Can Cannabis Dehydrate You?

October 21, 2022
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Can cannabis dehydrate you?

Cannabis use can make you feel thirsty. You may have experienced a feeling of thirst when smoking or ingesting cannabis that made you drink water. Can cannabis dehydrate you?

The answer is a little complicated. While it’s true that cannabis can make you thirstier than usual, it doesn’t cause dehydration in the same way as drinking too much alcohol or caffeine does.

A lot of people are curious if cannabis can dehydrate you. Fortunately, this article answers common cannabis and thirst questions such as “Does smoking weed cause dehydration?”, “Why does weed make you thirsty?”, “Do edibles dehydrate you,” and, “Can THC dehydrate you?” 

By the end of this article, you’ll understand the feelings of thirst associated with cannabis use and know if cannabis can dehydrate you.

Does weed dehydrate you?

Does weed dehydrate you? It's a common question with a complicated answer. To be able to answer this question we first must understand what dehydration is.

The Mayo Clinic explains that "dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn't have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don't replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated."

We lose fluids daily through breathing, sweat, tears, urine, bowel movements, and saliva. When we over-exercise or are not well and experience fever, heavy sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea the amount of water and fluids the body loses exponentially increases which can lead to dehydration.

Symptoms of dehydration in adults include:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Dizziness
  • Dry, cool skin
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Heat injury
  • Hypovolemic shock (low blood sugar)
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Less frequent urination
  • Low urination frequency or no urination
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Thirst
  • Urinary and kidney problems
  • Very dry skin

Can weed cause dehydration?

Weed can cause dehydration in a very small subset of long-term frequent use cannabis consumers who develop Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome. Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is a condition that leads to repeated and severe bouts of vomiting.

More research on Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome is needed. What is currently understood about it is that the body of a heavy cannabis consumer stops responding to the anti-nausea properties found in cannabis and instead induces nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and consequently dehydration (as a result of vomiting).

Does marijuana dehydrate you?

Marijuana consumption does not prompt the body to lose fluids. If you are not a long-term frequent cannabis consumer with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome it is unlikely that you will ever become dehydrated from the consumption of marijuana.

Even when you consume marijuana and feel thirsty it is important to note that the Mayo Clinic shares that most adults don't feel thirsty until they're already dehydrated and that "thirst isn't always a reliable early indicator of the body's need for water."

Do edibles dehydrate you?

Edibles do not dehydrate you. It is important to note that while edibles will not dehydrate you, it is possible to become dehydrated if you consume too many edibles. The effects of an edible can last much longer than smoking or vaping cannabis (anywhere from 6-12 hours) and if you find yourself consumed by the high it is easy to forget to drink water.

If you are ever unsure if you are drinking enough water while consuming edibles be sure to check your urine color. If your urine is dark yellow then you need to hydrate and drink more water.

Does smoking weed cause dehydration?

Now that you have answers to the question "Does weed dehydrate you" and "Do edibles dehydrate you" you may be wondering "Does smoking weed cause dehydration." Let’s dive into smoking weed and dehydration. Smoking weed involves two components: the effects of cannabis and the effects of smoke.

Does smoking weed make you dehydrated?

Smoking weed does not dehydrate you, however smoking can dry out your mouth. While THC causes feelings of thirst, the effects are temporary and are not related to dehydration.

It's important to keep in mind that while cannabis may not cause dehydration, it can make you feel thirstier than usual. So, while weed won't cause you to lose fluids like other diuretics such as alcohol or caffeine, it can make you feel thirsty which can lead to consuming more fluids and even possibly over-hydrating.

Why does weed make you thirsty?

Have you ever experienced a dry mouth when consuming cannabis? If so, you're not alone. If you have ever experienced "cottonmouth" and wondered the answer to this question, you'll want to check out "why does weed make you thirsty?"

But to give you an overview: when you consume THC through inhalation, ingestion, buccally, or sublingually, the THC attaches to submandibular glands, which are glands in your mouth that produce saliva. Submandibular glands have cannabinoid receptors. When THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the submandibular glands, saliva production is inhibited. When saliva production is inhibited, your mouth feels dry, prompting the urge to drink water. 

Can THC dehydrate you?

The thirst sensation from weed is the result of temporary low saliva production brought on by THC binding to salivary glands, rather than from dehydration. THC does not directly induce or cause the body to lose fluids - which is necessary for a substance to cause dehydration. In other words, THC does not dehydrate you. 

Key takeaways

  1. In most people, cannabis consumption does not prompt the body to lose fluids.
  2. If you are not a long-term frequent cannabis consumer with Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome, it is unlikely that you will become dehydrated from cannabis.
  3. If you are ever unsure if you are drinking enough water while consuming edibles, be sure to check your urine color. If your urine is dark yellow then you need to hydrate and drink more water.
  4. Smoking weed does not dehydrate you. While tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may temporarily inhibit saliva production resulting in a dry mouth it does not cause dehydration.

Get started on your cannabis wellness journey

Have you started your cannabis wellness journey? Jointly is a new cannabis wellness app that helps you discover purposeful cannabis consumption so you can achieve your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD. On the Jointly app, you can find new cannabis products, rate products based on how well they helped you achieve your goals, and track and optimize 15 factors that can impact your cannabis experience. These 15 factors include your dose, the environment in which you consume cannabis, who you are with when you ingest, how hydrated you are, the quality of your diet, how much sleep you got last night, and more. Download the Jointly app on the App Store or the Google Play Store to get started on your cannabis wellness journey.