Cannabis (CBD) consumption is currently legal for medicinal purposes widely in the UK, provided it has been EU-approved. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in marijuana that does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant that produces a certain high. Anecdotally Ever wondered why CBD causes the dry mouth effect? This article explains why it happens and how to deal with dry mouth after taking CBD oil. Do CBD supplements leave an unpleasant dryness in your mouth? Here’s why it happens and what you can do about this constant dry and pasty mouth sensation.
Can CBD cause dry mouth and what are the possible remedies?
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Can CBD cause dry mouth and what are the possible remedies?
- 4 min read
Cannabis (CBD) consumption is currently legal for medicinal purposes widely in the UK, provided it has been EU-approved. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical found in marijuana that does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant that produces a certain high. Anecdotally, prescription cannabidiol oil has been identified by numerous researches to be an effective treatment for a wide range of conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, and dental anxiety. This claim has been backed by the Harvard Medical School that reiterates its health benefits.
Currently, the only CBD (derived from an industrial hemp strain) that has been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is a prescription cannabidiol oral solution called Epidyolex. Although CBD usage has been seeing a persistently rise of users, it cannot be disregarded that cannabis or CBD may be responsible for one of the most common and potentially deteriorative oral problems, dry mouth.
Is CBD safe to use?
The use of CBD oil is typically advocated by the pharmaceuticals as a health supplement. The NCBI published a review paper on the safety and side effects of cannabidiol that demonstrates that controlled CBD administration is safe and non-toxic in humans and animals. It also does not induce changes in food intake nor does it affect physiological parameters like heart rate, body temperature, or blood pressure. High doses up to 1,600 mg/day of CBD has been reportedly well-tolerated in humans.
Furthermore, CBD is generally not habit-forming. According to a report by the World Health Organization, “CBD appears to have little effect on conditioned place preference or intracranial self-stimulation… [It] exhibits no effect indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
Does CBD cause dry mouth?
CBD has been condemned by many to be a prime culprit of dry mouth. A common complaint among cannabis users is the unpleasant feeling of dry or sticky mouth, often referred to as cottonmouth or “the pasties” that does not go away. Cottonmouth (also known as dry mouth or clinically called xerostomia) is usually not a major issue when you limit the use of cannabis. However, the intensity of oral health problems may significantly rise with the increased intake of cannabis.
Some of the commonly occurring symptoms of cottonmouth are:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Persistent thirst
- Hoarseness of voice and sore throat
- Inflamed, red tongue
- Cracked lips
- Tingling or burning sensation in the mouth
- Red, swollen, tender, bleeding gums (gingivitis)
- Sores at the corners of the mouth
- Mouth ulcers and canker sores
The science behind CBD-induced dry mouth
Originally dry mouth associated with CBD consumption was attributed to the harsh smoke irrigating the permeable oral membranes to cause irritation and decreased salivary flow, but upon rigorous studies, it has been understood that the natural response of the salivary glands to CBD components factors in much of the cause for dry mouth. Cannabinoids, the active components in cannabis, interacts with the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a complex biological network of receptors and neurotransmitters distributed all over the body. The ECS regulates different cognitive and physiological processes in the body.
Our submandibular salivary glands (located under the jaw bone) are responsible for 70% of healthy saliva production in the mouth. These glands contain cannabinoid receptors to which cannabinoids begin to bind when you imbibe cannabis or CBD. This prevents your ECS from communicating to your parasympathetic nervous system to institute active saliva production. This causes poor saliva production in the mouth with the use of CBD.
Remedies of dry mouth
Cannabis frequenters may be used to feeling a little parched when smoking or doing edibles. However, proper caution must be taken to de-escalate this seemingly minute dental issue before it proliferates into something critical.
American Marijuana published an article directing CBD users to follow these remedies for cottonmouth:
- Sip water, ideally through a straw to keep yourself hydrated.
- Chew St Andrew’s Trust xylitol infused dry mouth chewing gum to stimulate saliva production.
- Chew on dry fruits, citrus fruits, or beef jerky to increase saliva production.
- Use lozenges and toothpaste that promote saliva production. Try St Andrew’s Trust Dry Mouth Lozenges or toothpaste to get rid of your dry mouth.
- Suck on a lollipop, take a cough drop, or some hard candy.
- Try demulcent cough drops that coat the mucous membranes with a moist film to prevent the feeling of dry mouth.
- Drink herbal teas to rid yourself of a sore or irritated throat.
Avoid these foods if you have dry mouth
- Black and green teas (anything containing caffeine) can dry your mouth further
- Salty crackers and snacks may worsen cottonmouth
- Alcohol causes dehydration, further drying out the mouth
- Tobacco products can lead to lowered saliva production
In the wake of the booming cannabis market, many experts advise CBD users to take stringent actions against dry mouth caused by CBD to mitigate the condition. Be wary that today’s minor inconveniences may become tomorrow’s major headaches if you choose to do nothing. The American Dental Association also encourages all CBD consumers to visit the dentist regularly and maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day with St Andrew’s Trust dry mouth ingredients and fluoride enriched toothpaste.
Can CBD Oil Cause Dry Mouth?
Do you regularly experience dry mouth after taking CBD? You’re not alone.
In fact, this effect is common for all cannabinoids, not only for CBD. But does it mean that cannabis users just have to accept it and go on with their supplementation?
Or is there a way to minimize the dry mouth effect after using CBD oils and vapes?
There are at least a few ways to help you cope with the cottonmouth.
It’s just so common that hardly anyone is questioning the mechanism at work.
Today, we explain why CBD gives you the dry mouth feeling and how to cope with it using some simple tricks.
Why Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth (Cottonmouth)
Several factors can cause dry mouth after taking CBD oil or any cannabis-based product. This section holds the answer to the “why” behind the cottonmouth effect.
Cannabinoids Affect Salivary Glands
Several studies point to cannabis use as the reason for having a dry mouth. A 1986 study on the effects of CBD noted that the side effects of oral CBD included dry mouth.
Since then, a few other studies have investigated this effect. Oral dryness even has a scientific name — xerostomia.
Perhaps the most relevant study on CBD-induced oral dryness comes from the researchers at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2006. The authors found that cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) occur in the submandibular glands, which lie beneath the bottom of the mouth and are responsible for the secretion of 60-67% of the saliva (1).
The research team found that anandamide, which is one of the two major endocannabinoids produced by the body, binds with high affinity to these cannabinoid receptors and blocks the secretion of saliva.
Both THC and CBD interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the parasympathetic nervous system, so they’re likely to affect the receptors of the submandibular glands in a similar fashion.
CBD May Signal Your Brain to Slow Down Saliva Production
The said study also concluded that the role of the endocannabinoid system reaches beyond simply blocking signals at the submandibular glands themselves. The nervous signals are first created in the brain.
The researchers drew out a hypothesis that intravenous application of cannabinoids through the femoral vein not only blocked the saliva secretion in the submandibular gland but it may also have interacted with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain itself. They proposed that the central nervous system helps to control saliva production at the glandular level.
Impurities in CBD Oil
Contaminated CBD oils can contain dangerous byproducts, causing serious health risks. These contaminants can cause irritation in the mouth and lungs, resulting in dry mouth or irritation of the oral tract.
If you’re experiencing severe discomfort caused by the dryness, itchiness, or swelling of your mouth and throat — seek medical attention immediately. This isn’t a normal side effect of CBD oil.
Too High a Dose
Agencies responsible for regulating food safety have advised users not to exceed a dose of 100 mg of CBD daily for healthy adults. Breaching this threshold can lead to side effects like dry mouth.
Different forms of CBD can produce various side effects. For example, smoking CBD flowers or dabbing CBD concentrates can irritate your mouth, throat, and lungs, causing coughing and dryness in the mouth for some individuals.
Using Sprays and Tinctures
Using sublingual forms of CBD, such as sprays or tinctures, causes the CBD to absorb through the mucous membrane in the mouth. From there, CBD can reach the cannabinoid receptors in your salivary gland, inhibiting saliva secretion and causing dry mouth.
Taking these forms of CBD more frequently can cause regular discomfort in the mouth and even an unpleasant stinging sensation in some cases.
Vaping CBD is considered safer than smoking because it produces fewer toxic byproducts such as carcinogens. However, the flavorings and thinning agents used in vape oils can cause serious health risks. Moreover, when you vape CBD, it also reaches your salivary glands, thus reducing saliva secretion in the mouth.
How to Cope with Dry Mouth from CBD?
As you can see, CBD and dry mouth come hand in hand, so it’s no wonder why people are seeking ways to cope with this side effect.
Worse yet, you don’t need to take much CBD in order to experience dryness in the mouth. For heavy CBD users, this side effect is their daily companion — and an annoying one, to be honest.
Preventing cottonmouth is better than having to fight it when it appears. Here are a few ways to help yourself cope and de-escalate this unpleasant sensation before it becomes a pain in the mouth.
1. Hydrate Yourself
The best method for preventing or reducing the offset of cottonmouth while using CBD oil is to drink a lot of water and take care of proper hydration throughout the day. Also, drinking other hydrating liquids such as electrolytes right before, during, and after taking CBD oil can help diminish this annoying problem to some extent. Drinking herbal teas and warm water is the best for hydration and easing sore throat.
2. Increase Saliva Production
Try using toothpaste, lozenges, or lollipops to combat mouth dryness by increasing saliva production. Sucking on lollipops or hard candies stimulates your salivary glands to produce more saliva and creates a moist film lining the mucous membranes and preventing dryness in the mouth and throat.
3. Chew Gum
Choosing CBD-infused chewing gum is one of the best ways to avoid dry mouth. The CBD gets absorbed right into the bloodstream through the capillaries located under the tongue. Most natural CBD gum supplements are sugar-free and don’t contain artificial ingredients such as sweeteners or aromas. They rather use peppermint essential oil and xylitol as flavorings.
Another method to effectively cope with dry mouth is by chewing gums that contain xylitol. This natural sweetener helps activate salivary glands and pumps up the production of saliva in the mouth.
You can find CBD chewing gum in different potencies, so make sure to follow the recommended dosage to avoid cottonmouth.
4. Eat Fruit
Fresh citrus fruits, such as lemon, orange, or pineapple, can help you get rid of the dry mouth feeling. Chewing on dry fruits, ice cubes, or beef jerky will also help activate salivary glands and reduce this side effect to a great extent — especially if you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
5. Try Another Form of CBD
When taking CBD oil, it’s best to go with oral or topical forms if you want to avoid experiencing a dry mouth. There are a lot of CBD products that don’t require you to smoke or vape them. This not only protects your lungs but also prevents cottonmouth from occurring.
How Is Saliva Formed?
To elaborate on the subject of CBD and dry mouth, let’s take a look at how saliva is formed.
Saliva formation occurs at two stages.
First, certain cells known as acinar cells form a fluid that has a similar composition to plasma. This fluid then moves through the salivary ducts to enter the oral cavity, and once it succeeds, sodium chloride is removed from it, and potassium and bicarbonate are added.
This stage is known as the final hypotonic solution that is secreted in the salivary glands.
Saliva secretion is managed by the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). The PSNS often controls different metabolic processes linked to appetite, food intake, and anticipation of eating.
Salivary receptors are activated by impulses from the chorda tympani nerve. This essential nerve stems from the taste buds before traveling through the cluster of nerve cells located in the submandibular gland.
The chorda tympani nerve produces a compound called acetylcholine, which is one of the body’s main saliva-inducing substances and works directly on the receptors of the submandibular gland.
Another important factor involved in the formation of saliva is norepinephrine. This compound is produced by the preganglionic nerves and works directly on the myoepithelial cells that surround the acinar cells; this contact results in saliva secretion.
Other Side Effects of CBD
Although CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated, it also has some mild side effects. Patients on medications such as blood thinners should consult a doctor before buying CBD products because CBD can interact with different medicines and cause adverse effects.
Here are some of the most common negative reactions to CBD.
Since CBD is a decent sleep aid, it’s no wonder that people experience sedation or drowsiness, especially when taking CBD products in high doses. It’s recommended to adjust your schedule and try taking it in the evening or right before bed so that you can normally function throughout the day (2).
Changes in Appetite
CBD has a biphasic nature, meaning that it can produce different effects in the same individual depending on the conditions under which it is used. Some studies point to CBD as a mild appetite suppressant, while others have found that CBD can actually increase appetite. It’s best to monitor your body’s response to CBD, and if you notice any changes in your appetite, try to adjust the dosage so that it doesn’t cause such fluctuations (3).
Low Blood Pressure
A 2017 study found that a single dose of CBD can lower blood pressure in healthy individuals — both when at rest and when put under stressful situations. This side effect can be risky for people diagnosed with low blood pressure or those who take blood thinners as part of their medication (4).
When this side effect occurs, you may feel lightheaded or drowsy. Lie down and drink plenty of liquids to help stabilize blood pressure if CBD lowers it too much.
Avoid physical activity during that time. In case of fainting, you could injure yourself or other people around you.
Some users report indigestion or diarrhea after consuming CBD. This unfortunate side effect occurs when you take too much CBD oil, which can further irritate the gastrointestinal tract and trigger diarrhea. Studies have found that diarrhea occurs in people who take more than 300 mg of CBD oil at a time (5).
Key Takeaways on CBD and Dry Mouth
CBD can lead to dry mouth due to its interaction with cannabinoid receptors located in the salivary glands in your mouth.
When you don’t use CBD as recommended, these supplements can cause adverse reactions, such as dry mouth feeling. Usually, the more you take it, the more apparent this side effect will be.
Make sure that you use a clean CBD product, use chewing gum, eat fruit, and stay hydrated if you want to prevent or reduce the intensity of the dry mouth feeling.
Certain types of CBD, such as tinctures and vapes, can make this sensation even more annoying, so if that’s your case, we suggest that you switch to an oral or topical form.
Regardless of your choice, always check for the certificates of analysis for any CBD product out there. Doing so will help you confirm the product’s potency and purity — ensuring that you’re not ingesting any unwanted chemicals alongside your hemp extract.
How do you deal with CBD and dry mouth? Share your life hacks in the comment section below!
- Prestifilippo, J. P., Fernández-Solari, J., de la Cal, C., Iribarne, M., Suburo, A. M., Rettori, V., McCann, S. M., & Elverdin, J. C. (2006). Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors. Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.), 231(8), 1421–1429. https://doi.org/10.1177/153537020623100816
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
- Kirkham T. C. (2009). Cannabinoids and appetite: food craving and food pleasure. International review of psychiatry (Abingdon, England), 21(2), 163–171. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540260902782810
- Jadoon, K. A., Tan, G. D., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight, 2(12), e93760. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.93760
- Iffland, K., & Grotenhermen, F. (2017). An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 2(1), 139–154. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0034
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Can CBD Cause Dry Mouth?
Do CBD supplements leave an unpleasant dryness in your mouth? Here’s why it happens and what you can do about this constant dry and pasty mouth sensation.
From pills to gummies, CBD is gaining popularity due to its seemingly endless health benefits. Though CBD products are considered safe for human consumption, it comes with a few side effects.
Whether you consume CBD for medicinal or recreational purposes, these products often result in a dry mouth or what’s known as cottonmouth. Here’s why it happens and what you can do about it.
Table of Contents
Why Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth (CottonMouth)?
Though CBD causes minimal side effects, it’s impossible to disregard the fact that this cannabis product is responsible for the most common adverse effect – dry mouth.
For some, dry mouth can last for a couple of hours or until the effects of the CBD wear off.
Cannabis Affects the Salivary Glands
The dry sensation occurs when the CBD products inhibit the secretion of saliva in the mouth.
The CBD oil alters how the salivary glands respond and prevent them from secreting the regularly required amount of saliva in the mouth. This results in irritability and pain on the tongue and mouth, making you feel more thirsty.
Presence of Impurities
Impure CBD can contain toxic byproducts, causing severe health hazards. These impurities can irritate the mouth and lungs, leading to cottonmouth or irritation of the mouth and throat.
If you’re experiencing severe dry mouth, itchiness, or swelling of your mouth and throat — visit a doctor immediately; this is not a normal side effect of CBD.
Numerous food safety agencies have advised users not to exceed 80 – 90 mg of CBD daily for healthy adults. Exceeding this can cause side effects like cottonmouth.
Different CBD forms result in various side effects. For instance, smoking or dabbing CBD can damage your lungs and cause sore throat, severe coughing, and dryness in the mouth for some users.
Using Sprays & Tinctures
CBD-infused sprays and tinctures are applied directly into the mouth and quickly reach the salivary glands, causing dry mouth.
Using these CBD forms more frequently can cause an unpleasant stinging sensation and burns, in some cases.
Vaping CBD is much safer than smoking as it produces less toxic byproducts. However, the thinning agents and flavoring additives used in vaping oil pose serious health hazards.
When vaped, these harmful additives may result in cottonmouth, severe cough, and lung injuries for some users.
What Can I Do About Dry Mouth From CBD?
Experiencing dryness in the mouth and throat after ingesting CBD is quite common. It often doesn’t take much CBD consumption to induce this adverse effect. Heavy CBD users may experience a constant dry mouth effect, which can be highly annoying.
Preventing cottonmouth is better than having to combat it when it happens. Here are a few remedies that can help de-escalate this unpleasant experience before it escalates.
1. Stay Hydrated
The best way to reduce or prevent the offset of cottonmouth while using CBD oil is to consume plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Also, drinking other hydrating liquids immediately before, during, and after consuming CBD can help mitigate this annoying issue to a certain extent. Drinking warm herbal teas can keep you hydrated and prevent an irritated or sore throat.
2. Increase Saliva Production
Using toothpaste and lozenges that promote saliva production can help mouth dryness. Sucking on hard candies or lollipops is also helpful. Taking demulcent cough drops will create a moist film coating on the mucous membranes and prevent dryness in the throat and mouth.
3. Chew Gum
Opting for CBD-infused chewing gum is one of the best and innovative ways to include this supplement in your diet. The CBD gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the capillaries present in your tongue. Most natural CBD gum supplements do not contain artificial ingredients and are flavored with peppermint essential oil and xylitol.
Another method to effectively cure cottonmouth is by chewing gums that contain xylitol. This natural sugar helps stimulate the salivary glands and increases the production of saliva in the mouth.
These CBD chewing gums are available in different potencies, so stick to the recommended dosage to avoid this effect.
4. Try Another Form of CBD
When using CBD, opt for topical or oral consumption instead of vape or smoke inhalation. Numerous CBD products are available that do not require vaping or smoking. This protects your lungs and prevents harmful components like carbon monoxide from infiltrating your bloodstream.
Ingesting CBD capsules, oils, and edibles is less harmful and prevent dryness in the mouth and sore throat. Also, CBD gels, lotions, balms, and creams can prevent CBD from causing the dry effect in the mouth, as it only acts on the site of application.
5. Eat Fruit
Fresh citrus fruits like orange, pineapple, or lemon can help eliminate dry mouth. Some individuals claim that drinking pineapple juice has helped. However, you can try different fruit juices to find out which one is effective for you.
Chewing on dry fruits, beef jerky, or sucking ice cubes will also help stimulate saliva production and keep your mouth well hydrated, reducing this side effect to a great extent.
Other Side Effects of CBD
Though CBD has a good tolerance and side effect profile, it’s not free from adverse effects. Generally, CBD products are considered safe for oral consumption or topical application. In some cases, it can cause mild side effects.
Patients on medications such as blood thinners need to be careful as CBD can interact with different medicines and cause adverse reactions.
Here are some of the most common side effects of CBD.
Some users experience indigestion or diarrhea while consuming CBD.
This unfortunate symptom happens when the oil affects the gastrointestinal tract, leading to diarrhea. Such individuals need to monitor their medical history while using CBD.
Since CBD is an excellent treatment for insomnia, it’s no surprise that users experience sedation or drowsiness while taking CBD products. It’s advisable to adjust your schedule and try taking it before bed.
Low Blood Pressure
Consuming higher doses of CBD can lower blood pressure. This can be risky for individuals diagnosed with low blood pressure or those on medication for high blood pressure.
When this happens, you may feel dizzy or lightheaded. Drink plenty of fluids and lie down to help stabilize blood pressure if this happens to you.
Avoid moving around too much. If you faint, you could seriously injure yourself or others.
Some users may feel nauseous while ingesting CBD products. This varies based on the amount of CBD you consume and how sensitive your body is to CBD oil.
Summary: Does CBD Cause Dry Mouth?
CBD can cause dry mouth but be it over-the-counter or prescribed, CBD supplements can cause adverse reactions if not used as recommended. Usually, the benefits and side effects of CBD are unique for each individual.
Adjusting your dose, chewing gum, eating fruit, and staying hydrated are just a few ways you can help or prevent cottonmouth.
As the body type of each individual is different, the cure won’t look the same for everyone. What works perfectly for one CBD user may not function the same for another. You need to consult your physician before you start consuming CBD supplements daily to minimize unwanted risks.
To avoid severe side effects from impure CBD, purchase your CBD supplements from a certified source. This is the only way you know your product is pure, potent, and will give you the benefits you’re after.