Read to learn about why cannabis users experience this cotton mouth undesired effect and how it may be prevented. Cannabis (CBD) consumption is currently legal for medicinal purposes widely in the UK, provided it has been EU-approved. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in marijuana that does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant that produces a certain high. Anecdotally CBD oil side effects have been reported along with the generally accepted analysis qualifying CBD oil as a safe alternative medicine.
Cannabis & Cotton Mouth: What Causes It & How to Avoid It
Most who use cannabis have heard of or have experienced cotton mouth (dryness of the mouth) as a side effect, but many do not understand why it happens. Scientists have recently begun to shed light on the causes and cures for cotton mouth. Read on to learn about why cannabis users experience this undesired effect and how it may be prevented !
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The Science Behind Cotton Mouth
Before the onset of cannabis legalization that led to the wide selection of products seen in dispensaries today, recreational smoking was the primary method of use. In those times, many believed cotton mouth was caused by the thick smoke that resulted from burning cannabis. However, as users began vaping as an alternative to smoking, cotton mouth remained to be a side effect. As capsules, oils, and gummies began to make an appearance, those products also carried with them the same results. The question behind why cotton mouth occurs could only be answered when scientists began to study the problem .
Dry mouth as a side effect of consuming cannabis is fairly common, and most refer to it as “cottonmouth,” though the scientific name for dry mouth is “xerostomia.” In 2006, Juan Pablo Prestifilippo and his colleagues at the Centro de Estudios Farmacologicos y Botanicos in Buenos Aires searched for potential causes of cotton mouth, specifically, a decrease in saliva secretion. The team theorized that there are cannabinoid receptors located in the salivary glands which are responsible for this effect. Experiments on male rats determined receptors CB 1 and CB 2 were present in specific locations of the submandibular gland – a salivary gland in rats. It was discovered that the cannabinoid anandamide attaches to these receptors, resulting in hyposalivation (decreased saliva output) .
Olga Kopach and Juliana Vats at The State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Kiev found that normally, the cells of saliva glands use the endocannabinoid system to signal feedback that inhibits the over accumulation of saliva in the mouth. When a person consumes cannabinoids, receptors CB 1 and CB 2 bring about a significant drop in saliva production, causing the mouth to feel dry. Kopach also reported findings that these receptors behave differently at the cellular level. “CB 1 receptors predominantly modulate the flow of saliva, while CB 2 receptors seem to influence consistency and content of saliva (such as sodium levels) . . . Cells in the salivary glands can synthesize anandamide” . Dry mouth from consuming cannabis does not cause dehydration throughout the rest of the body, which is why it does not cause the type of hangover some experience from alcohol consumption. Interestingly, what scientists have learned about how the salivary glands and cannabinoids interact could lead to new therapies for those who experience complications with salivation .
Is Cotton Mouth Dangerous to Health?
A collection of research out of the Department of Periodontology at the Academic Centre of Dentistry in Amsterdam suggests that with increased cannabis use 4 , oral health is a concern. The researchers stated that providers of oral health care need to be more aware of the potentially chronic side effects associated with dry mouth from cannabis consumption. Mainly, these are:
- Leukoedema – “A white or whitish-gray edematous lesion of the buccal and labial oral mucosa” .
- Candida Albicans – A type of yeast present in microbes on the skin (including inside the mouth) and gastrointestinal tract that is healthy at normal levels but harmful when multiplied. In that case, it becomes known as thrush, or Candida overgrowth .
- Periodontal Disease – An infection of the gums that can cause bad breath, swollen or red gums, bleeding or tender gums, pain when chewing, loss of teeth, sensitive teeth, and receding gums .
- Tooth Decay and Cavities8
Saliva lubricates the mouth so that we can taste food, swallow, and speak. It also protects the mouth, throat, and teeth from bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. As such, saliva levels that are consistently low become a risk factor for tooth decay, cavities, periodontal disease, and even tooth loss . Less serious side effects include: feeling thirsty, hoarseness, sore throat, tingling in the mouth, a raw or red tongue, cracked lips, mouth sores, and skin that is split in the mouth . While marijuana is not the only medicine that may result in xerostomia, hyposalivation is typically solved when the user stops taking the problem medication, such as with radiation treatments for cancer patients. On the other hand, those who consume cannabis tend to do so frequently and consistently over longer periods of time. Understanding ways to prevent or cure cotton mouth is key to avoiding these harmful side effects .
How to Prevent Cotton Mouth
The American Dental Association encourages consumers of cannabis to maintain regular visits with a dentist, chew sugar-free gum, and maintain a regimen of teeth brushing at least two times per day using fluoride-enriched toothpaste. Some other health professionals have suggested a reduction in citrus-based foods and alcohol-based breath sprays, beverages, and mouth wash because they can dry the mouth. Some drug stores carry gums and sprays that help keep the mouth moist and are a good idea for those who consume cannabis on a regular basis or who tend to experience cotton mouth . Gum chewing helps by preventing signals from the endocannabinoid system that limit saliva production.
Another obvious cure for dry mouth is to drink water, especially while consuming cannabis. While it may be tempting to have a refreshing beer or wine, those beverages contain tannins that can further dry the mouth. Some fruit juices and teas may also contribute to the problem. The important part is to sip on water throughout the day or before, during, and after cannabis consumption. Even drinking water will not be as effective once dry mouth has set in. Some prefer to eat crushed ice as a means to break up the monotony of drinking water .
In an article published by American Marijuana titled, “Cannabis & Cotton Mouth – Get Rid of Marijuana Dry Mouth,” Dwight Blake provides the following additional remedies for cotton mouth:
Can CBD cause dry mouth and what are the possible remedies?
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Can CBD cause dry mouth and what are the possible remedies?
- 4 min read
Cannabis (CBD) consumption is currently legal for medicinal purposes widely in the UK, provided it has been EU-approved. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in marijuana that does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant that produces a certain high. Anecdotally, prescription cannabidiol oil has been identified by numerous researches to be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, and dental anxiety. This claim has been backed by the Harvard Medical School that reiterates its health benefits.
Currently, the only CBD (derived from an industrial hemp strain) that has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a prescription cannabidiol oral solution called Epidyolex. Although CBD usage has been seeing a persistently rise of users, it cannot be disregarded that cannabis or CBD may be responsible for one of the most common and potentially deteriorative oral problems, dry mouth.
Is CBD safe to use?
The use of CBD oil is typically advocated by the pharmaceuticals as a health supplement. The NCBI published a review paper on the safety and side effects of cannabidiol that demonstrates that controlled CBD administration is safe and non-toxic in humans and animals. It also does not induce changes in food intake nor does it affect physiological parameters like heart rate, body temperature, or blood pressure. High doses up to 1,600 mg/day of CBD has been reportedly well-tolerated in humans.
Furthermore, CBD is generally not habit-forming. According to a report by the World Health Organization, “CBD appears to have little effect on conditioned place preference or intracranial self-stimulation… [It] exhibits no effect indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
Does CBD cause dry mouth?
CBD has been condemned by many to be a prime culprit of dry mouth. A common complaint among cannabis users is the unpleasant feeling of dry or sticky mouth, often referred to as cottonmouth or “the pasties” that does not go away. Cottonmouth (also known as dry mouth or clinically called xerostomia) is usually not a major issue when you limit the use of cannabis. However, the intensity of oral health problems may significantly rise with the increased intake of cannabis.
Some of the commonly occurring symptoms of cottonmouth are:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Persistent thirst
- Hoarseness of voice and sore throat
- Inflamed, red tongue
- Cracked lips
- Tingling or burning sensation in the mouth
- Red, swollen, tender, bleeding gums (gingivitis)
- Sores at the corners of the mouth
- Mouth ulcers and canker sores
The science behind CBD-induced dry mouth
Originally dry mouth associated with CBD consumption was attributed to the harsh smoke irrigating the permeable oral membranes to cause irritation and decreased salivary flow, but upon rigorous studies, it has been understood that the natural response of the salivary glands to CBD components factors in much of the cause for dry mouth. Cannabinoids, the active components in cannabis, interacts with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a complex biological network of receptors and neurotransmitters distributed all over the body. The ECS regulates different cognitive and physiological processes in the body.
Our submandibular salivary glands (located under the jaw bone) are responsible for 70% of healthy saliva production in the mouth. These glands contain cannabinoid receptors to which cannabinoids begin to bind when you imbibe cannabis or CBD. This prevents your ECS from communicating to your parasympathetic nervous system to institute active saliva production. This causes poor saliva production in the mouth with the use of CBD.
Remedies of dry mouth
Cannabis frequenters may be used to feeling a little parched when smoking or doing edibles. However, proper caution must be taken to de-escalate this seemingly minute dental issue before it proliferates into something critical.
American Marijuana published an article directing CBD users to follow these remedies for cottonmouth:
- Sip water, ideally through a straw to keep yourself hydrated.
- Chew St Andrew’s Trust xylitol infused dry mouth chewing gum to stimulate saliva production.
- Chew on dry fruits, citrus fruits, or beef jerky to increase saliva production.
- Use lozenges and toothpaste that promote saliva production. Try St Andrew’s Trust Dry Mouth Lozenges or toothpaste to get rid of your dry mouth.
- Suck on a lollipop, take a cough drop, or some hard candy.
- Try demulcent cough drops that coat the mucous membranes with a moist film to prevent the feeling of dry mouth.
- Drink herbal teas to rid yourself of a sore or irritated throat.
Avoid these foods if you have dry mouth
- Black and green teas (anything containing caffeine) can dry your mouth further
- Salty crackers and snacks may worsen cottonmouth
- Alcohol causes dehydration, further drying out the mouth
- Tobacco products can lead to lowered saliva production
In the wake of the booming cannabis market, many experts advise CBD users to take stringent actions against dry mouth caused by CBD to mitigate the condition. Be wary that today’s minor inconveniences may become tomorrow’s major headaches if you choose to do nothing. The American Dental Association also encourages all CBD consumers to visit the dentist regularly and maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day with St Andrew’s Trust dry mouth ingredients and fluoride enriched toothpaste.
CBD Oil Side Effects, What you Need to Know
There are a lot of positive stories in the news about CBD oil providing relief to people who suffer from chronic pain and other serious conditions. The available research shows that some CBD oil side effects have been reported along with the generally accepted analysis qualifying CBD oil as a safe alternative to more traditional chronic pain therapies.
Studies confirm these side effects to be fairly common and not categorized as serious. In fact, to date, there has never been a CBD oil related fatality. One thing to consider about side effects is that they aren’t always bad. For example, if the side effect of a drug is drowsiness but the patient needs something to induce sleep, that would be a positive outcome of that side effect.
CBD Oil Can Make you Drowsy
Clearly more analysis of the effects of CBD oil on human subjects is needed to confirm initial health-related assumptions. The limited information indicated CBD may increase the activity of existing drugs in the system and an increase in liver enzymes was reported in 10 percent of the human study subjects. Further, we have learned that the most common side effect of CBD oil is drowsiness. Some people use CBD oil specifically seeking this outcome to relieve pain, so for them, it’s a positive thing. However, CBD oil users should always keep this in mind before taking it and refrain from driving, or operating machinery during treatment.
Other commonly reported side effects of CBD oil are dry mouth (cottonmouth), diarrhea, change in appetite, low blood pressure, and lightheadedness. Side effects can increase or decrease according to the dose and the amount of THC present in the formula. High THC formulas may be related to increased anxiety and or depression in some people. Taking a high CBD low THC (20:1) formula will reduce the probability of experiencing this particular side effect because CBD is capable of counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC.
Potential Benefits Outweigh Side Effects
Cannabis science tells us that the benefit of CBD oil to the human body far outweighs the negligible side effects people report experiencing. It’s also important to note that side effects can be managed by adjusting the dose or aborting treatment.
Precisely formulated products exist that allow patients to experience the healing potential of cannabinoid compounds, terpenes, and synergy but none of the psychoactive response. A quality CBD oil only needs a small amount of THC to become active with the endocannabinoid receptors in the human body. This trace amount of THC, though necessary, is not enough to cause the anxiety that some people report when using CBD oil.
Learn Before you Make a CBD Oil Purchase
Seek guidance from your local dispensary when sourcing the right CBD oil formula for your particular needs. Experienced staff can explain the dosing and product labels. They can introduce you to a variety of lab-tested and compliant products that other patients have already had positive experiences with. The more you learn about CBD oil the less CBD oil side effects you’ll have to encounter.