Updated on January 25, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Many medications cause dry mouth, and medical marijuana is no different. When you have dry mouth, your mouth feels dry like you’re dehydrated, even when you drink the typical amount of water.
Most patients don’t consider dry mouth as a deal-breaker when they weigh the benefits and drawbacks of using marijuana medicine. However, they don’t enjoy having dry mouth, either. With some simple tricks, you can stop feeling like you have a desert in your mouth.
Depending on your condition, the side effects of medical marijuana can also help you. While a side effect like tiredness could inconvenience one patient, it could help another patient who has issues sleeping. In the same way, patients with excess saliva sometimes use medical marijuana because of its mouth-drying properties.
Some folks think that marijuana-related dry mouth only comes from smoking it. However, the dry mouth comes from chemical reactions, not smoke.
Cannabis contains different compounds called cannabinoids. Medical cannabis pros usually focus on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) when they talk about cannabinoids because we have the most knowledge about them.
But, did you know that our own body makes cannabinoids? We have our own receptors for them in our brain and body. Cannabinoid receptors take cannabinoids and communicate their benefits to the rest of our body. One part of our bodies that contains cannabinoid receptors is the submandibular gland, which produces most of the saliva in our mouths. It also makes enzymes that help saliva break down starches.
When cannabinoids interact with the receptors there, the submandibular glands make less saliva and enzymes. So, your mouth won’t have as many substances to keep it wet. Therefore, you get dry mouth.
Patients who don’t desire the reduced saliva cannabis causes have a few options to manage the effect. By using certain management methods, you’ll hardly notice it.
The easiest way to reduce your dry mouth symptoms is to avoid them altogether. If you find that a certain medication doesn’t cause dry mouth, you might want to prioritize it over one that does. Finding the right treatment for you requires a little experimentation, so don’t be afraid to try another medication if your doctor approves.
Can’t avoid having dry mouth when you take your medication? Keep these tips in mind:
Your dry mouth symptoms won’t have any long-term consequences after you stop taking cannabis medicine — they just cause a little discomfort.
Most side effects of cannabis are mild and safe, with the perks outweighing the risks. Check out all the ways marijuana can relieve your symptoms. To get personalized medical advice, a licensed physician with experience recommending cannabis can help you out.