Smoking cannabis, eating it, vaping it and applying it topically are all pretty conventional ways to use marijuana. But did you know that it’s now possible to take cannabis rectally? Yes, that’s right – weed in your anus. Your initial reaction might be – OK, too far! But don’t make the judgement before you’ve read this article on how it works and why people swear by it.
But even the most experienced marijuana user might get a little shy about sticking weed up their bum. Wait, where? Yes, rectal – or vaginal – cannabis. It’s a new trend, you might say. And perhaps when you stop blushing and give it a go, you will thank us for it.
All jokes aside, rectal cannabis really is a revolution in the way that we have come to use weed. It offers amazing health benefits that smoking simply can’t match up to. The body absorbs much more of the potent medicinal material while bypassing (at least according to science) the high associated with THC. For many people, this sounds like a dream.
Cannabis suppositories are probably the only way to consume THC without the stoned side effect. Until now, people have resorted to CBD-only medicine such as CBD oil to mitigate the psychoactive effect, missing the magic synergy of THC and CBD when they are working together.
In fact, rectal marijuana might be the fastest acting and most effective method of consumption. So before you screw your nose up at the idea, have a read of this guide to cannabis suppositories.
But why should you use rectal marijuana?
Why then, might someone opt for the in-the-butt method of marijuana? You know, taking drugs rectally isn’t really that new of a thing. It’s just new when it comes to weed. And in case you’re wondering, a cannabis suppository does not involve sticking a bud up your anus. It’s a little less anatomically impossible, and a little more sophisticated than that.
A cannabis suppository is usually made of a cannabis infusion into coconut oil, which is shaped something like a tampon or suppository. It makes for easy insertion, melts very easily once inside and can then be absorbed through the rectal veins, straight into the bloodstream.
Some of the reasons that someone might bite the bullet, and insert it into their rectum or vagina:
- For one reason or another, there is a difficulty in swallowing pills or capsules
- There is a desire to medically treat the area surrounding the rectum, such as the anus, intestines and even stomach
- Or in case it is used vaginally: to treat diseases relating to the vagina or menstrual cramps
- The person doesn’t want to experience the psychoactive effect but wants to consume THC. Science acknowledges that this method doesn’t get you high, although some anecdotal evidence suggests that there might be a high tied into this experience (for example if you have a very low cannabis tolerance).
- The body absorbs much more cannabinoid material, therefore making it more efficient
So, taking cannabis rectally might not be a “recreational” way to use marijuana, unless you’re of the very experimental kind. However, for some medical patients, it’s actually the ideal method of consumption.
How do cannabis suppositories work?
We’ve already mentioned the most basic, and very obvious ways that a cannabis suppository works. It’s usually made out of cannabis and coconut oil and is inserted via the rectum or sometimes vagina, depending on the purpose it’s being used. But what happens after that?
First, the material that makes the suppository must melt and dissolve through the aqueous membrane that lines the rectum. If you know anything about cannabinoids, you know that they aren’t soluble in water. Rather, they are soluble in fats. So how do the cannabinoids get past this watery membrane and into the bloodstream? Actually, that much remains a little bit of a mystery.
This unconventional method of marijuana administration was tested on monkeys. Using the suppository alone, the bioavailability of THC (meaning: how much of the compound can actually be absorbed by the body) was basically nothing at all. However, when they added THC’s hemisuccinate ester, THC-HS, the bioavailability was measured at 13.5%.
Anyhow, supposing that, with or without the presence of this hemisuccinate, the cannabinoids made it into the bloodstream, a very interesting biological phenomenon is bypassed. Usually, when we consume edibles, cannabinoids reach our blood stream through our gastrointestinal tract.
During this metabolism of cannabinoids, THC is converted to 11-OH-THC, which is, very unusually, much more psychedelic than THC. In most cases, metabolites are less potent than the original molecule, but not in this case!
THC has another chance to be converted to its more psychedelic counterpart when it goes through the liver. This happens after it passes through the GI tract. After being metabolized by the liver, the cannabinoids enter the general bloodstream. This is why edible cannabis is often a much more psychedelic experience.
Getting back to rectal weed, this metabolic process is completely bypassed. The cannabinoids enter the blood stream through rectal veins, taking effect very quickly – within 15 minutes. There is no metabolism of cannabinoids via the GI tract or the liver, and CBD and THC make it into the bloodstream as they are.
Once in the bloodstream, the effects can last anywhere between four and eight hours. However, the psychoactive effect is generally bypassed because of a lack of metabolism. A high is felt, but much more on a physical than psychological or cerebral level.
What are the benefits of using rectal marijuana?
The most obvious benefit of using rectal cannabis is localized treatment. If you are experiencing rectal issues, such as a fissure, it just makes sense to use a suppository. Any kind of medical issue relating to the nether regions is going to be treated much faster with rectal administration rather than oral.
However, there is some speculation that cannabinoids are much more bioavailable after rectal administration than otherwise. There hasn’t been all that much research on the matter, except the monkey experiment mentioned above. But there is one doctor in the USA who is dedicating a lot of resources towards cannabis suppositories.
Dr. Paula-Noel Macfie created Back Door Medicine, a group dedicated to cannabis suppository education. She says that when cannabis is smoked, 15-25% of cannabinoids reach the bloodstream. When eaten, 25-30% are received. However, after rectal administration, 75-80% of the cannabinoids become bioavailable. To preachers of suppository style, this is the most important benefit of suppositories.
Can you use cannabis vaginally?
While vaginal cannabis suppositories are different (usually made specifically for insertion into the vagina), they follow the same kinds of principles. Women who experience cramping during menstruation or have diseases in the vagina such as endometriosis can expect better relief from suppositories. It’s localized, it’s concentrated, and it bypasses metabolism.
For example, companies such as Fairwinds create specially formulated suppositories for the vagina. The natural ingredients include cocoa butter, shea butter, and cannabis oil extracted from buds. They even include some other herbs that are good for the vagina.
The main idea is “put the cannabinoids where it hurts”. Sure, it’s nice to smoke ganja when you’re crampy. But most of us can ashamedly admit that it doesn’t always help with the pain itself. Rather, it helps us care less that we are in pain. However, the suppository is designed to provide relief exactly where it’s needed.
We think cannabis suppositories are “up-there” with some of the best inventions of the cannabis industry. They are becoming more and more available in places where cannabis is legal. And if you can’t find them, you can make your own at home!
Overall, the major benefit of rectally consumed cannabis versus orally consumed cannabis is that you get more of the good stuff, without the cognitive impairment. And when it comes to using cannabis for medical reasons, this just about takes the cake.