If you have been using cannabis long enough, or even if you have just been reading about it for quite some time, then you may already be familiar with the different methods of using the drug and the different kinds of cannabis-based products. There’s cannabis in dried bud form, which you can roll into joints and smoke. There’s cannabis e-liquid, which you can vape using a vape pen. You can also use a bong or bubbler. Then you have cannabis tinctures and oils, capsules, topicals, and edibles.
But do you know that there are suppositories made of cannabis extracts, too?
Many may cringe at the idea of slipping pot into their anus, but there are people who use this so-called “back door” method to find relief for ailments like Crohn’s disease and chronic pain.
Moreover, a growing number of doctors and patients prefer cannabis suppositories because they find the other methods not too ideal. For instance, vaping requires the use of expensive and conspicuous equipment, smoking is bad for the lungs, edibles and topicals can be hard to dose, and oil does not taste pleasant at all.
So how does a suppository work?
Cannabis suppositories are bullet-shaped cocoa butter filled with cannabidiol (CBD) extract. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and therefore does not create a high. There are also suppositories infused with the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
With its bullet shape and smooth, slippery texture, the cannabis suppository can be easily inserted into the rectum.
Why the anus?
Addictions specialist Dr. Paul Farnan of the University of British Columbia believes that opting for this “final portal” could hold the secret to safely using pot.
A number of medically active compounds like caffeine, laxatives, and opioids have been in administered traditionally in suppository form. And why cannabis be treated differently?
Our body best absorbs certain substances into the bloodstream through the mucous membranes, which comprises any of the body’s wet tissues like the mouth, the nasal passage, the stomach, the lung, the urethra, and the rectum. However, these membranes are not equal when it comes to their ability to absorb compounds.
Mikhael Kogan, medical director at the Center for Integrative Medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said that the lungs, for one, are just not very great at this and neither is the stomach due to its gastric acids.
What this means is that smoking pot or eating cannabis-based food are not efficient ways of administering the drug. And this is also why more doctors are trying an alternative method.
According to Kogan, rectal administration is a more preferred because of the superior absorption properties of the rectum. You can put a lot more suppositories and it gets absorbed better, he added.
Moreover, with anally absorbed cannabis, there appears to be a lot more control in the dosage. The effects come fast, too. Putting the product in the anus is said to bring in rapid systemic effects and it reduces the psychoactive effects of the drug. So yes, it is more ideal for those who use weed for medicinal purposes than for recreational purposes.
Plus, with rectal suppositories, cancer patients will have an easier time taking weed. You can just imagine cancer patients who have trouble eating food due to chemotherary-induced nausea and vomiting, let alone puffing smoke. At least with suppositories, they don’t have to struggle keeping cannabis oil down.