Cannabis suppositories can be intimidating but may be the best bet yet accessing the benefits of medical cannabis.
Cannabis consumption comes in different forms: inhalation, oral, topical, and a little less commonly, as suppositories. The major benefit of cannabis suppositories is high absorption rate, both rectally and vaginally. This method also puts medicine in closer contact to the bloodstream, allowing rapid uptake with less psychoactive effect.
Oral ingestion can lower the bioavailability of cannabinoids by 20-50%, and inhalation even more so, with too many variables to give an accurate percentage. Suppositories, on the other hand, consistently deliver 50-70% of the cannabinoid medicine. You will generally feel the medicinal effects in about 10-15 minutes, and they will generally last 4-8 hours.
Rectal Cannabis Suppositories for Pain and Cancer Treatment
One of the key advantages, especially for pain management in cancer patients, is reducing the psychoactive state of mind. For some, the therapeutic dose would knock them out for the day, which is not ideal when you are trying to live your life while getting better. Rectal administration, via suppository, bypasses the liver and the cannabinoid medicine goes directly into the bloodstream. Doctors believe that only 50% of the THC administered will then be processed by liver, thereby reducing the “high”.
A word of caution – rectal suppositories can leak. The carrier oil or butter will melt with your body heat and some can leave the anus and leak onto your clothes. Solutions include wearing a pad or taking it at bedtime when you will be lying down.
Vaginal Cannabis Suppositories Help With Menstrual Pain
It’s important to note that rectal suppositories are not necessarily appropriate for the vagina. The vaginal environment is more sensitive, therefore the suppositories have different ingredients. A myriad of women’s issues can be treated with suppositories, such as menstrual cramps, vaginal dryness, and endometriosis.
A word of caution from gynaecologist Dr. Farid Abdel Hadi: inserting any foreign substance into the vagina upsets its ecosystem and can make women more prone to infection. So, you want to make sure your suppositories are lab tested and verified to be safe for vaginal insertion. Dr. Hadi adds that women who use vaginal gels and regularly douche are more prone to these vaginal infections. As an aside, there is no reason for a woman to douche. The vagina is not dirty and it self cares in terms of removing any unwanted substances.
This is one of the main drawbacks for using vaginal suppositories – the discharge. The carrier for the cannabinoid medicine is usually coconut oil or cocoa butter and the sloughing off for that is going to get messy. Women will need to wear a pad to collect the discharge. It is also important to inform yourself about multiple aspects of the medecine before taking it. This includes the size of the suppositories, how to store them (usually in the fridge or freezer), different types and percentages of cannabis in them (indica vs sativa, THC vs CBD), and how long to wait before using them again.
Who Benefits Most From Cannabis Suppositories?
Anyone can use cannabis suppositories, but some examples of those who benefit most are:
- people with difficulty swallowing
- those with nausea or vomiting
- patients with an eating disorder
- those who are very frail or ill and require pain relief.
Suppositories are a preferable solution for palliative care patients, where the route of administration is easier to handle for both the patient and the caregiver.
Where Do I Get Cannabis Suppositories?
A big problem is availability in different states and Canada. In established medical cannabis markets, like Colorado, cannabis suppositories are widely available. In the newer markets, not so much. Online sources also exist, but we have not tried these yet and therefore can’t recommend them. Consequently, look for reviews and lab-tested results before making your purchase.
There are still many question marks about dosing around cannabis medicine, precisely due to prohibition. Research will catch up. In the mean time, use the golden rule: start low and go slow. Another good measure it to not start with anything over 3mg THC in the suppository. Be brave and discover a new way to take your medicine that may improve your health faster than any other method.