Why Does Smoking Cannabis Make Me Thirsty? Dry Mouth Effect

Hmm is it me or swallowing just levelled up to expert mode?
12 January 2021
6 min read
Why Does Smoking Cannabis Make Me Thirsty? Dry Mouth Effect

  • 1. What is cottonmouth and what causes it?
  • 2. Why does weed make us thirsty?
  • 3. How to cope with the dry mouth effects
  • 3. a. Drink water, duh!
  • 3. b. Have some chewing gum or candy
  • 3. c. Have a drop of cough medicine
  • 3. d. Be patient and relax!
  • 4. Funny cottonmouth pranks
  • 4. a. The crackers challenge
  • 4. b. The peanut butter betrayal
  • 5. The bottom line

Have you ever tried to take a bite after smoking some weed only to realize that swallowing became one of the most challenging tasks you had to do? Or even worse, you're on a date, you've both shared a nice and romantic joint together but now it's the moment to kiss and both tongues feel as rough as a cat's tongue. We bet you know what we're talking about. 

As you sense the dryness inside your whole mouth, you desperately seek for water to come and rescue you from the nightmare you've put yourself in. And just then, lesson learned, no more smoking weed without having any water at hand.


Find out what causes a dry mouth after smoking cannabis.

Find out what causes a dry mouth after smoking cannabis.


There are some basic, well-known effects that take place after cannabis consumption, these including the typical giggling, the puffy red eyes, and the dry mouth feeling.

Let's find out what causes this thirst and cottonmouth feeling.

1. What Is Cottonmouth and What Causes It? 

The term cottonmouth or the pasties is the slang that people use to refer to the mouth dryness caused by marijuana consumption. So what causes this dryness? 

While people would most likely believe that cottonmouth is caused due to smoking, this isn't precisely the case. Mouth dryness and thirst after cannabis consumption is mainly attributed to one of the most famous cannabinoids in the weed family, tetrahydrocannabinol, THC. 

By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, the cannabinoids produce the different effects provided by the plant, such as feeling high, boosting the appetite, some amazing health benefits, and, of course, the famous mouth dryness. 1

There is a decrease in salivation when the cannabinoids reach two types of neurotransmitters known as methacholine and norepinephrine. These receptors produce changes in the signaling on cells, on a molecular level, which leads to this lowered saliva production, hence, the dry mouth. 

The production of saliva takes place mostly in the submandibular glands under the mouth, and cannabinoids like THC and CBD bind to these receptors found in the salivary glands. 

The process is simple. When the cannabinoid enters our body and reaches these receptors, it attaches itself to them, which in turn causes the glands to ignore the messages sent by the nervous system. As a result, saliva production is paused by the nervous system, which leads to the sandpaper feeling in your mouth. 

2. Why Does Weed Make Us Thirsty?

Well, it all just makes sense. When we feel our mouth is dry, don't we simply understand that our body is screaming for water

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that cannabis is the cause of your dehydration. When you're feeling thirsty after having smoked some cannabis, although it indeed causes the dry mouth effect, this isn't actually the reason for your thirst. 

Dehydration is a phenomenon that takes place when the human body is losing or using more fluid than what it's intaking, which as a result leads the body to not have enough water or fluid to perform its basic tasks, for instance, flushing out toxins through urine or helping you lower your temperature by sweating. 


Although weed produces the common cottonmouth, it isn't the cause for dehydration.

Although weed produces the common cottonmouth, it isn't the cause for dehydration.


What all this translates to is: if you're feeling thirsty after smoking weed, the odds are that you were already dehydrated before you had consumed it, it's just that the discomfort produced by the dryness in your mouth made you realize that you needed to take some water.

Keep in mind that thirst is a bad sign that you're dehydrated, when you're already feeling thirsty it means you have actually reached a high level of dehydration. You should try to drink water all through the day to avoid reaching this point of thirst and dehydration. 

Some signs of dehydration also include: 

  • Dark-colored pee;
  • Feeling lazy;
  • Dizziness; 
  • And confusion.

A couple of the signs mentioned before are also normal for a cannabis high, so make sure you're not mistaking your dehydration for a weed high by drinking some water, just in case. Cautious better than sorry. 

3. How to Cope With The Dry Mouth Effects

So, if you find yourself struggling and getting annoyed with the dry dessert inside your mouth then it's time to go through some of the remedies that can alleviate the discomfort. 


It's all fun and games until you can't swallow. Find out how to relieve cottonmouth.

It's all fun and games until you can't swallow. Find out how to relieve a cottonmouth.


Every stoner has to struggle with this annoying feeling at least a couple of times in a lifetime. Sometimes it's a soft dryness, but others it really feels like a matter of life and death, exaggerating, of course. And while some stoners could act tough and bear with it, if there are indeed some remedies then why shouldn't you turn to them?

Drink Water, Duh!

Well, it takes no Einstein to figure out that if you're feeling the horrible cottonmouth sensation, drinking some water is simply all you need to do. If you don't have water at hand, maybe have a few sips of tap water, if possible, maybe in the bathroom or kitchen. 

Don't have water? (Seriously?) If you're surrounded by any type of drinks, but water, then do have a sip of beer or wine, or whatever that looks liquid and hydrating. 

Have Some Chewing Gum or Candy

One of the best ways to get your saliva production going is chewing. However, eating cookies or a piece of cake isn't precisely what we mean, given that it will most likely turn into a very tough challenge. 

Something more like chewing gum is what we mean, besides, it'll give you that extra nice flavor, wink-wink to all of those who like the stoner dating type. 

Extra Tip

Opt for sour flavors for an even wetter mouth, since they tend to produce way more saliva than other sweeter flavors. 

Another great alternative to kickstart that shy saliva is eating some candies or a lollipop perhaps. Lollipops and candies will have you almost drooling, which is great if you were struggling with a dry mouth. Sucking on hard candies has a similar effect to chewing, boosting your saliva production. 

Have a Drop of Cough Medicine

Now we wouldn't really recommend this option, but if you consider desperate times call for desperate measures then we won't stop you, buddy. 

If you feel like neither water, candies, chewing gum, or lollipops are doing the job, and you're really freaking out about it, then try turning to cough medicine for help. 

These over the counter medicines are responsible for relieving the irritation in the mucous membranes of the mouth, forming a protective film that will work as a moisturizer for your cottonmouth. 

Be Patient and Relax! 

No one has ever died from consuming marijuana, and even less from a dry mouth. So if you're so unlucky that you find yourself out of resources for dealing with your mouth dryness, then folk, you'll just have to wait. 


Chill and wait for your dry mouth to pass!

Chill and wait for your dry mouth to pass!

You'll likely forget about the dryness in a matter of minutes, so try getting distracted, chat a little with your friends, occupy yourself with some other activity, and before you know it you'll have forgotten.

Anyway, do have some water once you get the chance, in general, drink. more. water. 

4. Funny Cottonmouth Pranks

If you're a little devilish, there are a few pranks you can make on your dear stoner friends involving cottonmouth.

The Crackers Challenge

The first one is challenging them to eat 3 crackers in a row as fast as they can by saying something like "did you know it's scientifically proven you can't actually do so? Oh, you don't believe me, try it!" Not that anyone, aham, my brother, has ever done that to me. 

The Peanut Butter Betrayal

Another cool one is giving someone a spoon of peanut butter instead of the crackers. Peanut butter is such a traitor, it's so tempting that they won't be able to say no, and since it's already quite hard to swallow itself, imagine with a dry mouth. Your friend will not be happy. 


Trick a friend into eating peanut butter when they have a dry mouth!

Trick a friend into eating peanut butter when they have a dry mouth!


Just make sure that the person you're pranking is not one of those people who get super pissed off at these kinds of things, or actually yes, because when the person gets madly angry it's just funnier for the rest of us. 

5. The Bottom Line

As we exhaustively repeat, cannabis has never killed anyone, so don't really worry if you're dealing with a dry mouth after you've smoked one, it's part of the process of being high. 

It's like enjoying alcohol comes along with the hungover feeling the next day, only less of a bummer, you'll just notice it for a second and most likely forget some minutes afterward. 

Don't forget to learn from your experiences and bring a bottle of water along with you the next time you get together for a smoke with your friends. 



  1. "Inhibition of salivary secretion by activation of cannabinoid receptors" Juan Pablo Prestifilippo, Javier Fernández Solari, Carolina de la Cal, María Iribarne, Angela M. Suburo, Valeria Rettori, Samuel M. McCann, and Juan Carlos Elverdin.
12 January 2021