Cannabidiol has been the hero in treating several health conditions, like lowering blood pressure or improving food intake. But it’s also known as the villain that causes dry mouth or cottonmouth.
Why does CBD cause dry mouth? It all boils down to how CBD interacts with your body. For most people, CBD causes a temporary decrease in saliva flow, leading to that dry, cottonmouth feeling.
In this post, we’ll explain why CBD makes your mouth feel as dry as the Sahara and how to prevent it.
Why CBD Affects Saliva Production
Besides having side effects like low blood pressure, cannabidiol may cause a cottony feeling in your mouth. That’s because CBD inhibits saliva production, leading to temporary deficiency in your oral health.
CBD interacts with receptors in your endocannabinoid system, including CB1 and CB2 receptors in your salivary glands. When cannabidiol binds to these receptors, it can hamper the signals stimulating saliva flow. The result? Your mouth feels parched, thus answering, ‘Why does CBD cause dry mouth?’
The good news is dry mouth from CBD oil is usually temporary and harmless. To relieve your symptoms:
- Drink plenty of water: staying hydrated is vital. Aim for 6-8 glasses a day.
- Suck on sugar-free mints or hard candy: This stimulates saliva flow and provides relief.
- Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute: artificial saliva sprays or oral lubricants can moisten your mouth.
- Lower your CBD dose: If dry mouth persists, you may need to reduce your CBD oil dosage to the lowest effective amount.
- See your doctor for prescription medication: For some, mouth dryness can lead to tooth decay, sore throat, or infections. Prescription drugs may help in these cases.
How CBD Interacts With Cannabinoid Receptors
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
To understand how CBD induces oral dryness, you need to know a little about the endocannabinoid system in your body and how CBD interacts with it.
Your endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (which are compounds produced naturally in your body), and the enzymes that synthesize and break them down.
- CB1 receptors are found primarily in your central nervous system, including brain parts controlling saliva production.
- CB2 receptors are more common in your peripheral nervous system and immune cells.
When you take CBD supplements, it inhibits receptors in your submandibular glands that are responsible for saliva production. It also impacts areas of your brain that stimulate saliva flow, like the parasympathetic nervous system. By binding to CB1 receptors in these parts of your body, CBD essentially turns down your saliva faucet, reducing the amount of saliva released into your mouth.
The good news is CBD impacts saliva production, and dry mouth is temporary. The effects typically wear off within a few hours as the CBD is metabolized and leaves your system.
However, chronic or long-term CBD oil use could lead to a persistently drier mouth. Stay hydrated to counteract this side effect, especially when first using CBD. If a bothersome dry mouth continues, you may need to lower your CBD dose or frequency.
Other Factors That May Lead to CBD-Induced Dry Mouth
Medications You’re Taking
Certain medications you’re on may interact with CBD and contribute to dry mouth as a side effect. Diuretics, antihistamines, and decongestants are common medications that cause dry mouth. CBD may amplify this effect when taken together. If dry mouth from your meds is bothersome, talk to your doctor about alternative options or dosing adjustments.
Dosage and Method of Consumption
How much CBD you take and how you consume it impacts how severe your dry mouth may be—higher doses of CBD lead to cottonmouth. Vaping or smoking CBD flower allows it to enter your bloodstream quickly, often resulting in a stronger dry mouth effect.
CBD oils, tinctures, and edibles have a slower absorption and more gradual onset of effects. Starting with a lower CBD dose and slower consumption may help reduce dry mouth. You can then gradually increase your dosage to find the optimal amount.
Not drinking enough water is another factor that contributes to dry mouth from CBD. CBD metabolizes in your liver and flows through your urine, requiring proper hydration to function efficiently. Most experts recommend getting 6 to 8 glasses of water daily to stay hydrated. Thus, increase your water intake, especially when taking CBD. Staying hydrated will moisten your mouth and help offset the drying effects of CBD.
Low humidity, dry air, heaters, and air conditioning may dehydrate your mouth. Using a humidifier can add moisture to the air and provide relief. Breathe through your nose instead of your mouth as much as possible since mouth breathing dries out your mouth more quickly.
Tips for Relieving CBD-Related Dry Mouth
A dry mouth, or cottonmouth, is a common side effect of CBD oil. Here are some tips to help relieve it and keep your mouth moisturized.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is crucial in combating dry mouth. So, drink water frequently throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. Aiming for 6-8 glasses of water daily is a good rule of thumb. Keeping a water bottle with you will make it easy to drink more water.
Use a Humidifier
A humidifier adds moisture to the air, especially in dry winter. Place a humidifier in your home, especially in rooms where you spend a lot of time. A humidifier can help increase moisture in your mouth and throat in addition to drinking more water.
Chew Sugar-free Gum or Mints
Chewing gum or sucking on mints stimulates saliva flow, naturally moistening your mouth. Look for sugar-free options to avoid dry mouth caused by sugar. Xylitol-sweetened gum and mints are good options to stimulate saliva production. You can consider natural CBD gum supplements as they don’t contain artificial aromas or sweeteners.
Apply a Moisturizing Mouthwash or Oral Rinse
An alcohol-free mouthwash or oral rinse can coat your mouth and relieve a dry mouth. So, swish and gargle as directed to moisten your mouth, tongue, and throat. Popular brands for dry mouth include Biotene and Oasis. These non-irritating rinses promote saliva production and line the mucous membranes to eliminate dryness.
Use a Lip Balm or Moisturizer
Apply a lip balm, ointment, or moisturizer regularly to prevent your lips from drying. Dry, chapped lips often accompany dry mouth, so moisturizing your lips will make your mouth feel more comfortable.
Look for a lip product that contains hydrating ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, and vitamin E.
Eat Fresh Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, and grapes can dispel dry mouth. They are hydrating and contain properties that increase saliva production.
Conclusion: Why Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth?
Frankly, dry mouth may be an annoying side effect, but the benefits of CBD seem to outweigh this temporary discomfort for most people.
The good news is there are some simple solutions to relieve your parched palate, like staying hydrated, using a moisturizing mouthwash, chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking on ice chips.
If dry mouth persists or is severely bothersome, you can talk to your doctor about prescription medication options or adjusting your CBD dosage.
Don’t let a little dry mouth deter you from trying CBD. With the right approach, you may experience the benefits of CBD oil without the Sahara Desert sensation.