What is ‘Cottonmouth’ and How Can You Prevent It?

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Cottonmouth, dry mouth, and pasties, are some of the common names for that small bits of mucus and spit lining the upper portion of the mouth. And as the name suggests it, it feels like a cotton stuck on the roof of your cavity. Continuous and regular smoking of Cannabis gives out that effect.

If you are currently experiencing cottonmouth or want to prevent it, read further…   

What’s the Science Behind ‘Cottonmouth’?


Located throughout our body are cannabinoid receptors responsible for corporeal processes like appetite, pain, mood and memory. And these receptors are found primarily in saliva-producing glands.

As it appears, two of the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are found in the submandibular glands located beneath the floor our mouths. And this gland is responsible on producing 70% of our saliva.

CB1 cannabinoid receptors are the ones causing marijuana’s psychoactive effect. And the CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are accountable for its anti-inflammatory benefits.

So, how are these cannabinoid receptors responsible for having a cottonmouth? A recent study conducted by the researchers from University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, evidently proves that the moment we ingest marijuana the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of the plant attaches itself to the cannabinoid receptors found beneath our cavity. And this causes the parasympathetic nervous system to stop sending messages to the submandibular glands to produce saliva. Thus, the dry mouth effect.

How Can We Prevent Cottonmouth?


Unfortunately, we can’t. It’s just how our system respond to this stimulus. However, we can lessen the soreness of cottonmouth and prevent aggravating the symptoms.

Do’s When Experiencing Cottonmouth

  • If you’re under any type of medications, check its chemical properties, most meds act as diuretics which causes you to urinate more often than normal, and this can cause you to be more dehydrated. Ask your doctor for the best meds you can take that will prevent this from happening.
  • Watch what you eat. You do not want an upset stomach while having those cottonmouth. Diarrhea will worsen your dehydration, causing more soreness to your cavity.
  • If you’re taking any dietary supplements, check its side effects as well. Although natural, these dietary supplements can still bring your bladder to work and increase your urine output, which will dehydrate you further.


  • Drink plenty of water. This is the smartest way for preventing further dehydration. And it will be a better choice if you consumed beverages with high electrolyte content to keep you hydrated. Take a sip every few minutes to moisten your mouth regularly.
  • Munch on sugarless gums. Gum chewing induces saliva production which will help moisten your sore dry mouth. It will also help in keeping your breath fresh and cleaner teeth.
  • Nibble on crushed ice. Not only that the coldness will ease the soreness of your cottonmouth, but also its one enjoyable way of rehydrating your body. You can even add flavorings, like in a snow cone, but be sure that it’s sugar-free.
  • Have a handful of Lifesavers. Hard candies also stimulate saliva production that will keep your mouth moist and hydrated. But be sure that all hard candies you’ll put in your mouth are sugar-free.
  • Use a mouthwash. Use an antibacterial mouthwash without alcohol content to prevent infection on your sore mouth.

Don’ts When You’re Suffering from Cottonmouth

  • Avoid sweet beverages. This can cause dehydration, worsening the dryness of your mouth.
  • Don’t smoke any tobacco. Regardless if its cigarettes, in a pipe or through chewing, it will still dry out your mouth and cause more soreness.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol dehydrates our body. It doesn’t matter if the liquor has low alcohol content, even high water content beverage such as beer makes us dehydrated.
  • Avoid beverages with high tannin content. Such beverages are wines, certain teas and juices. Tannins have an astringent effect on the body, it is actually being used as a cure for diarrhea.


  • Avoid excessive heat exposure. Spending too much time under the sun is the worst thing that you can do to retain water in your system. Keep your body temperature at a normal level to prevent further dehydration.
  • Do not perform vigorous exercises. When you have cottonmouth, give yourself some time to rest and avoid the gym for a while. Excessive sweating can lead to too much water loss in our body.
  • Don’t let yourself be stressed out by the situation. Stress triggers dehydration and low electrolyte levels in our body.
  • Stop rolling your weed. Cottonmouth won’t stop unless you stop taking your hits. Let your mouth rest for a while and when fully recovered, go ahead and drown yourself again in the bliss.

The Flip Side

It is indeed true that for any vice comes its own perils. And no matter how advanced our technology is, nature will still prevail. However, we are getting smarter in finding multiple remedies for each consequence just so we can go on and enjoy what nature has to offer.

For marijuana users who can’t stop but enjoy its euphoric effect, just follow these guidelines and hopefully they will make the situation better and ease the pain brought by dry mouth soreness.

What do you think is the best way to prevent “cottonmouth”?

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