Cottonmouth, Music, Anxiety and Disappearing Medicinal Dispensaries

by Sir Blaze Ridcully and DGO Pufnstuf

Every time I get stoned, I get what people call cottonmouth. Why does this happen whenever I get stoned?

Blaze: For those who aren’t aware or who haven’t experienced this annoying side effect of getting stoned, it’s exactly how it sounds. The inside of your mouth feels like you’ve just shoved a dozen cotton balls inside of it and tried to swallow. It’s as dry as the Sahara Desert. It doesn’t matter if you smoke it or pop a weed gummy. IT’S ALWAYS THERE.

This is because THC, the chemical component in marijuana that gets you high, can block the glands in your body that are supposed to produce saliva.
Hence, the sand-mouthed dryness. While definitely a little uncomfortable, it’s nothing to get too bothered over. Grab a drink, sit back, and let the freaking
stoned ride begin.

Puf: Before I answer, please allow me to put on my nerdy-but-necessary scientist glasses so I can see better. One second. There we go. All good now.

So, when it comes to cottonmouth, Blaze hit the nail on the head. Not sure how, but it happened. Guess there’s a first time for everything, eh?

So, call it what you want: dry mouth, cottonmouth, or some other slang term. The reality is that cottonmouth SUCKS. I hate it. And it happens to me all the dang time. Especially when I smoke flower and am not stoned off of some other type of cannabis product, like an edible (gross) or a vape.

The funny thing about cottonmouth is that until recently, we really didn’t understand much about how exactly weed causes your mouth to dry up like
Spongebob did when visiting his good old buddy, Sandy Cheeks. We all knew from experience that it’s a thing that happens when you smoke weed: your mouth starts to pucker, you feel like your tongue is made of grains of sand, and swallowing becomes an Olympic sport. But what caused it?

Well, we finally have a freaking ANSWERRRRRRRRR. That’s my excitement coming through in all-caps format.

What the new-ish research shows is that THC is now believed to be the cause. It starts with the saliva production in our mouths, which is controlled by our autonomic nervous system. To stimulate saliva production, the brain sends nerve impulses toward the salivary glands. This happens automatically, as you know. We aren’t all sitting around telling our brains to signal our nervous system to produce spit. That would be weird.

Now, when it comes to cottonmouth from THC, scientists believe that the issue happens when the THC you ingest binds to the receptors in the submandibular glands, which stops the glands in your mouth from receiving messages from the nervous system. In turn, they stop producing spit, and your mouth becomes super dry and full of invisible cotton.

Gross but also SO COOL.

That was probably more than you wanted to know, but I don’t care. Can’t stop the nerding out when I have my nerd glasses on. Just try it!

The good news is that you don’t really have to deal with cottonmouth. You aren’t Spongebob. There are special cottonmouth candies you can buy to help temper the issue, or you can just drink some damn water like the rest of us. It’s pretty simple.

Whatever you do, though, don’t think you have to tough out cottonmouth. Ain’t nobody need to deal with that torture. There are easy solutions, like the faucet and a cup. So next time it happens, get some water and call it a day.
Thanks for coming to my weed Ted Talk.

Do you guys have any good suggestions for music to listen to when I get stoned?

Blaze: I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that one of my favorite pastimes when I’m stoned is to scream-sing as obnoxiously as possible. I’m sure my neighbors love it.

I’m a poor singer in the best of circumstances but when I’ve had an edible (or two) and I’ve been smoking a bowl or something, the truth is it’s all over for people’s eardrums.

As a result, most recently, I’ve been on a kick listening to really gut-busting singers, so it’s just that much more annoying to listen to me. This includes bands like The Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, and Black Sabbath. Sorry, Ozzy. You deserve better.
Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to the stoney classics, like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Tom Petty, but, man I love my scream-sing songs. Sorry for
oversharing, everyone!

Puf: Wow. Let me put on my nerd glasses for a second time.

Just kidding. I don’t need them for this because before I got a job writing about weed, I wrote about music so I am a gosh darned expert in stoned music-listening. Consider this your freshman year class on the subject.

So, when it comes to stoned music, I say go with your gut. Every time I smoke I’m in a different music mood. Some days I love blaring awful 1980s hair band music, because there ain’t nothing better than some Night Ranger when you’re on one.

Or, some days I feel like vibing out to something more mellow, so I go with a little Marley or stream a reggae station or some junk. Cliche, I know, but it is what it is. I did not shoot the sheriff either, but I sure as heck will listen to Marley wail about it all night long.

And, other times it’s a mix of like Dirty South rap and god knows what else. To me, those are the best nights — the ones where you hit shuffle in your music library and just let the universe pick the soundtrack. You never know what’s going to pop up next. You could go from Rise Against to Halsey to Journey and it’s fine. It feels seamless, despite being anything but.

So, if I had to give you one recommendation, it would be to take that route. Download a bunch of random music (may I suggest Apple Music for this?) and let the iTunes gods take the wheel. Don’t you worry. They know exactly how to steer.

Is using cannabis a good method to control one’s anxiety? I want to test it out but sometimes weed makes me paranoid.

Blaze: I really think this answer is different for everyone. A couple of years ago, I probably would have said, “no.” Like you, marijuana made me really paranoid to the point where I couldn’t function. All I wanted to do was go to bed so the trip would be over.

These days, however, I’m much more familiar with what I like and how much I can handle in one sitting. As a result, it’s been a really effective way for me to manage my anxiety.

That said, marijuana is obviously not a magic wand that can make your anxiety go away. It may be a good idea for you to consult your doctor or look into getting your medical marijuana card if that’s a route you’re able to take.

Puf: OK, I am really not the person to answer this question at the moment. Let me tell you what happened to me recently. I went to a bar with some friends. I
had a couple of drinks. I live close to said bar, so I had everyone follow me home like lost puppies so we could hang out after said drinks.

And, while they were at my home, I whipped out my trusty bong to pass around because it is always time to pass the dutchie to the left hand side in my casa.
But what happened? No one else wanted to smoke!

So I did what any good pothead would do: I cashed the bowl myself.

This was a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea. The weed I was smoking, which shall not be named, as it is not at fault for my stupidity, caused my anxiety to skyrocket because I wasn’t just smoking out of a bong — I was smoking weed with 32% THC out of a bong.

Shortly after, the world felt like it was spinning and I felt like I was going to puke. My anxiety was at like thermometer- busting levels, and all I wanted to do was lay down and convince myself I was not going to die.

So, that’s what I did.

I say all of this because the reality is that if you’re going to smoke weed, there is a good chance that at some point, some product you ingest or flower that you smoke is going to make you anxious and paranoid. It happens.

You can temper the issue, though. As we’ve said in many other columns, CBD can help cut down on the anxiety levels you experience when you’re stoned.
You can keep some on hand, or you can choose a strain that has higher levels of CBD in it. Either one might help.

It’s also trial and error. If one strain makes you anxious, try a different one. I stay away from straight sativas for the most part because they ratchet my anxiety up to uncontrollable levels. But, I survived… and so will you.

Go into it with the right mindset and don’t expect to get anxious. If you do, ride it out and try something new next time. It’s the only way, young Padawan. The only way.

Why am I seeing fewer and fewer medicinal dispensaries around Colorado?

Blaze: DGO Mag actually covered this story a few years ago. It’s a pretty interesting dilemma because as the rest of the country is starting to become more open to medical marijuana, Colorado seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

Part of the problem is that it’s expensive to license a dispensary, and a lot of business owners don’t want to pay the expense of having both a medical and recreational side of their business. (Both need their own license.) This also doesn’t include all the regulations dispensary owners have to follow as a medical marijuana business.

This definitely sucks for medical marijuana patients, as medical marijuana cards give them access to highly potent products for cheaper than you’d find in a recreational dispensary, and the taxes are a lot cheaper, too.
Puf: Because the world is unfair and it’s not cool.

So, as Blaze said, we did cover that story a few years ago, and the answer is still true today. The expenses that you’re expected to shell out for licensing both types of dispensaries and the hurdles dispensary owners have to jump through to get the licenses are epic, and it makes it tough to do.

Plus, while there are a lot of medical patients who need access to higher potencies and fewer restrictions, Colorado isn’t exactly making it easy for medical patients to get what they need right now.

Throw in the fact that there are fewer and fewer doctors who can approve you for medical cannabis in certain areas (Durango being one of them), and you have a recipe for a perfect storm of nonsense for medical patients.

The state of Colorado really needs to make moves to resolve the issue before people are put in bad predicaments.

There. I’ve said enough. Off my soapbox. But before I go, I do want to say it’s time to FIX THIS BROKEN SYSTEM.

All right. For real, I’m done. Thanks for letting me vent.


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