Why Do I Get Cottonmouth When I Smoke Weed?

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Cottonmouth is a common and expected side effect of using cannabis. If you’re a seasoned smoker, this will be a familiar story. You’re enjoying a relaxing session with your friends when, out of nowhere, your mouth becomes drier than the Sahara Desert. As most people would agree, it’s an aspect of the culture that can make even the most experienced smokers cough and splutter. There are, of course, ways to remedy this. And although most people simply put it down to dehydration, there’s a lot more going on in our bodies than meets the eye.

Medallion Wellness, located in Modesto, California, offers top-shelf flower, pre-rolls, edibles, and more. Placing an order for pickup or delivery is easy! Just take a look at our online menu, make your selections, and follow the on-screen directions at checkout. Questions? No problem! Just call (888) 354-0139 or fill out our online form for more information.

  • Modesto
  • Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 8 PM
  • Delivery: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 9 PM
  • Phone: (209) 248-7472
  • Delivery: (209) 222-3110
  • Atwater:
  • Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 8 PM
  • Pickup: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 10 PM 
  • Phone: (209) 635-5983
  • Pickup: (559) 785-3559

What’s Going on in Your Mouth?

Contrary to popular belief, cottonmouth isn’t purely related to dehydration from smoking. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral hygiene, aiding digestion, and protecting our teeth and gums. Its production, or lack thereof, is also a key component of dry mouth. The salivary glands, located in various regions of the mouth and throat, produce saliva through a complex process. Salivation is stimulated by the presence of food, as well as by the smell or thought of food. The production of saliva is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, ensuring that our mouths remain moist and lubricated throughout the day.

The composition of saliva is complex. It consists of water, electrolytes, antibacterial compounds, enzymes, mucus, and proteins. It helps to: (1)

  • Lubricate the oral tissues 
  • Facilitate chewing and swallowing
  • Neutralize acids produced by bacteria 
  • Prevent tooth decay

Additionally, saliva contains enzymes that aid in digestion and antimicrobial properties that help protect against infections, so taking steps to reduce dry mouth when you’re smoking is essential.

What Does Cottonmouth Feel Like?

Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva or decreased salivary flow. (2) When the body produces less saliva, it can lead to various symptoms and discomfort. Individuals may experience the following.

  • Persistent dry sensation in the mouth 
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, or tasting 
  • Sticky or thick saliva consistency 
  • Cracked lips 
  • A sore throat 
  • Frequent thirst

The medical term for cottonmouth is xerostomia (ze-ro-STOW-mi-a). The term xerostomia derives from two Greek words: “xero,” meaning dry, and “stoma,” meaning mouth. 

The Science of cottonmouth

The endocannabinoid system is an intricate network within the human body that plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and homeostasis. It includes receptors, molecules, and enzymes that work together to regulate a wide array of physiological processes. At the center of this system are the body’s cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system, including the brain, while CB2 receptors are predominantly located in the peripheral tissues, especially in immune cells. These receptors interact with both endogenous cannabinoids, which are produced naturally within our bodies, and phytocannabinoids, which are derived from plants such as cannabis. The main psychoactive compound in cannabis is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When consumed, THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, resulting in various psychoactive effects. 

Weed & Cottonmouth

Cannabis users’ cottonmouth can be attributed to the interaction between cannabinoids and the body’s salivary glands. When cannabis is smoked, THC enters the bloodstream and interacts with various receptors in the body, including the cannabinoid receptors found in the salivary glands. (3) These cannabinoid receptors regulate the production and flow of saliva.

The exact mechanism behind decreased saliva production is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve the inhibition of neurotransmitters responsible for stimulating saliva secretion. Additionally, THC may affect the blood vessels supplying the salivary glands, further contributing to reduced saliva flow.

6 Ways to Reduce Cottonmouth

It is important to note that cottonmouth is a temporary side effect and typically subsides once the effects of cannabis wear off. However, frequent cannabis use may result in more persistent dry mouth symptoms. If Cottonmouth is stopping you from enjoying cannabis to the fullest, try these helpful tips.

  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is crucial in combating dry mouth. Staying hydrated helps stimulate saliva production and keeps the mouth moisturized.
  • Avoid irritants: Limiting or avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco can help reduce dry mouth symptoms. These substances can exacerbate the problem by further drying out the mouth.
  • Sugar-free gum or lozenges: Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free lozenges that contain xylitol can help stimulate saliva production and provide relief from dry mouth.
  • Oral hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene practices is essential in preventing and managing dry mouth. Regular brushing and flossing can help reduce the risk of developing oral health issues associated with xerostomia.
  • Use a humidifier: Using a humidifier in your home or office can add moisture to the air, helping to relieve dry mouth. This can be especially helpful during dry seasons or in arid climates.
  • Avoid mouth breathing: Breathing through the nose instead of the mouth can help prevent excessive dryness. If you struggle with chronic mouth breathing, consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

Weed for Delivery in Modesto

Our wide delivery radius means you can get what you want when you want it at Medallion Wellness! Follow these simple steps to get premium flower, vapes, pre-rolls, edibles, tinctures, and more.

  1. Browse our Modesto Menu – Shop our huge selection of cannabis products and pick out your favorites. Feeling adventurous? Try a new product out!
  2. Check Minimums – Our delivery minimum purchases depend on your location. If in doubt, contact our helpful budtenders.
  3. Check Out – Follow the on-screen instructions and prepare your payment method at checkout.
  4. Wait for Your Weed – Your weed delivery is on its way! You’ll get an ETA and a tracking link so you know when your package will arrive.
  5. Enjoy your Purchase! – We hope you have a great time with your premium weed products from Medallion to your door

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Finding the finest quality weed products is easy at Medallion Wellness! Make your selections on our extensive online menu for delivery or pickup. Need to get in touch with us? Call or send us a message online!

  • Modesto
  • Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 8 PM
  • Delivery: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 9 PM
  • Phone: (209) 248-7472
  • Delivery: (209) 222-3110
  • Atwater:
  • Hours: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 8 PM
  • Pickup: Mon-Sun: 8 AM – 10 PM 
  • Phone: (209) 635-5983
  • Pickup: (559) 785-3559

Read more about cannabis culture on the Medallion Wellness blog.


How does cannabis cause cottonmouth?

cottonmouth, also known as dry mouth or xerostomia, is a common side effect experienced by individuals who consume cannabis. This phenomenon occurs due to the interaction between cannabinoids, specifically THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and the body’s saliva production.

How long does Cottonmouth last after you smoke weed?

It is normal for dry mouth to occur for several hours after smoking cannabis, however, individuals will vary. As a general rule, when the psychoactive effects of cannabis subside, dry mouth will also lessen.

Can you get chronic cottonmouth from smoking cannabis?

Daily cannabis users may find that their dry mouth becomes a daily issue. To overcome cottonmouth, drink plenty of water, chew sugar-free gum, or use a humidifier.


  1. Vila T, Rizk AM, Sultan AS, Jabra-Rizk MA. The power of saliva: Antimicrobial and beyond. Hogan DA, ed. PLOS Pathogens. 2019;15(11):e1008058. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1008058 
  2. Kapourani A, Kontogiannopoulos KN, Manioudaki AE, et al. A Review on Xerostomia and Its Various Management Strategies: The Role of Advanced Polymeric Materials in the Treatment Approaches. Polymers. 2022;14(5):850. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14050850 
  3. Bellocchio L, Inchingolo AD, Inchingolo AM, et al. Cannabinoids Drugs and Oral Health—From Recreational Side-Effects to Medicinal Purposes: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2021;22(15):8329. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22158329 
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