Cottonmouth is a term used to describe a dry sensation many people experience in their mouths after using cannabis. It is typically caused when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. Some of the common signs of cottonmouth are dry and sticky feelings in your mouth, feeling like you have cotton balls stuffed in your mouth, and feeling like you rubbed the inside of your mouth with a towel. In more severe cases, though, signs have been described as a burning sensation, cracked lips, and difficulty swallowing.
CB1 and CB2
The salivary glands, which produce saliva, are located in the mouth. Humans also have both CB1 and CB2 receptors in our salivary glands. We have these receptors in our mouths because the body tells the endocannabinoid system when to either produce less saliva or when to stop producing saliva altogether.
Cottonmouth and Cannabis
When we use cannabis, the molecules in cannabis start to imitate the molecules that our bodies make to activate the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. This means that phytocannabinoids imitate endocannabinoids. When this happens, the same response happens as if your brain was telling your salivary glands to stop producing saliva. This is what causes the dryness!
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I like where your head’s at my friend. Let’s talk about why you get cotton mouth when you use cannabis. So saliva is produced in your salivary glands in your mouth. And we actually have CB1 and CB2 receptors in these glands in our mouth. So why do we have these receptors here, you ask? The answer is our body uses the endocannabinoid system to tell those glands when to stop producing or produce less saliva.
So when you use cannabis, the molecules in cannabis are imitating the molecules that our body makes to activate those receptors. So it’s essentially telling your mouth to produce less saliva. So you get a dry mouth. Also, just a friendly reminder that if you constantly have less saliva in your mouth, you have less protection against things like microorganisms. So you’re kind of more susceptible to bad oral health. So try to brush your teeth and drink water.