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Learn What Causes Dry Mouth from Smoking Cannabis

Learn What Causes Dry Mouth from Smoking Cannabis

Have you ever experienced “cotton mouth”? If you smoke cannabis, then you know what this feeling is and just how persistent it can be. This side effect is very common among cannabis users, so you are not alone. 

Many people wonder if this condition is a sign that their health is bad, but you have nothing to worry about!

However, it can help if you know exactly what can cause dry mouth. Recently, more and more studies are being conducted on what makes this happen. If you are interested in learning more, make sure to keep reading! We will be covering everything you need to know about this side effect.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Before the condition was studied by scientists, many people wrongfully believed that the smoke was simply drying your mouth as you breathed it out. They thought that since the cannabis was burning, it left you feeling dry.

However, that turned out not to be the case. Cotton mouth was still a side effect as people started to vape their weed instead- where no burning was involved. Plus, with oils and edibles being used more often, people noticed that these consumption methods were having the same effects.

While many people refer to it as “cotton mouth” the scientific term for this effect is xerostomia. During studies and experiments it was discovered that the receptors that cannabis binds with also was present in the salivary glands. It is likely that cannabis decreases your saliva output because of that.

When your body is producing lower levels of salvia, your mouth is going to start feeling very dry. About 69% of people who use cannabis often experience this condition. It can happen to anyone, however.

How You Can Prevent Dry Mouth

How You Can Prevent It

Since dry mouth can harm your dental health, the American Dental Association says that you should maintain proper teeth brushing if you are using cannabis often. Chewing gum can also help, since it encourages saliva production while you smoke.

However, the best way to avoid this side effect is to drink more water while you are smoking. Alcohol, some teas, or even juice can make your mouth feel even dryer. That is why you should choose water to keep nearby while you smoke. 

It is important that you stay hydrated, since once dry mouth sets in after smoking, it will stay for awhile. You want to drink water during the day, then while you smoke to avoid this effect. Some hard candies, especially sour ones, are another great way to increase your saliva production.

If you want to avoid a dry mouth next time you smoke, make sure to use these tips:

  • Eat sour candies or try a lemon
  • Sweet and spicy foods are perfect for stimulating salivation
  • Chew gum, dried fruit, or other chewy foods 
  • Keep a water bottle nearby

Even if you try all of these steps, you might still experience dry mouth. If it continues to happen to you every time you smoke, you may just need to accept it, Some people are much more susceptible to the condition than others are. You will still want to dry water while you smoke and do everything that you can to avoid this annoying side effect.

Is Dry Mouth Unhealthy?

Dry mouth can be unhealthy if it happens too often. Without enough saliva, your teeth and gums can be exposed to bacteria- which can lead to all sorts of problems if you have to deal with infections or cavities down the road.

However, dry mouth specifically caused by smoking cannabis may not be a sign of dehydration. It is still in your best interest to drink water whenever you can.

Saliva is what lubricates your mouth; this allows you to swallow, speak, and taste. Saliva also protects your teeth and mouth from harmful bacteria. So, if your mouth is too dry, you can be at an increased risk of tooth decay. 

That is why the American Dental Association recommends that you visit them for regular check ups if you smoke. Of course, you do not have to mention your cannabis use to your dentist, unless you want to.

Overall, drinking water is going to prevent that from happening. Plus, you will not feel so thirsty.

Is Dry Mouth Unhealthy

You’re Not Dehydrated!

Many people believe that they are dehydrated when they experience this symptom. They then chug large amounts of water at once- which can make you feel sick. Instead, you should keep a water bottle nearby and do your best to work through it slowly.

It can help to let the water sit in your mouth for a moment before you swallow it; you may even want to swish it around. This allows the water to reach all over the inside of your mouth, helping to make you feel hydrated again. You may even want to brush your teeth after you are done smoking if the feeling is getting too annoying for you.

At the end of the day, smoking is not dehydrating you. The compounds in the cannabis are simply blocking your saliva receptors- which causes them to stop producing it. You should do your best to stay hydrated, but do not over hydrate yourself by chugging water when you experience cotton mouth.


Dry mouth can happen to anyone. In fact, it happens often to those who smoke cannabis. If you are tired of experiencing cotton mouth every time that you smoke, you may need to keep a water bottle or some hard candy nearby. 

This side effect is not dangerous to your health, although it can cause problems with your teeth if you let it go for too long. Dry mouth is caused by the chemical compounds in cannabis blocking the receptors that are responsible for your saliva production.

If you have any questions- make sure to ask us! We would love to answer you and help you with anything that you may need. To summarize- you may just need to drink more water next time you smoke!


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