Does CBD Gummies Give You Dry Mouth

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Some people believe CBD oil is safe and well-tolerated. Read about the side effects you can expect and what to be aware of. Ever wondered why CBD causes the dry mouth effect? This article explains why it happens and how to deal with dry mouth after taking CBD oil. 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

7 CBD Oil Side Effects You Should Watch Out For

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CBD oil is believed to be generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is not free of side effects. Read on to learn which adverse effects you should watch out for when using CBD oil, how the delivery form influences them, and what you can do to reduce your risk.

CBD Oil Side Effects

First, it is important to remember that CBD oil is considered experimental and investigational and far more clinical studies are needed before we can make any firm conclusions about its supposed benefits [1].

Similarly, it’s an insufficiently investigated supplement with a relatively unknown safety profile. The list of side effects listed in this article is, therefore, not a definite one.

So, make sure to speak with your doctor before starting on a CBD oil regimen.

With the recent legalization of CBD oil in many states worldwide, its popularity is booming and people are taking it for not only its FDA-approved use for seizures, but also conditions such as [2]:

An advantage of CBD oil is that it’s considered generally safer and causes fewer adverse effects than the drugs typically used for these conditions. Chronic doses of up to 1500 mg/day were tolerated well in multiple studies [3+, 4].

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t cause behavioral and psychological side effects. What’s more, it may even reduce some of them such as anxiety, psychosis, and memory loss [5, 6, 7, 8].

CBD oil is believed to cause fewer side effects than THC and most prescription drugs, even at high doses.

Nevertheless, there are some potential side effects of CBD oil that you should watch out for. Below is a detailed overview of the most common ones.

1) Dry Mouth

Whether you use them for recreational or medicinal purposes, cannabis products will often make your mouth feel as if it were stuffed with cotton balls. Almost 12% of 1500 people responding to a survey about CBD use experienced dry mouth, making it the most common adverse effect [2].

Stimulation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the salivary glands reduces saliva secretion, which makes the mouth feel dry. The well-known cannabis compound THC activates these receptors directly. In turn, CBD raises the levels of an activator naturally produced in the body – the cannabinoid anandamide [9, 10, 11, 12].

2) Digestive Issues

Both CBD oil supplements and the FDA-approved CBD medicine Epidiolex have been reported to cause digestive issues such as [2, 4]:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased or reduced appetite
  • Weight loss or gain

Because preliminary research suggests that CBD improves rather than causes nausea and diarrhea, these effects most likely result from the irritating effects of other ingredients (e.g., carrier oils) on the bowels [13, 14, 15].

Alternatively, the loose regulation of supplements may allow for excessive CBD levels in products or harmful contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents [16+, 17].

In turn, the endocannabinoid system has a role in promoting appetite. The mixed effects of CBD on appetite and weight seen in different studies may be due to its dual effect: it blocks the CB1 and CB2 receptors but boosts the levels of their activator anandamide [18, 19, 11].

If you experience digestive issues from using CBD oil, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend reducing the dose or shifting to another brand.

Contaminants and additives are likely responsible for the digestive side effects of low-quality CBD oil: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite and weight changes.

3) Drowsiness and Fatigue

People taking CBD oil often report feeling sleepy and tired. Indeed, this side effect was observed in early clinical trials and one of the most common uses of CBD oil is to improve sleep disorders [20+].

If the symptoms are very severe, you shouldn’t drive or operate heavy machinery.

The effect of CBD on sleep seems to be biphasic: high doses may increase sleeping time, lower amounts may promote wakefulness. Additionally, levels of endocannabinoid receptors depend on the circadian rhythm. This may explain why CBD tends to cause drowsiness later in the day but has the opposite effect in the morning [21, 22, 23].

CBD oil may make you feel sleepy, especially if you take high doses at night. Low morning doses, on the contrary, seem to increase wakefulness.

4) Dizziness

High doses of CBD lowered blood pressure in a small trial on 9 people. In turn, THC seems to have a more complex effect: it slightly raises blood pressure in people lying down but increases the risk of sudden blood pressure drops when standing up [24, 25+].

As a result, a common adverse effect of CBD – both alone and with equal amounts of THC (nabiximols) – is feeling dizzy and light-headed [26, 27, 28].

If your blood pressure drops too much, you may faint. The risk is especially high in people diagnosed with low blood pressure or on blood pressure medications – such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and beta-blockers. These people should be especially cautious with CBD oil and never try it out without discussing it with their doctor.

CBD oil, alone or with THC, may reduce blood pressure. This can make you feel dizzy and light-headed, especially if you are prone to blood pressure drops.

5) Possible Liver Damage

Several trials testing CBD for seizures found possible liver damage (high transaminases ALT and AST) in 9-25% of the people. The risk increased with the dose and was highest in people also taking the anti-seizure drug valproate, which is known to cause liver injuries [29+, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34].

Similarly, CBD caused signs of liver toxicity (high transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin) in mice and dogs. However, the doses were generally higher than those used in human trials [35, 36, 37].

Make sure to talk to your doctor, especially if you are taking valproate, and never exceed the recommended CBD oil dose to reduce your risk of liver damage.

CBD oil may cause liver damage at very high doses and in people prescribed the anti-seizure drug valproate.

6) Irritability

CBD is often used to curb anxiety, although research suggests it has “inverted U-shaped” effects: moderate doses, but not low or high amounts, may be effective for a range of anxiety disorders and stressful situations [38, 39].

In contrast, very high doses may even trigger anxiety and irritability. This was the case in 7-9% of the children in 2 clinical trials using CBD for seizures and autism [40, 41].

The effect probably involves the TRPV1 receptor, the activation of which increases the brain’s response to stressful situations [42].

CBD boosts the naturally-produced cannabinoid anandamide. While moderate anandamide levels activate CB1 receptors and curb anxiety, high amounts may worsen it by binding to TRPV1. CBD also activates this receptor directly, further contributing to the potential anxiety-triggering effects [43, 44, 11, 45].

7) Immune Suppression

CBD may reduce the immune response. It prevents T cells from dividing, migrating to inflammation sites, and producing pro-inflammatory cytokines. This may be beneficial in people with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis [46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52].

The downside of blocking the immune response is that it may make people with weakened immune systems more prone to infections. Thus, people on immunosuppressants or with conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and Down syndrome might want to avoid it [53].

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CBD oil seems to reduce the immune response, which may make people with a weak immune system more prone to infections.

Kidney Health

CBD didn’t damage the kidneys in clinical trials. In fact, researchers believed it protected against kidney injury and inflammation in numerous animal studies [54, 55, 56, 57, 58]. Remember that larger and better designed clinical trials are needed before these findings are conclusive.

Though more clinical trials are needed, the current evidence suggests CBD oil will not harm your kidneys at normal doses.

On the other hand, people with kidney disease should probably avoid THC-containing medical marijuana without consulting a doctor.

According to a recent review, THC may worsen kidney health and increase urination by activating CB1 receptors. Remember that, unlike THC, CBD blocks these receptors. However, CBD may indirectly activate them by increasing anandamide levels in the body [59+].

Lastly, avoid synthetic cannabinoids at all costs (products like “spice” and “K2” sold in smoke shops). These chemicals caused sudden and severe kidney injury in several cases [59+].

Unlike THC and synthetic cannabinoids, CBD oil probably does not cause side effects on the kidneys; some researchers believe it might even be protective.

Are You at Risk of CBD Oil Side Effects?

Risk Populations

CBD altered the levels of two drug transporters in placental cells. This suggests that taking CBD oil during pregnancy may increase the exposure of the fetus to any drugs that the mother takes. Pregnant women should avoid CBD oil in any case, since safety data are lacking [60].

Taking THC-containing CBD oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding is particularly dangerous, since THC may reduce growth and cause brain developmental anomalies in babies [61+].

Because there are no studies testing its safety in children below 2 years old, it’s better to avoid giving them CBD oil unless prescribed by a doctor.

CBD is thought to be safe in older children, but they may be more sensitive to THC and toxic contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides than adults. Be sure to use high-quality, THC-free CBD in children and consult the doctor first.

Pregnant women and children under 2 years old should avoid CBD oil due to the lack of safety data; THC during pregnancy is known to be dangerous.

Drug Interactions

Most drugs are broken down by liver enzymes. Among them, cytochrome (CYP) P450 plays a key role. A single CBD dose blocks several CYP enzymes, such as:

By doing so, it may slow the breakdown of several drugs and enhance their effects [62, 63, 64, 65, 66].

Indeed, CBD reduced the breakdown of the sedative hexobarbital, the anti-seizure drug clobazam, and the blood thinner warfarin in humans. It had the same effect on the immunosuppressant cyclosporin and the cannabis compound THC in cells [67, 68, 69, 70].

On the other hand, repeated CBD doses can increase the levels of some enzymes of this group and reduce the effects of the drugs they break down [71, 72, 73, 74].

Plus, CBD itself is broken down by CYP enzymes, especially by CYP34A and CYP2C19. Drugs that block these enzymes (such as ketoconazole and ritonavir) will enhance its effects, while those that activate them (such as phenobarbital and rifampicin) will have the opposite effect [75, 4].

If you are on prescription medication and plan to use CBD oil, ask your doctor about potential interactions and dose readjustment. Additionally, avoid combining CBD oil with grapefruit or other supplements that block the same liver enzymes (such as St John’s wort or watercress).

CBD oil can block or activate liver enzymes that metabolize drugs. This may increase the side effects of both CBD oil and the medication you’re taking.

How Does the Delivery Form Influence CBD Oil Side Effects?

While rapid-release forms (mouth sprays and oil tinctures) deliver CBD directly into your bloodstream, slow-release forms (capsules, edibles, and teas) have to pass your digestive system first. This means their ingredients may irritate your bowels and give you nausea and diarrhea [76+, 77].

However, rapid-release forms will release CBD faster, so you may experience both wanted and unwanted effects sooner [76+, 77].

And since tinctures and sprays are directly applied in the mouth, they will quickly reach the salivary glands and cause dry mouth. Mouth sprays may also cause a stinging sensation and even burns, especially if they contain alcohol [9, 78].

Capsules and edibles are more likely to cause digestive side effects, while mouth sprays and tinctures more frequently cause dry mouth.

Vapes

Vapes bypass the digestive system without irritating your bowels, but they may trigger the other adverse effects faster [76+, 77].

Vaping is considered safer than smoking cigarettes or joints because the oil is heated at lower temperatures that produce fewer toxic byproducts [76+ 79].

However, the additives used as flavorings and thinning agents in vaping oils may still pose some hazards. Although they are normally food-grade, they may release harmful compounds (including the cancer-causing formaldehyde) when vaporized. Their heavy use may lead to [80, 79, 81+]:

  • Cough
  • Dry throat
  • Lung injury
  • Fat particles entering the lungs (lipoid pneumonia – rare)

For instance, one man developed severe lung damage from vaping CBD oil [82+].

Creams & Gels

Creams and gels act locally on the application site and don’t release CBD into the gut or bloodstream. This means they will not cause most of the adverse effects previously described [76+].

However, they may cause allergic reactions with itching, redness, and rashes on the skin. It’s important to note that the reactions can be caused by either CBD or other ingredients in the formulation [83+, 84+].

How to Reduce Your Risk of Side Effects from CBD Oil

1) Drink More Water

The best way to reduce dry mouth when using CBD oil is to drink plenty of water and other hydrating liquids before, during, and after consumption.

2) Find Additive-Free Products

You can reduce the risk of digestive issues by choosing forms that bypass the gut and directly release CBD into your bloodstream such as vapes, mouth sprays, and oil tinctures. High-quality oils without additives may also irritate your bowels less.

3) Take it Before Sleep

If you feel drowsy or light-headed after taking CBD oil, you may need to reduce the dose or take it only before sleep.

4) Increase Wakefulness Naturally

Drinking coffee or tea will help you both stay awake and raise your blood pressure, but it also causes many side effects. Try to get more sunlight first thing in the morning, as it will energize you and help you get better sleep at night. We talk about other natural ways to increase wakefulness in this post.

5) Support Your Liver

Avoid combining CBD with the anti-seizure drug valproate. Additionally, make sure not to exceed the dose and regularly monitor your liver function to reduce your risk of liver damage. Eggs (choline), artichokes, NAC, and probiotics also support liver health. Read more foods and supplements that are good for the liver here.

6) Don’t Take Megadoses

Only very high CBD doses may cause irritability. Make sure not to exceed the dose and try reducing it if you notice this symptom.

7) Monitor Your Immune Response

If you have a weakened immune system, you should consult your doctor before taking CBD oil. You may need to avoid CBD or take a lower dose.

Additionally, you may also want to look into balancing your Th1/Th2 immune response. If you have a slightly weaker immune system and are prone to allergies, you are probably Th2-dominant.

To reduce your risk of CBD oil side effects, avoid products with additives, drink plenty of water, get sunlight during the day, and support your liver and gut health.

Takeaway

Always make sure to speak with your physician before starting on a CBD oil regimen.

CBD oil is thought to be safe and most people seem to tolerate it well.

Low-quality products may contain additives and toxins that can irritate the lungs when vaped and the gut when taken orally. Choose high-quality products to reduce your risk.

Additionally, CBD oil can make you feel drowsy and lightheaded. If you feel tired after taking CBD oil, lower your dose or use it only before sleep. Look to also increase your wakefulness naturally by getting more sunlight during the day.

High doses may damage the liver, but likely only in people taking the anti-seizure medication valproate. Monitor your liver enzymes and look into natural ways to protect your liver.

Avoid CBD oil if you have a weak immune system, as it might make you more prone to infection.

If you take prescription drugs, consult your doctor. Many drugs can interact with CBD oil and increase the risk of side effects.

Pregnant women and children should avoid CBD oil until more safety data are available.

Some people have genes that make them more likely to experience inflammation. Check out SelfDecode’s Inflammation DNA Wellness Report for genetic-based diet, lifestyle, and supplement tips that can help reduce inflammation levels. The recommendations are personalized based on YOUR DNA.

About the Author

Carlos Tello

Carlos spent 9 years in the laboratory investigating mineral transport in plants. He then started working as a freelancer, mainly in science writing, editing, and consulting. Carlos is passionate about learning the mechanisms behind biological processes and communicating science to both academic and non-academic audiences. He strongly believes that scientific literacy is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid falling for scams.

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Can CBD Oil Cause Dry Mouth?

Do you regularly experience dry mouth after taking CBD? You’re not alone.

In fact, this effect is common for all cannabinoids, not only for CBD. But does it mean that cannabis users just have to accept it and go on with their supplementation?

Or is there a way to minimize the dry mouth effect after using CBD oils and vapes?

There are at least a few ways to help you cope with the cottonmouth.

It’s just so common that hardly anyone is questioning the mechanism at work.

Today, we explain why CBD gives you the dry mouth feeling and how to cope with it using some simple tricks.

Why Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth (Cottonmouth)

Several factors can cause dry mouth after taking CBD oil or any cannabis-based product. This section holds the answer to the “why” behind the cottonmouth effect.

Cannabinoids Affect Salivary Glands

Several studies point to cannabis use as the reason for having a dry mouth. A 1986 study on the effects of CBD noted that the side effects of oral CBD included dry mouth.

Since then, a few other studies have investigated this effect. Oral dryness even has a scientific name — xerostomia.

Perhaps the most relevant study on CBD-induced oral dryness comes from the researchers at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2006. The authors found that cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) occur in the submandibular glands, which lie beneath the bottom of the mouth and are responsible for the secretion of 60-67% of the saliva (1).

The research team found that anandamide, which is one of the two major endocannabinoids produced by the body, binds with high affinity to these cannabinoid receptors and blocks the secretion of saliva.

Both THC and CBD interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the parasympathetic nervous system, so they’re likely to affect the receptors of the submandibular glands in a similar fashion.

CBD May Signal Your Brain to Slow Down Saliva Production

The said study also concluded that the role of the endocannabinoid system reaches beyond simply blocking signals at the submandibular glands themselves. The nervous signals are first created in the brain.

The researchers drew out a hypothesis that intravenous application of cannabinoids through the femoral vein not only blocked the saliva secretion in the submandibular gland but it may also have interacted with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain itself. They proposed that the central nervous system helps to control saliva production at the glandular level.

Impurities in CBD Oil

Contaminated CBD oils can contain dangerous byproducts, causing serious health risks. These contaminants can cause irritation in the mouth and lungs, resulting in dry mouth or irritation of the oral tract.

If you’re experiencing severe discomfort caused by the dryness, itchiness, or swelling of your mouth and throat — seek medical attention immediately. This isn’t a normal side effect of CBD oil.

Too High a Dose

Agencies responsible for regulating food safety have advised users not to exceed a dose of 100 mg of CBD daily for healthy adults. Breaching this threshold can lead to side effects like dry mouth.

Smoking Cannabis

Different forms of CBD can produce various side effects. For example, smoking CBD flowers or dabbing CBD concentrates can irritate your mouth, throat, and lungs, causing coughing and dryness in the mouth for some individuals.

Using Sprays and Tinctures

Using sublingual forms of CBD, such as sprays or tinctures, causes the CBD to absorb through the mucous membrane in the mouth. From there, CBD can reach the cannabinoid receptors in your salivary gland, inhibiting saliva secretion and causing dry mouth.

Taking these forms of CBD more frequently can cause regular discomfort in the mouth and even an unpleasant stinging sensation in some cases.

Vaping CBD

Vaping CBD is considered safer than smoking because it produces fewer toxic byproducts such as carcinogens. However, the flavorings and thinning agents used in vape oils can cause serious health risks. Moreover, when you vape CBD, it also reaches your salivary glands, thus reducing saliva secretion in the mouth.

How to Cope with Dry Mouth from CBD?

As you can see, CBD and dry mouth come hand in hand, so it’s no wonder why people are seeking ways to cope with this side effect.

Worse yet, you don’t need to take much CBD in order to experience dryness in the mouth. For heavy CBD users, this side effect is their daily companion — and an annoying one, to be honest.

Preventing cottonmouth is better than having to fight it when it appears. Here are a few ways to help yourself cope and de-escalate this unpleasant sensation before it becomes a pain in the mouth.

1. Hydrate Yourself

The best method for preventing or reducing the offset of cottonmouth while using CBD oil is to drink a lot of water and take care of proper hydration throughout the day. Also, drinking other hydrating liquids such as electrolytes right before, during, and after taking CBD oil can help diminish this annoying problem to some extent. Drinking herbal teas and warm water is the best for hydration and easing sore throat.

2. Increase Saliva Production

Try using toothpaste, lozenges, or lollipops to combat mouth dryness by increasing saliva production. Sucking on lollipops or hard candies stimulates your salivary glands to produce more saliva and creates a moist film lining the mucous membranes and preventing dryness in the mouth and throat.

3. Chew Gum

Choosing CBD-infused chewing gum is one of the best ways to avoid dry mouth. The CBD gets absorbed right into the bloodstream through the capillaries located under the tongue. Most natural CBD gum supplements are sugar-free and don’t contain artificial ingredients such as sweeteners or aromas. They rather use peppermint essential oil and xylitol as flavorings.

Another method to effectively cope with dry mouth is by chewing gums that contain xylitol. This natural sweetener helps activate salivary glands and pumps up the production of saliva in the mouth.

You can find CBD chewing gum in different potencies, so make sure to follow the recommended dosage to avoid cottonmouth.

4. Eat Fruit

Fresh citrus fruits, such as lemon, orange, or pineapple, can help you get rid of the dry mouth feeling. Chewing on dry fruits, ice cubes, or beef jerky will also help activate salivary glands and reduce this side effect to a great extent — especially if you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

5. Try Another Form of CBD

When taking CBD oil, it’s best to go with oral or topical forms if you want to avoid experiencing a dry mouth. There are a lot of CBD products that don’t require you to smoke or vape them. This not only protects your lungs but also prevents cottonmouth from occurring.

How Is Saliva Formed?

To elaborate on the subject of CBD and dry mouth, let’s take a look at how saliva is formed.

Saliva formation occurs at two stages.

First, certain cells known as acinar cells form a fluid that has a similar composition to plasma. This fluid then moves through the salivary ducts to enter the oral cavity, and once it succeeds, sodium chloride is removed from it, and potassium and bicarbonate are added.

This stage is known as the final hypotonic solution that is secreted in the salivary glands.

Saliva secretion is managed by the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). The PSNS often controls different metabolic processes linked to appetite, food intake, and anticipation of eating.

Salivary receptors are activated by impulses from the chorda tympani nerve. This essential nerve stems from the taste buds before traveling through the cluster of nerve cells located in the submandibular gland.

The chorda tympani nerve produces a compound called acetylcholine, which is one of the body’s main saliva-inducing substances and works directly on the receptors of the submandibular gland.

Another important factor involved in the formation of saliva is norepinephrine. This compound is produced by the preganglionic nerves and works directly on the myoepithelial cells that surround the acinar cells; this contact results in saliva secretion.

Other Side Effects of CBD

Although CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated, it also has some mild side effects. Patients on medications such as blood thinners should consult a doctor before buying CBD products because CBD can interact with different medicines and cause adverse effects.

Here are some of the most common negative reactions to CBD.

Dizziness

Since CBD is a decent sleep aid, it’s no wonder that people experience sedation or drowsiness, especially when taking CBD products in high doses. It’s recommended to adjust your schedule and try taking it in the evening or right before bed so that you can normally function throughout the day (2).

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Changes in Appetite

CBD has a biphasic nature, meaning that it can produce different effects in the same individual depending on the conditions under which it is used. Some studies point to CBD as a mild appetite suppressant, while others have found that CBD can actually increase appetite. It’s best to monitor your body’s response to CBD, and if you notice any changes in your appetite, try to adjust the dosage so that it doesn’t cause such fluctuations (3).

Low Blood Pressure

A 2017 study found that a single dose of CBD can lower blood pressure in healthy individuals — both when at rest and when put under stressful situations. This side effect can be risky for people diagnosed with low blood pressure or those who take blood thinners as part of their medication (4).

When this side effect occurs, you may feel lightheaded or drowsy. Lie down and drink plenty of liquids to help stabilize blood pressure if CBD lowers it too much.

Avoid physical activity during that time. In case of fainting, you could injure yourself or other people around you.

Diarrhea

Some users report indigestion or diarrhea after consuming CBD. This unfortunate side effect occurs when you take too much CBD oil, which can further irritate the gastrointestinal tract and trigger diarrhea. Studies have found that diarrhea occurs in people who take more than 300 mg of CBD oil at a time (5).

Key Takeaways on CBD and Dry Mouth

CBD can lead to dry mouth due to its interaction with cannabinoid receptors located in the salivary glands in your mouth.

When you don’t use CBD as recommended, these supplements can cause adverse reactions, such as dry mouth feeling. Usually, the more you take it, the more apparent this side effect will be.

Make sure that you use a clean CBD product, use chewing gum, eat fruit, and stay hydrated if you want to prevent or reduce the intensity of the dry mouth feeling.

Certain types of CBD, such as tinctures and vapes, can make this sensation even more annoying, so if that’s your case, we suggest that you switch to an oral or topical form.

Regardless of your choice, always check for the certificates of analysis for any CBD product out there. Doing so will help you confirm the product’s potency and purity — ensuring that you’re not ingesting any unwanted chemicals alongside your hemp extract.

How do you deal with CBD and dry mouth? Share your life hacks in the comment section below!

References:

  1. Prestifilippo, J. P., Fernández-Solari, J., de la Cal, C., Iribarne, M., Suburo, A. M., Rettori, V., McCann, S. M., & Elverdin, J. C. (2006). Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.), 231(8), 1421–1429. https://doi.org/10.1177/153537020623100816
  2. Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
  3. Kirkham T. C. (2009). Cannabinoids and appetite: food craving and food pleasure. International review of psychiatry (Abingdon, England), 21(2), 163–171. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540260902782810
  4. Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12), e93760. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.93760
  5. Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
Nina Julia

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.

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

The takeaway

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.

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