CBD Oil Cause Dry Mouth

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Are you a cannabis user trying to get rid of a dry mouth? Here is the scientific reasoning behind cotton mouth syndrome and some remedies to fix it. You have probably heard of the benefits surrounding CBD, but what are the potential side effects you ought to be aware of? Do CBD supplements leave an unpleasant dryness in your mouth? Here’s why it happens and what you can do about this constant dry and pasty mouth sensation.

Cannabis & Dry Mouth: Why It Happens and How to Solve It

Using cannabis and having a dry mouth seem to go hand in hand. Whether you call it dry mouth, cotton mouth or pasty mouth, it can be quite annoying! But do cannabis users just have to put up with it? Or is there a way to get rid of it? Here’s a look into studies that show probable causes, and what cannabis users can do to avoid a constant dry mouth.

Cannabis users all over the world are sure to be familiar with that sticky, dry, pasty sensation that affects the mouth after smoking cannabis. In fact, it is so inevitable that people rarely question the mechanism at work behind this strange little phenomenon—except for a handful of researchers who believe they know why it happens.

How is saliva formed?

First, we should take a brief look at the process of saliva production. It appears that saliva formation involves a two-stage process. Initially, specialised cells known as acinar cells secrete a fluid that is similar in composition to plasma. This fluid then passes through the salivary ducts on its way to the oral cavity, and as it does so, sodium and chloride are removed from it and potassium and bicarbonate are added to it. This process is what produces the final ‘hypotonic solution’ that is secreted into the mouth.

Secretion of saliva is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). The PSNS is responsible for various metabolic processes related to food intake, appetite, and anticipation of eating.

Receptors in the salivary glands are activated via impulses from the chorda tympani nerve. This important nerve originates in the taste buds before travelling through the submandibular ganglion (the cluster of nerve cells in the submandibular gland) and on to the brain. The chorda tympani nerve releases a compound known as acetylcholine, which is one of the body’s main saliva-stimulating substances and works directly on the receptors of the submandibular gland.

Another important compound involved in salivary secretions is known as norepinephrine. This compound is released by the preganglionic nerves that lie upstream from the submandibular ganglion. It works directly on the myoepithelial cells that surround the acinar cells by causing them to contract, which then leads to the secretion of saliva.

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CB-receptors in the salivary glands

Several studies show that cannabis use can cause oral dryness. In 1986, a study into the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) noted that the side-effects of administration of oral CBD included dry mouth. Since then, several other studies have also observed cannabinoid-induced oral dryness. The scientific name for oral dryness is xerostomia.

Perhaps the most in-depth study on cannabis-induced xerostomia to date was performed by researchers at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2006. The researchers found that cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 are present in the submandibular glands, which lie beneath the floor of the mouth and are responsible for producing 60-67% of the saliva.

The researchers found that the endocannabinoid agonist anandamide (AEA) binds with high affinity to the glandular cannabinoid receptors and blocks the action of the saliva-inducing compounds norepinephrine and methacholine, leading to a decrease in the secretion of saliva.

As mentioned above, these saliva-inducing compounds are part of the normal working of the parasympathetic nervous system. THC is also an agonist of the CB receptors, and is likely to affect the receptors of the submandibular glands in a similar manner.

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The fundamental role of the endocannabinoid system

Interestingly, the Buenos Aires study also concluded that the role of the endocannabinoid system is not limited to blocking signals at the submandibular glands themselves. The nervous impulses that are expressed via the chorda tympani also originate in the brain.

The researchers hypothesized that intravenous administration of cannabinoids via the femoral vein not only exerted their primary effect via the submandibular glands, but may also have acted on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain itself. They argued that a central nervous system mechanism helps to control production of saliva at glandular level.

The fact that the endocannabinoid system is so fundamentally involved with the inhibition of salivary secretions implies that it also has a role to play in causing the production of saliva. If an agonist or antagonist of the cannabinoid receptors inhibits salivation, it is likely that an inverse agonist such as the synthetic cannabinoid AM-251 may cause a reversal of this effect and an increase in salivation.

Indeed, the Buenos Aires study also demonstrated that the presence of AM-251 partly reversed the effect of AEA (although there appears to be a lack of consensus as to whether AM-251 is an antagonist or an inverse agonist).

How to get rid of dry mouth after cannabis use

Experiencing a dry mouth and throat after cannabis use is extremely common, and often it does not take much cannabis to induce this effect. However, during a heavy session, the dry-mouth effect can often increase until it becomes extremely unpleasant.

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If experiencing unpleasant cotton mouth, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate it. A few of these include:

  • Stay hydrated! This will mitigate the issue to some extent
  • Chew gum – This can also help, as the action of chewing stimulates the salivary glands to produce more saliva
  • Use ice cubes or lollies to suck on, which can also help keep saliva flowing
  • Similarly, foods that require decisive chewing such as dried fruit or beef jerky can also help stimulate the production of saliva

For more complete relief, using a demulcent (a substance that coats a mucous membrane with a moist ‘film’) designed for oral use should suffice. Many different prescription medications can cause users to experience dry mouth, so there are numerous oral demulcents commercially available to combat the problem.

In the future, research into the specific nature of the endocannabinoid system and how it controls the process of salivation may yield targeted products that can reverse the effect of xerostomia. This would benefit not just those who have smoked a little too much cannabis, but also individuals suffering from a range of conditions (or taking certain medications) that cause a permanent state of cotton mouth.

This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your doctor or other licensed medical professional. Do not delay seeking medical advice or disregard medical advice due to something you have read on this website.

The Potential Side Effects of CBD

Wendy Rose Gould is a lifestyle reporter with over a decade of experience covering health and wellness topics.

Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Verywell Mind content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more.

Karen Cilli is a fact-checker for Verywell Mind. She has an extensive background in research, with 33 years of experience as a reference librarian and educator.

Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

Generally speaking, CBD is considered a safe substance when applied topically or taken orally. There are, however, some potential side effects to keep in mind when using this substance, the majority of which are mild.

Common Side Effects of CBD

The most comment side effects of CBD include drowsiness, gastrointestinal issues, dry mouth, reduced appetite, nausea, and interaction with other medications. Those are outlined in detail below.

Drowsiness

Some common side effects when using CBD include drowsiness and sedation. This is also considered a benefit, but Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and chief medical officer for a CBD brand, notes that the effects might be too strong if you’re also taking CBD with other sedating medications.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Some people may get diarrhea or liver problems [when using CBD]. This is dependent on the individual and their medical history, so monitoring is important,” says Dr. Matharu-Daley.

Dry Mouth

Also known as “cotton mouth,” CBD can potentially cause your mouth and eyes to feel very dry. Though this side effect is more likely to occur with THC, it can happen with CBD as well.

Can Interact With Other Medications

CBD might interfere with the other medications you take. Dr. Matharu-Daley says it’s important to talk to your doctor about whether CBD could affect your existing prescriptions.

Nausea

In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea, says Dr. Matharu-Daley. This depends on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest.

Because CBD supplements come in so many different forms—such as oils, gummies, tinctures, and vapors—the amount that’s actually absorbed can vary drastically. This, combined with each person, will ultimately affect which (if any) CBD side effects you might experience.

What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.

CBD is one of the many chemical compounds that is found in the cannabis plant—referred to as cannabis sativa. There are two primary parts of the plant that humans use. One is THC, or Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and the other is CBD. Though they’re from the same plant, THC and CBD are quite different from each other.

“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.

Are There Any Benefits Associated With Using CBD?

There are several reasons why someone might want to use CBD. The substance can be found in a multitude of products ranging from pain-relieving creams to edible tinctures to skincare. Research is still underway, but over the last few decades scientists have become more aware of how CBD might be beneficial when applied either topically or ingested.

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“Since discovering the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body in the 1990s, CBD has been researched more extensively. The ECS is a central regulatory system restoring normal balance and homeostasis in a range of human physiologic systems throughout the body and brain and has cannabinoid receptors and chemicals in its function,” explains Dr. Matharu-Daley.

CBD benefits include the following:

  • CBD can have positive impact on the brain. In fact, Dr. Matharu-Daley says that the substance is legally prescribed in a specific medication for certain severe forms of epilepsy in children.
  • It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why you often see CBD in topical products such as oils, creams, and lotions.
  • Some research points to CBD’s ability to relieve stress and anxiety.
  • It has been used as a nausea treatment in some countries.
  • CBD may potentially reduce pain symptoms.
  • It has antioxidant properties, which means it can help fight off free radical damages that leads to premature aging.
  • Regarding skincare, CBD may help reduce excessive oil production in those with very oily skin types.

Ultimately, the primary reasons why people use CBD is because it tends to have calming, relaxing, pain-reducing effects. It has been used to alleviate joint pain and nerve pain, reduce anxiety and stress, treat insomnia, improve migraines, and address nausea.

CBD Is Still an Unregulated Substance

It’s important to point out that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore dosages might not be accurate. It’s also difficult to know what an appropriate dose is the first time you try a new product.

“If the CBD is from a reputable source and one that has been inspected by a third-party independent lab, the content of CBD is more reliable,” notes Dr. Matharu-Daley. “The CBD should be organically grown, free of pesticides and heavy metals, and not sourced in food which can affect absorption. Generally, CBD is safe and side effects are few at low doses.”

A Word From Verywell

CBD is technically an unregulated substance in the United States and therefore it ought to be used with caution. This is especially important for those taking additional medications and/or those with ongoing medical issues. That said, preliminary research on CBD and its benefits are promising in relation to helping with mild to moderate health concerns and it is generally considered a safe substance. Health professionals do not consider CBD a cure-all for serious medical issues, including cancer.

As with any sort of supplement, we recommend speaking to your medical doctor about whether using CBD makes sense for you. Your doctor can also recommend certain products that align with your needs and help ensure you get the correct dosage.

Can CBD Cause Dry Mouth?

Do CBD supplements leave an unpleasant dryness in your mouth? Here’s why it happens and what you can do about this constant dry and pasty mouth sensation.

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From pills to gummies, CBD is gaining popularity due to its seemingly endless health benefits. Though CBD products are considered safe for human consumption, it comes with a few side effects.

Whether you consume CBD for medicinal or recreational purposes, these products often result in a dry mouth or what’s known as cottonmouth. Here’s why it happens and what you can do about it.

Table of Contents

Why Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth (CottonMouth)?

Though CBD causes minimal side effects, it’s impossible to disregard the fact that this cannabis product is responsible for the most common adverse effect – dry mouth.

For some, dry mouth can last for a couple of hours or until the effects of the CBD wear off.

Cannabis Affects the Salivary Glands

The dry sensation occurs when the CBD products inhibit the secretion of saliva in the mouth.

The CBD oil alters how the salivary glands respond and prevent them from secreting the regularly required amount of saliva in the mouth. This results in irritability and pain on the tongue and mouth, making you feel more thirsty.

Presence of Impurities

Impure CBD can contain toxic byproducts, causing severe health hazards. These impurities can irritate the mouth and lungs, leading to cottonmouth or irritation of the mouth and throat.

If you’re experiencing severe dry mouth, itchiness, or swelling of your mouth and throat — visit a doctor immediately; this is not a normal side effect of CBD.

Incorrect Dosage

Numerous food safety agencies have advised users not to exceed 80 – 90 mg of CBD daily for healthy adults. Exceeding this can cause side effects like cottonmouth.

Smoking

Different CBD forms result in various side effects. For instance, smoking or dabbing CBD can damage your lungs and cause sore throat, severe coughing, and dryness in the mouth for some users.

Using Sprays & Tinctures

CBD-infused sprays and tinctures are applied directly into the mouth and quickly reach the salivary glands, causing dry mouth.

Using these CBD forms more frequently can cause an unpleasant stinging sensation and burns, in some cases.

Vape Inhalation

Vaping CBD is much safer than smoking as it produces less toxic byproducts. However, the thinning agents and flavoring additives used in vaping oil pose serious health hazards.

When vaped, these harmful additives may result in cottonmouth, severe cough, and lung injuries for some users.

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What Can I Do About Dry Mouth From CBD?

Experiencing dryness in the mouth and throat after ingesting CBD is quite common. It often doesn’t take much CBD consumption to induce this adverse effect. Heavy CBD users may experience a constant dry mouth effect, which can be highly annoying.

Preventing cottonmouth is better than having to combat it when it happens. Here are a few remedies that can help de-escalate this unpleasant experience before it escalates.

1. Stay Hydrated

The best way to reduce or prevent the offset of cottonmouth while using CBD oil is to consume plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Also, drinking other hydrating liquids immediately before, during, and after consuming CBD can help mitigate this annoying issue to a certain extent. Drinking warm herbal teas can keep you hydrated and prevent an irritated or sore throat.

2. Increase Saliva Production

Using toothpaste and lozenges that promote saliva production can help mouth dryness. Sucking on hard candies or lollipops is also helpful. Taking demulcent cough drops will create a moist film coating on the mucous membranes and prevent dryness in the throat and mouth.

3. Chew Gum

Opting for CBD-infused chewing gum is one of the best and innovative ways to include this supplement in your diet. The CBD gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries present in your tongue. Most natural CBD gum supplements do not contain artificial ingredients and are flavored with peppermint essential oil and xylitol.

Another method to effectively cure cottonmouth is by chewing gums that contain xylitol. This natural sugar helps stimulate the salivary glands and increases the production of saliva in the mouth.

These CBD chewing gums are available in different potencies, so stick to the recommended dosage to avoid this effect.

4. Try Another Form of CBD

When using CBD, opt for topical or oral consumption instead of vape or smoke inhalation. Numerous CBD products are available that do not require vaping or smoking. This protects your lungs and prevents harmful components like carbon monoxide from infiltrating your bloodstream.

Ingesting CBD capsules, oils, and edibles is less harmful and prevent dryness in the mouth and sore throat. Also, CBD gels, lotions, balms, and creams can prevent CBD from causing the dry effect in the mouth, as it only acts on the site of application.

5. Eat Fruit

Fresh citrus fruits like orange, pineapple, or lemon can help eliminate dry mouth. Some individuals claim that drinking pineapple juice has helped. However, you can try different fruit juices to find out which one is effective for you.

Chewing on dry fruits, beef jerky, or sucking ice cubes will also help stimulate saliva production and keep your mouth well hydrated, reducing this side effect to a great extent.

Other Side Effects of CBD

Though CBD has a good tolerance and side effect profile, it’s not free from adverse effects. Generally, CBD products are considered safe for oral consumption or topical application. In some cases, it can cause mild side effects.

Patients on medications such as blood thinners need to be careful as CBD can interact with different medicines and cause adverse reactions.

Here are some of the most common side effects of CBD.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Some users experience indigestion or diarrhea while consuming CBD.

This unfortunate symptom happens when the oil affects the gastrointestinal tract, leading to diarrhea. Such individuals need to monitor their medical history while using CBD.

Drowsiness

Since CBD is an excellent treatment for insomnia, it’s no surprise that users experience sedation or drowsiness while taking CBD products. It’s advisable to adjust your schedule and try taking it before bed.

Low Blood Pressure

Consuming higher doses of CBD can lower blood pressure. This can be risky for individuals diagnosed with low blood pressure or those on medication for high blood pressure.

When this happens, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded. Drink plenty of fluids and lie down to help stabilize blood pressure if this happens to you.

Avoid moving around too much. If you faint, you could seriously injure yourself or others.

Nausea

Some users may feel nauseous while ingesting CBD products. This varies based on the amount of CBD you consume and how sensitive your body is to CBD oil.

Summary: Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth?

CBD can cause dry mouth but be it over-the-counter or prescribed, CBD supplements can cause adverse reactions if not used as recommended. Usually, the benefits and side effects of CBD are unique for each individual.

Adjusting your dose, chewing gum, eating fruit, and staying hydrated are just a few ways you can help or prevent cottonmouth.

As the body type of each individual is different, the cure won’t look the same for everyone. What works perfectly for one CBD user may not function the same for another. You need to consult your physician before you start consuming CBD supplements daily to minimize unwanted risks.

To avoid severe side effects from impure CBD, purchase your CBD supplements from a certified source. This is the only way you know your product is pure, potent, and will give you the benefits you’re after.

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