Cotton Mouth?

A common complaint of cannabis users is a persistent thirst and sticky mouth, often referred to as cotton mouth or “the pasties”, that just won’t go away. Once thought to be caused by harsh smoke irritating tender oral membranes, cotton mouth is now better understood as a normal (though annoying) response of the saliva glands in our mouths to cannabis components in the bloodstream. It’s a myth that vaping and ingesting marijuana don’t cause dry mouth. Cotton mouth strikes whether you prefer combustion, concentrates or edibles.

So, if imbibing pot in any form can lead to cotton mouth, what is it about cannabis that has such a drying effect? The answer lies in our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a biological system consisting of naturally occurring cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. The ECS aids in regulating many different cognitive and physiological processes, but we’re only concerned with the relationship between the ECS and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Let’s break it down. Our submandibular saliva glands (located right under the jaw bone) are responsible for 70% of saliva production. These glands also contain cannabinoid receptors. When you imbibe marijuana, the cannabinoids bind to those cannabinoid receptors, preventing your ECS from sending messages to your parasympathetic nervous system. In short, your nervous system isn’t getting the message to keep the saliva flowing.

Cures for Cotton Mouth

So, putting the science aside, what can you do to treat cotton mouth from smoking pot or ingesting cannabis?

  1. Sip water, ideally through a straw
  2. Chew xylitol gum, like XyliGum, to stimulate your salivary glands
  3. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks
  4. Avoid using tobacco in any form
  5. Apply XyliMelts or XyliGel for fast and long-lasting relief

XyliMelts are oral-adhering discs that stick to your teeth or gums while slowly releasing ½ gram of xylitol and oral lubricant, to stimulate saliva production and to coat, moisturize, and lubricate your mouth for those suffering from dry mouth. XyliMelts can be used discreetly during the day or in comfort while you sleep. Find relief from cotton mouth, frequent thirst, stickiness in the throat, and other unpleasant dry mouth symptoms associated with smoking weed or consuming cannabis. XyliMelts last for hours, moisturizing and coating the mouth for optimal comfort. Two discs placed in your mouth before bed will minimize cotton mouth when you’re awake. Offered in mint and mild-mint options, XyliMelts have the added benefit of fighting bad breath while reducing the risk of tooth decay.

OraCoat also brings you a second option, XyliGel, a soothing gel with 17% xylitol which comes in convenient tubes and can be easily applied to the mouth and lips when you’re suffering cotton mouth from marijuana usage. Learn more about XyliMelts, XyliGel, and other products from OraCoat.

Learn about cotton mouth from marijuana or cannabis use and how to best treat dry mouth. Rated #1 in effectiveness by dentists, XyliMelts and XyliGel soothe cotton mouth whether you’re vaping, consuming edibles, or using concentrated cannabis. OraCoat brings fast, effective & affordable relief!

How can marijuana cause mouth problems?

Smoke from pot is a carcinogen and can cause mouth cancer. In addition, if you smoke pot often, you can develop something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which leads to nausea and vomiting. The acids from your stomach that end up in your mouth can wear away enamel and lead to tooth decay.

Reviewed by Alfred D. Wyatt Jr. on August 11, 2020

Saini G. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Sept-Oct 2013.

Bassiouny M. Substance Abuse, Nov 2012.

Victoria State Government: “Teeth and Drug Use.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “High Rates of Dental and Gum Disease Occur Among Methamphetamine Users.”

American Dental Association: “Meth Mouth.”

Mouth Healthy: “Meth Mouth: How Methamphetamine Use Affects Dental Health.”

Medscape: “Methamphetamine, Heroin Users Both Suffer from ‘Meth Mouth.'”

Brand H. British Dental Journal, April 2008.

Saini G. Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology, Sept-Oct 2013.

Bassiouny M. Substance Abuse, Nov 2012.

Victoria State Government: “Teeth and Drug Use.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “High Rates of Dental and Gum Disease Occur Among Methamphetamine Users.”

American Dental Association: “Meth Mouth.”

Mouth Healthy: “Meth Mouth: How Methamphetamine Use Affects Dental Health.”

Medscape: “Methamphetamine, Heroin Users Both Suffer from ‘Meth Mouth.'”

Brand H. British Dental Journal, April 2008.

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

smoke from pot is a carcinogen and can cause mouth cancer. in addition, if you smoke pot often, you can develop something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which leads to nausea and vomiting.