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Cannabis through the back door

The University of Mississippi is the only college in the USA permitted to grow marijuana for research purposes. But until recently we heard of no cannabis research reports from the pharmacology department, or any other department come to that.

Now things are starting to change. An article in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids reported that a clinical trial involving 42 men dosing for 14 days with rectal suppositories showed promising results, although there are no photos to go with this story.

“Delivery of [THC] via the suppository route could have several practical advantages,” wrote the authors, who are affiliated with the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy.

The method could be preferable when patients have difficulty swallowing oral medication. It also provided “longer and higher exposure” of THC than oral consumption, while minimizing psychoactive effects, the study reported.

Infused vaginal suppositories are another option. Leafly.com correspondent Lisa Rough and other cannabis writers have documented their experiments with products including Foria Relief, a vaginal suppository that may provide some relief for menstrual cramps.

Some patients choose to use rectal suppositories for the potential localized effects in treating conditions like Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or colon cancer, and it still works for chronic pain, nausea, and muscle spasm as well, experts report.

Understandably, the market for suppositories is still pretty small. Most people aren’t comfortable with the idea of sticking medicine in unusual places, and information on the subject is still a black hole.

Typically, patients who choose suppositories are older, when getting your medicine in the most effective way is paramount. But when it comes to addressing chronic nausea, it may actually work better than other methods, especially for patients with regional symptoms or those who don’t want to consume edibles for either dietary or nausea-related reasons.

Scientists don’t know yet exactly how THC, CBD, or other cannabinoids get absorbed through the rectal cavity or the large intestine, but if you use them, it seems the best advice is to go deep. The large intestine has a more porous membrane than the rectal cavity, which means it may have an easier time absorbing cannabinoids.

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