Answered: Can Cannabis Dehydrate You? Here’s What Science Says.
In cannabis culture, we’ve all heard about or experienced the popular concept of “cotton mouth” –– a feeling of intense thirst and dry mouth immediately following a blunt, joint, or edible.
But the question is: Does weed dehydrate you? And if not, then why am I chugging water, Gatorade, hot tea, and soda when I’m high?
What causes traditional dehydration?
For cannabis users, it’s important to understand dehydration to explain its role in cannabis use.
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in. That fluctuation in water impacts the body’s mineral balance which triggers symptoms of dehydration like dry eyes, tiredness, dry mouth, dark urine, and lightheadedness.
Causes of dehydration include:
- Physical exercise
If you do not get enough water, you can be at risk of significant health problems such as kidney problems, seizures, and drops in blood pressure.
Dehydration is serious. So it makes sense to feel concerned about cannabis’ role in the body’s hydration levels.
So, can cannabis dehydrate you?
The short answer is no –– cannabis use on its own does not dehydrate you. Those common feelings of dry mouth, dizziness, and thirst all fit the bill for dehydration, but that’s not actually what’s happening to your body.
The fact is, CBD and THC do not impact your body’s fluid levels. Since the fluid level of marijuana users is not impacted by the plant, it cannot fit the definition of dehydrating.
Marijuana use does, however, decrease your saliva excretion –– which is what causes “cotton mouth”. Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) attaches to the cannabinoid receptors in the salivary glands and prevents them from releasing saliva into the mouth.
Some other reasons cannabis can be associated with dehydration are:
- Consuming alcohol with weed: Alcohol and cannabis are often consumed together. Alcohol does cause dehydration.
- Consuming tobacco with weed: Nicotine also causes dehydration as a side effect and would be the cause of your body’s dehydration if consumed alongside smoking marijuana.
- Eating salty or sugary food: The “munchies” may lead you to eat salty or sugary food. These foods cause dehydration.
There is one rare circumstance where cannabis can cause dehydration. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a condition that leads to continuous vomiting. The condition occurs when cannabinoids bind to the digestive tract. This intense vomiting will lead to dehydration and can be dangerous if left untreated.
In short, if you’re consuming traditional cannabis, you aren’t actually thirsty, your body is playing tricks on you!
How to avoid feeling thirsty when you smoke weed
While we’ve debunked the myth that cannabis alone makes you dehydrated, it’s still unpleasant to feel thirsty and have a dry mouth. Plus, you can still experience a weed hangover the day after smoking. So it’s important to prioritize hydration.
Here’s how you can improve wellness and help prevent an overly dry mouth when smoking:
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after smoking weed. If you drink water while smoking, you’ll keep your mouth moist.
- Include some electrolytes in your water intake. Electrolytes are responsible for directing water to the places in the body where it’s needed most.
- Try sipping on warm beverages, such as tea. These warm drinks can soothe your throat if you’re inhaling smoke.
- Eat fruits or vegetables. Foods that typically provide the highest water content are raw fruits and vegetables.
- Relax. Stress and anxiety can sometimes occur with cannabis consumption. If this is happening to you, it can also cause dehydration. Take some time to relax and breathe to limit stress.
Want to learn more about cannabis? Take an online cannabis course!
THC University is recognized as the best foundational cannabis program for those early in their cannabis careers. The 10 courses that are in the all-access bundle help students quickly get up to speed on “industry speak”. Graduates can use their knowledge immediately in their job search or throughout their careers.