The Unique Benefits of Cannabis Suppositories
Suppositories offer a variety of unique benefits for medical cannabis patients, but are generally underutilized due to a lack of familiarity (and comfort) with this application method. However, suppositories have been used medicinally for centuries, and herbalists and naturopaths often recommend them because of the high level of bioavailability of the the active ingredients. The term suppository generally refers to a medicine that is inserted rectally, but may refer to vaginal medicines as well. Suppositories are usually well-tolerated with minimal side effects.
Why are Suppositories Effective?
Suppositories are effective for systemic pain and inflammation relief because there are numerous cannabinoid receptors in the GI tract that cannabinoids can bind to, and because they absorb rapidly through the GI lining into nearby organs and the bloodstream. In general, suppositories have a faster onset, higher bioavailability, shorter peak and shorter duration than oral administration. It is estimated that suppositories result in about 80% bioavailability, compared with 35% for oral administration. This is largely due to the fact that suppositories bypass roughly two thirds of first-pass metabolism that occurs during digestion.
Benefits of Suppositories
Suppositories are ideal for patients that don’t want to experience the intoxicating effects of THC. This is because the cannabis contained within is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and distributed through the vascular system, bypassing the liver altogether. (The liver converts THC to the more potent and sedative compound 11-hydroxy-THC. When cannabis is smoked or digested, the THC passes through the liver before it reaches the brain).
While suppositories can be therapeutic for a wide variety of different health concerns, they are particularly recommended for patients with urinary problems or digestive problems caused by Crohn’s disease, IBS, prostate cancer and multiple sclerosis (MS). Suppositories are also commonly used by patients who experience nausea as a result of chemotherapy or underlying illnesses, and are unable to consume cannabis edibles as a result. They are an excellent alternative to edibles for use a sleep aid, since they contain no sugar and are ideally used just before bedtime.
Vaginal suppositories such as Endoca CBD suppositories (available at Ceres Natural Remedies) are often a bit different because they should be made with the correct pH to avoid causing negative side effects like yeast infections. Vaginal suppositories that contain THC are typically lower potency because of the extreme sensitivity of vaginal membranes. They are reported to reduce menstrual cramps within 20 minutes (they can be used with tampons), and may also be effective for managing the symptoms of cervical cancer and endometriosis.
Tips for Taking Advantage of the Benefits of Suppositories
While suppositories are simple to use, there are a few key things to know about them:
- Suppositories must be kept refrigerated or frozen until immediately before use because they soften rapidly at room temperature.
- Ensure good hygiene by washing hands before and after use.
- To get the full benefits, suppositories should remain within the body until they have fully absorbed.
- To ensure they remain within the body, suppositories should be used just before bedtime.
- Suppositories with a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio are highly recommended for pain and inflammation.
The suppositories we offer at the dispensary are made locally by Vermont Patients Alliance with just three ingredients – cocoa butter, coconut oil, and cannabis extract (extracted with ethanol). These include:
- 2:1 CBD to THC Made with Indica-dominant cannabis extract, 22mg CBD + 10mg THC. $8 each, 10-packs available via special order for $72 (10% savings)
- THC Made with 17.5mg Hybrid cannabis extract. $8 each, 10-packs available via special order for $72 (10% savings)
Ceres Natural Remedies also offers CBD suppositories including:
- Endoca Made with 50mg CBD each, $52 for a pack of 10
- CBDistillery Made with 50mg CBD each, $30 for a pack of 3
And don’t forget – all medical cannabis patients get 20% off at Ceres on Wellness Wednesdays!