Stoner Dictionary | Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth: noun 1. extreme dry-mouth caused by smoking marijuana
Example: “Can I have a sip of your water? I have the worst cottonmouth.”
Cottonmouth is one of the only negative side effects of smoking marijuana among its users. The clinical term is xerostomia and it is nicknamed cottonmouth because of the white, cotton-like film that coats your mouth. Your mouth and tongue will become extremely dry as if there is no saliva in your mouth at all and eating certain snack foods with cottonmouth feels like having a cement mixer in your mouth. You instantly become very thirsty and begin looking for the nearest fire hydrant to assault. Impossible to spit out and only remedied by drinking copious amounts of water, cottonmouth often occurs soon after smoking weed.
The unique enzymes in saliva aid in digestion as well as regulate pH levels and oxygen in the mouth.
If you experience chronic cottonmouth, it can cause halitosis (offensive breath) and infection. Another cottonmouth remedy is chewing gum or sucking on hard candy as these acts trigger your glands to produce more saliva. Other, more specific, remedies include orange juice, tonic water, salted sunflower seeds and pure cherry juice. Drinks and candies that are tart or sour will immediately send your salivary glands into overdrive. Drinks to avoid while suffering from cottonmouth are sugar-filled drinks, such as soda and juice, and drinks that are high in tannins, such as most commercial sweetened iced teas and wines. Alcohol and tobacco also contribute to cottonmouth, so it is best to avoid these as well when you have a nasty case of that oh too familiar dry mouth.
There have been many speculations amongst the stoner community as to the reason why marijuana causes cottonmouth. Some have argued that certain properties in marijuana dry out the mucus membranes in the mouth. Another theory is that the heat associated with smoking from pipes and joints, dehydrates the mouth. Since cottonmouth is caused both by eating and smoking weed, then what is truly the cause? It is time to quell that curiosity!
The active ingredients in our friend Mary Jane activates the body’s cannabinoid receptors which are apart of the central nervous system.
Some cannabinoid receptors are located in the submandibular gland of the mouth which is responsible for producing 70% of the mouth’s saliva and is activated every time we consume marijuana. When these cannabinoid receptors go off, saliva production is inhibited. Weed also activates the sympathetic nervous system which actually stops the release of saliva from the salivary glands. The activation of the sympathetic nervous system is also responsible for why marijuana speeds up your heart rate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it makes you salivate. Still, it’s not a very serious problem and it’s nothing that a tall glass of dihydrogen monoxide can’t cure. Seeing as how the other side effects you experience from weed are so incredibly awesome, (extreme giggling, relaxed state, food tasting better, etc.) cottonmouth is really nothing more than background noise to a beautiful symphony.