How Marijuana Suppositories Can Save Lives

This is a common reaction to the suggestion that cannabis can be used as a suppository. Rectal administrations (suppositories) have an unfairly bad reputation in North America, despite the diverse benefits they offer. This article aims to educate about the advantages associated with the rectal application of cannabis and provide a simple set of guidelines for the effective use of suppositories.

There are many advantages to the rectal administration of cannabis not afforded by other routes. Medicine may still be administered even if the oral route is impaired (e.g., due to vomiting, an injured jaw or throat, or gastrointestinal difficulties) or disallowed due to the oral intake restrictions that are frequently required both before and after surgery. Avoiding the gastrointestinal tract also prevents first-pass metabolism by the stomach and liver, which break down many different molecules into their constituent parts (including ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC), and allows the active constituents to reach the blood in much higher concentrations.

In the case of THC, the liver transforms around half of what is ingested into the significantly more psychoactive metabolite 11-Hydroxy-?9-tetrahydrocannabinol. While not harmful in and of itself and potentially of therapeutic benefit, this molecule causes much more intense cognitive effects than THC. Rectal administration not only avoids these effects, but also allows a much greater proportion of THC to eventually reach the blood stream. This increase in overall efficiency is also shown in the different levels of bioavailability that different administration routes afford, as seen in Fig. 1. Rectal administration also allows for medicine to exert effects over localized ailments (e.g., hemorrhoidal tissue, inflammation of the rectum, or tumors in the rectal cavity). This form of use also has a much faster uptake than oral administration (around 10 minutes, on average) and leads to more consistent blood concentrations of the active constituents. The speed and reliability of their uptake combined with their circumvention of many of the issues surrounding both ingestion and inhalation make rectal applications an excellent addition to both new and pre-existing therapeutic regimens.

– Read the entire article at AlterNet.