March 14, 2017
Canada is further along than nearly every other country in embracing cannabis as a legitimate medicine. Health Canada currently licenses 38 companies to produce and distribute medical marijuana. But as for how this medicine should be taken? We’re doing it wrong, all wrong.
Most cannabis is smoked, of course, and both Health Canada and the Canadian Medical Association are both formally opposed to the inhalation of anything burned. This is why “[m]ost” doctors in Canada absolutely “hate” medical marijuana, association spokesman Jeff Blackmer told CBC. After all, one doctor pointed out, we know opiate-based painkillers reduce pain—but we don’t have doctors suggesting we should legalize smoking opium.
So what to do?
Sit down for this one, because here come the backwards puns. The smartest solution is to bend over and take your medical cannabis up the rectum, one doctor told CBC with a straight face.
Mikhail Kogan is a real person and medical director at the Center for Integrative Medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. As he told CBC, he “sees no reason for people to smoke marijuana medically anymore.”
For one, it’s inefficient. Though most of us would argue the effects of smoked cannabis upon the brain and body are immediate, Kogan argues that the lungs make absorbing “enough” of the drug “difficult.” And edibles are no solution, because gastric acids get in the way.
Therefore, the best ways to consume medical cannabis is via other means. Like under the tongue, with a sublingual tincture—or up the rear, with an as-yet-to-be-marketed marijuana suppository.
Take it away, doc.
“Rectally is actually a lot more preferred because of the volume of absorption,” Kogan told CBC. “You can put a lot more and it gets absorbed a lot better, but not everybody is open to this way of administration.”
Yes. Open. Doctor humor.
This notion is neither new nor revolutionary.
According to some sources, rectal suppositories are by far the best option for patients suffering from serious illnesses like cancer. As much as 70 percent of the cannabis is absorbed through the “thin” intestinal wall after a rectal administration. Not only is it efficient, anal cannabis is fast acting.
The cannabis will take effect within 10 to 15 minutes, and last for up to eight hours.
You’ll know it’s working when you feel a “warm, liquid feeling that starts in the pelvis and spreads throughout the rest of the body,” according to Pamela Hadfield, the co-founder of cannabis physician on-demand service Hello MD. “If you’ve been experiencing pain or anxiety, the symptoms will likely begin to subside immediately.”
For perhaps obvious reasons—putting your best face forward, not wanting to be a backdoor to legalization—this rearward-facing trend has yet to take hold in the medical cannabis industry.
No major companies have associated themselves with such backwards branding. Most cannabis suppositories are homemade capsules filled with a combination of coconut oil or something similar and full-plant cannabis oil.
In the United States medical cannabis market, the best-known suppository to be marketed and sold—which is to say, the only suppository anyone can name—is a vaginal suppository, intended to help women (obviously) with menstrual-related cramping and pain, and its efficacy is still in question. Not to mention a joke potential of next to nil.
For these reasons, smoked marijuana continues to be king, no matter what the doctor says.