CBD Suppositories: Should You Be Trying Them?

Is it an effective consumption method?


Now that cannabidiol has hit the mainstream, it is available in many forms. CBD oils, tinctures, topicals, capsules, drinks, edibles, and much more are now for sale. If you are considering CBD, consuming it in suppository form is probably your lowest priority. In case you were wondering, a suppository is a form of medication inserted into the rectum. There are also vaginal suppositories.

Yes, you read that right! You’ll doubtless experience shock when you learn that consuming medication in this manner is NOT wildly popular. Even in the vastly growing CBD sector, it is very much a niche market. However, are we making a mistake by overlooking this less than ideal method of using CBD? Read on to find out.

What Are CBD Suppositories?

The clue is in the name! The suppository delivery method for medicine typically involves shoving rocket-shaped capsules into the rectum or vagina. It is used instead of traditional dosing methods such as pills and liquids. The theory is that the drug reaches the bloodstream faster and provides stronger effects than if you relied on oral consumption.

There are also cannabis suppositories on the market designed for use by patients with cancer and other debilitating conditions. According to various reports, this delivery method is very useful in alleviating severe pain without leading to a psychoactive high.

Marijuana suppositories metabolize differently to those containing a drug such as morphine. As a result, you can theoretically consume a large amount of THC without experiencing a feeling of intoxication. As you can imagine, there is a significant benefit to feeling the medicinal effects of a healthy dose of weed without falling prey to couch lock.

If you are still concerned about a potential high, or else you live in a state where marijuana is illegal (or only legal for MMJ cardholders), a CBD suppository is an alternative to a cannabis one. According to sellers of these products, CBD suppositories are excellent for helping males with back pain, and females with menstrual cramps.

What Are the Purported Benefits of CBD Suppositories?

CBD as a whole is not particularly well-researched, so it is no surprise to learn that we are not brimming with scientific evidence in support of cannabidiol suppositories. Proponents claim this form of medication leads to a heightened absorption rate. As you know, the bioavailability rate when consuming any medicine is all-important.

We know that the absorption rate of orally consumed CBD is less than 20% for the most part. Vaporizing CBD offers a rate of between 30% and 55% depending on which study you believe. In any case, when you insert one into the body, the healing compounds become absorbed by mucous membranes and internal cellular walls. In the case of CBD suppositories, the cannabidiol rapidly spreads to organs nearby and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

Dr. Paula-Noel Macfie of the gloriously named company, Back Door Medicine, explained why marijuana suppositories don’t cause a psychoactive high. She said that when you administer the cannabis rectally, its cannabinoids enter the bloodstream directly via cell walls. Then, it goes straight into the body and is distributed swiftly through our vascular system.

As Macfie says, the liver is the key to getting high. When you consume cannabinoids via a suppository, you bypass the liver. Usually, when you smoke weed, the THC moves through the liver to your brain and provides a cerebral high. This is after travelling through the lungs to the villi first. You eliminate this journey with a suppository.

The Pelvic Region & CB Receptors

Researchers have discovered suppository molds in apothecaries dating back to the 12th century. However, the Ancient Babylonians are credited with the ‘invention’ of this form of medication, approximately 4,000 years ago. Scientists also believe the Ancient Egyptians used suppositories for gastrointestinal issues.

You may know that our pelvic region includes a host of nerves that travel up the spine and down our legs. The colon contains a myriad of CB1 and CB2 receptors. In general, manufacturers create a CBD or marijuana suppository by combining hemp or cannabis-infused oils in a carrier oil that becomes hard at lower temperatures.

When you consume weed rectally, it potentially activates the cannabinoid receptors there and could help with conditions such as acute inflammation and hemorrhoids. There are also several essential veins in the rectum that deliver blood to the whole body.

CBD Suppositories for PMS & Period Pain

An estimated 90% of women have experienced PMS, compared to fewer than 20% of men who have suffered erectile dysfunction (ED). Despite this statistic, there have been five times more studies into ED than PMS. For women who endure the agony of PMS, weed is possibly a viable alternative to taking ibuprofen and ‘getting on with it.’

If you are using a CBD suppository for menstrual pain relief, it is necessary to insert the cylinder-shaped device into your vagina. It is similar to using a tampon minus the applicator. The majority of vaginal suppositories have ingredients such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, and hemp oil which enable the cylinder to soften and melt when inside the body.

The CBD goes into the bloodstream via the absorbent mucosa in the vagina. As you apply the CBD directly to the vagina, it begins working on the area instantly. Once again, its possible effectiveness is based on CBD’s interaction with the ECS. As it happens, the ECS is especially prevalent in our reproductive systems such as the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.

How to Use a CBD Suppository

Manufacturers advise storing the suppository in a cool place like the fridge or freezer before insertion because it needs to be firm. When inserting one into your rectum, lie down on your side and pull your knees to your chest. Use your index finger to insert the suppository. Make sure the pointed end goes in first! Insert it until it is at least 2.5cm deep, and possibly up to 4cm, into the rectum to reach the inner anal sphincter.

Avoid slippage by clenching the muscles of the buttocks together, and flex the anus’ inner muscles for up to four seconds. Remain lying sideways for up to three minutes. Please note, fluid will leak from your rectum for a few hours. As a result, experts recommend inserting it before bed.

It is a similar situation when inserting a CBD suppository into the vagina. Cleanse the vagina thoroughly before insertion. You have a couple of options when it comes to assuming the right position. Choice A involves lying on your back with your knees bent. Door #2 requires standing with your knees bent and feet a couple of inches apart.

Insert the suppository gently into the vagina for as far as it will go. Once again, fluid will leak out, so use it at bedtime.

What Does the Science Say About CBD Suppositories?

Not a great deal! There are older studies that question the bioavailability of THC used rectally. A study by Perlin et al., published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1985, discovered no circulating levels of THC in blood plasma after the cannabinoid was administered rectally in rhesus monkeys. According to Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, this study is proof that THC is not absorbed into the bloodstream when used in commercially available formulations.

Interestingly, a study led by ElSohly, also published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Science, this time in 1991, discovered something a little unusual. The researchers found that a chemically modified version of THC, known as THC-HS, is bioavailable in the rectum. In a 2018 study, once again featuring ElSohly, researchers found that the concentration of THC in blood plasma after insertion of a THC-HS suppository was up to 80% bioavailable.

As the entire cannabinoid family exhibits similar phytochemical properties to THC, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that rectal administration isn’t an effective method of using CBD. While the THC-HS extract has excellent bioavailability, it bears no relation to THC or any other cannabinoid.

However, there is some anecdotal evidence in favor of suppositories; at least among those brave enough to try one! In reality, not everyone will have the same response because it depends on your ECS and the condition you are trying to treat. Some women have used CBD suppositories for period pain, only to find that it helps reduce pain during sex rather than alleviating period pain!

Again, this isn’t a huge surprise. CBD is likely an anti-inflammatory compound. Therefore, it has the potential to relax the muscles in your pelvic floor. Extra ingredients such as coconut oil help lubricate the vagina.

Final Thoughts on CBD Suppositories

The jury is still out on the efficacy of CBD suppositories. There are many ways to consume cannabidiol, and the rectal/vagina routes are undoubtedly among the least pleasant. As the CBD market is not regulated, the onus is on you to research brands that offer cannabidiol suppositories.

Most suppositories contain between 25mg and 100mg. They are far from cheap as well. Foria Wellness, one of the biggest names in this particular CBD niche, sell eight 100mg suppositories for $72. If this seems too expensive, you can always try to make your own!

All you need is:

  • Full-spectrum CBD oil.
  • A base such as coconut oil.
  • A suppository mold; you can choose a silicone, plastic, or metal one.

When you assemble these ingredients, here is how you make DIY CBD suppositories:

  • Heat your base oil in a pan.
  • Add in the CBD oil and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour the mix into the mold and put it in the freezer.

Ultimately, only you can decide if you want to try a CBD suppository. To date, there isn’t much in the way of scientific research to prove its effectiveness, but the number of people giving this unconventional method of CBD consumption a try is increasing.

When using a CBD suppository, don’t expect to feel any effects for at least 30 minutes with the vaginal application. If you insert it rectally, you may derive benefits after 15 minutes. When using a homemade CBD suppository, please remember that your base will melt rapidly after contact with your skin. Therefore, keep your medication in the freezer until you are ready to use it.