Dry mouth is a symptom often associated with the use of cannabis (marijuana). Also known by the terms ‘pasty mouth’ and ‘cotton mouth’, dry mouth can prove to be quite an unpleasant feeling. However, many people nowadays are wondering whether hemp-derived CBD can cause dry mouth as well? This post looks to answer this question, as well as the different ways users can tackle this problem.
Before we delve into these questions, let’s take a brief look into the science behind the dry mouth.
The science behind dry mouth
The scientific name for dry mouth or cotton mouth is Xerostomia. It is a reduced salivary flow that causes an unpleasant dry sensation in the mouth.
Before cannabis legalisation brought about a wide selection of products seen in pharmacies and shops today, recreational smoking was the primary method of cannabis use. In those times, it was believed that dry mouth was caused by the thick smoke that arose from burning cannabis.
However, as users began vaping cannabis, dry mouth persisted as a side effect. Gummies, oils, and capsules yielded the same results. Scientists thus began to study this problem. In 2006, Juan Pablo Prestifilippo and his colleagues in Buenos Aires, Argentina, began their search for potential causes of dry mouth.
Their study on cannabis-induced xerostomia is the most in-depth study on the subject to date. The researchers carried out experiments on male rats and found that cannabinoid receptors (type 1 and type 2) were located in specific locations in the submandibular glands. These glands are responsible for producing 60-67% of the saliva.
The researchers further discovered that the cannabinoid anandamide (AEA) attaches to these receptors and alters salivary production, resulting in hyposalivation (decreased saliva production). This was the primary reason for the dryness of the mouth.
Does CBD cause dry mouth?
To put it simply, it probably does. Although, it has been noted that THC in Cannabis is far more likely to cause dry mouth as compared to cannabidiol (CBD). However, CBD is not entirely exempt from this side effect. Many hemp-derived CBD oil users also report oral dryness as a side effect.
Moreover, there are a few studies that show that CBD might cause oral dryness. In 1986, one study noted that the side effects of oral CBD administration included dry mouth. Since then, many other studies have also noted cannabinoid-induced dryness of the mouth.
The 2006 study discussed above suggests that the use of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC may play a vital role in inhibiting saliva production. However, one thing still unclear from this study is whether CBD would yield the same results on its own. Therefore, more research is needed to confidently conclude whether CBD alone can cause dry mouth.
Is it dangerous for health?
It is important to understand that a certain level of saliva production is essential at all times. Saliva helps lubricate the mouth and enables us to taste the food, swallow and speak. It also protects the mouth, teeth, and throat from viruses, bacteria, and other unhealthy microorganisms. Saliva levels that are consistently low as a result of cannabis and CBD use can cause oral dryness. If left untreated, it can lead to other potential side effects, like:
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Tingling in the mouth
- Raw or red tongue
- Cracked lips
- Mouth sores
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
CBD and dry mouth: What can I do about it?
If you are experiencing a dry mouth, there are several things you can do to help alleviate it. These include:
- Staying hydrated: Sipping water frequently will help mitigate this issue. Also, avoid alcohol-based beverages like beer or wine. These contain tannins that further dry out the mouth.
- Chewing sugar- free gum
- Maintaining a regimen of brushing teeth at least two times per day using fluoride enriched toothpaste.
- Reducing the intake of citrus-based food and alcohol-based breath sprays and mouthwash. These can further dry out the mouth.
- Sucking on ice cubes. These can help keep the saliva flowing and break the monotony of drinking water constantly.
- Eating foods that require prolonged chewing, such as beef jerky or dried fruit. These can help stimulate the production of saliva.
- Licking lollipops or sucking on sour flavoured hard candy. These actions greatly stimulate saliva production.
- Using cough medicines, which are also known as demulcents. These help to reduce mouth dryness by covering the mucous membranes with a dewy film.
- Drinking herbal tea also helps reduce the dry feeling in the throat.
In conclusion, the answer to the question, ‘Can CBD cause dry mouth?’, is yes, it might. There is strong anecdotal evidence from CBD users as well as some evidence from limited studies conducted on this topic. While dry mouth is majorly associated with cannabis use, hemp-derived CBD products are also seen to inhibit saliva production that causes this unpleasant condition. However, there is a need for further research on this topic to come to any definitive conclusion.
If you liked reading this, be sure to check our other blog: : The Ultimate Guide To CBD