Probably the least popular and least known way of using CBD is via a suppository. Many people when they hear the word suppository are overcome with a sense of fear and disdain. But it is a fact of life that suppositories, whether people like them or not are a fact of life that some have to deal with.
What Is a Suppository?
A suppository is a solid form of medication (in this case CBD) that has a cylindrical shape and comes in 3 varieties:
- Rectal suppository – The most common type of suppository, this is inserted directly into the rectum
- Vaginal suppository – This is a suppository that women will insert into their vagina
- Urethral suppository – This is the least common type of suppository and is likely to be only used by a medical professional, this is a type of suppository that can be inserted directly into the urethra, like a catheter.
Several different ingredients can be used to form the base of a suppository, including cocoa butter, polyethylene glycol, hydrogels, and glycerinated gelatin. The type of material used depends on the type of suppository, and the conditions in which the suppository will be stored. The most common rectal and vaginal CBD suppositories typically weigh about 2 grams and are about 1 inch long.
The explosion of the CBD market in the last few years has led to the increased production and manufacture of CBD suppositories. As a supplement with many medical benefits, the use of CBD as a suppository is a natural for the industry to produce.
What Is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabinol, is one of 113 known chemical compounds that’s found in the cannabis family of plants. For thousands of years, people have used cannabis as medicine, food, building supplies, rope, clothing, and much more. In fact, cannabis, in hemp form, has over 50,000 separate uses.
As a medicine and a nutritional supplement, CBD works with some of the body’s natural neurotransmitters and receptor proteins that are found in the brain and in both the peripheral and central nervous systems. These neurotransmitters and receptor proteins are known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
CBD has been shown to be effective in the treatment of many conditions as it has many protective and healing properties including:
CBD can be derived from all cannabis plants, but in most cases, it is derived from the cannabis species that are associated with hemp. The reason for this is the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol content. THC is the chemical that causes the intoxicating high associated with marijuana. Federal law in the US and Canada restricts THC content in hemp to below 0.3%.
Cannabis is comprised of 3 species:
- Indica – This species of cannabis is traditionally associated with marijuana. Marijuana, unlike hemp, has a high concentration (up to 35%) of the cannabinoid THC. Indica does contain CBD, but in most jurisdictions, Indica can’t be used to process CBD as the law limits THC content. In states where marijuana is legal, CBD can be made from Indica under state law, however, it’s still a banned substance under federal law as THC is banned federally.
- Ruderalis – Ruderalis, or Russian hemp, is a lesser known species of cannabis that was originally found in Russia and Mongolia. For thousands of years, Russians and Mongols have used Ruderalis as both food and medicine. It isn’t as versatile as the other species of hemp as it only grows to be about 2 feet high. However, it has an auto-flowering feature that allows for faster harvesting than other cannabis species. For that reason, the last few decades have seen hemp and marijuana growers successfully crossbreed Ruderalis with hemp and marijuana to speed up cultivation time.
- Sativa– Sativa is more commonly known as hemp. It’s the most versatile crop every cultivated and has over 50,000 uses. Among them are:
- Building supplies
Some of the reasons for the versatility of the crop is that it contains a dense and strong network of fibers in the plant and it can grow up to 20 feet tall. It also is very adaptive to many different climates, so it makes growing it very easy in most areas of the world.
In the US, most CBD comes from the Sativa species. When manufacturers look to extract CBD from the Sativa plant, they can use a few different methods.
While new uses are found each year, CBD had been found to be successful in treating a number of diseases and their symptoms including:
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Crohn’s Disease
- Endocrine disorders
- Epilepsy and Seizures
- Heart Disease
- Huntington’s Disease (HD)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Mood Disorders
- Motion Sickness
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Osteoporosis/Bone Health
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Skin Conditions
- Sleep Disorders
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
How Does CBD Work?
CBD works with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system or ECS. The endocannabinoid system is found in humans and most vertebrate animals. It contains neurotransmitters that activate special neuroreceptors in the body. These receptors are located in the brain, central nervous system, and the peripheral nervous system. These neurotransmitters regulate many physiological and cognitive processes in the body. Among these processes are:
- pre-natal development
- post-natal development
- effects of exercise on the body
Studies of the ECS have shown that CBD acts as a neuromodulator. Neuromodulators are neurotransmitters that spread out through neural tissue to affect slow-acting receptors of many neurons.
Among the most common neuromodulators are:
Neuromodulators control such processes as motor learning, appetite, and pain sensation, as well as other cognitive and physical activities.
Why Use a CBD Suppository?
The rectum and the vagina are both areas of the body that have many nerve ending and nerve fibers. This allows for any medications that enter into those areas to absorb rapidly into the bloodstream, mucous membranes, and cellular walls. In addition, the absorption rate is higher, so more CBD will enter the bloodstream than if it was consumed orally.
When CBD is administered either rectally or vaginally, it enters the bloodstream via the cell walls and is quickly distributed to the vascular system. In this process, it actually bypasses the liver, which if CBD was taken orally would have to be filtered through the liver. It is also is the slowest way for the body to process CBD. If it was taken via a vape, the CBD would have to process via the lungs and then the liver. When a suppository is taken, the vascular system bypasses all of these other organs and transports the CBD directly to the brain, so the CBD isn’t diluted in the process and larger quantities of CBD make it to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to be processed.
Who Can Benefit from CBD Suppositories?
Many people can benefit from CBD suppositories. For many, they make a much better choice than other methods.
For those who have issues swallowing, suppositories may be the ideal solution. These people include those who can’t or have trouble swallowing pills, those who have Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, ALS, MS, or those who have effects from suffering a stroke.
Cancer patients are also excellent candidates for suppositories. The effects of chemotherapy usually involve nausea and can make it hard for a patient to keep the CBD down if swallowed.
For those who can’t eat due to surgical concerns, a suppository may be a good alternative.
For women that have extreme menstrual pain, a vaginal suppository allows for quick and localized relief.
In addition, women who suffer from issues with lubrication during sexual intercourse can find CBD based lubricant is suppository form.
How to Use a CBD Suppository
The packages in which the suppositories are purchased will have storage directions. In most cases, CBD suppositories will need to be kept cold in a refrigerator or freezer and they will need to be solid when inserted and will melt after insertion.
When inserting a CBDs suppository into the rectum, the user should lie on his or her side and attempt to get into a fetal position. The suppository should be inserted pointed end first and should be pushed up using the index finger. The suppository needs to be inserted about 1 to 1.5 inches into the rectum to reach the sphincter.
After insertion, the buttocks should be clichéd while flexing the anus muscled by bearing down for about 5 seconds.
After this, the user should stay in position for about 5 minutes.
After the suppository has been fully inserted, the rectum will leak fluid for a few hours. It is recommended that as little movement as possible is done after inserting the rectal suppository.
For vaginal insertion place the suppository onto the end of the applicator. If a pre-filled suppository applicator is being used, this step can be skipped. A pre-filled applicator already contains the CBD.
The applicator should be held on the end that doesn’t contain the suppository.
To insert the suppository, the user can either lie on their back with their knees bent, or they can stand with their knees bent and with their feet a few inches apart.
The applicator should then be gently inserted into the vagina as far as it will comfortably go. When inserted the plunger of the applicator should be pressed as far down as it will go. This is to get the maximum depth in the vagina.
Once this is done, the applicator can be removed. If using a reusable applicator, it should be cleaned prior to using it again to prevent infection. If it is not, then it should be disposed of properly in a trash can (do not flush an applicator) along with any other materials used.
As with rectal suppositories, vaginal suppositories will also cause leakage, so it is a best practice to use a pad after insertion.
It is vital that good hygiene practices be used when using suppositories. This can’t be stressed enough. Fecal matter and bacteria can cause a host of issues, so washing hands and any reusable materials like applicators before and after use is extremely important.
In many cases, a suppository made for the rectum shouldn’t be used in the vagina and vice versa. This is because anal suppositories can be a bit rougher than vaginal suppositories and may tear the walls of the vagina. However, some companies such as the ones manufactured by Endoca can be used either vaginally or anally. (https://www.endoca.com/shop/cbd-suppositories)
Suppositories can be of great benefit to many of those who can’t take CBD orally. In addition, for women with menstrual pain issues or coital lubrication issues, vaginal suppositories may be of great help.
Suppositories have many benefits than other methods of taking CBD including the fast absorption rate, localized pain relief in the vagina, and premeasured dosage (which when using a tincture or vape can be a bit challenging).
For older patients or patients that can’t insert a suppository on their own due to health issues, health care professionals are trained in the administration of suppositories, so even if they’re not familiar with CBD, they can actually help with the insertion of the CBD.
Pricing on suppositories can vary based on the dosage, quantity, and source of the hemp used to derive the CBD from, but on average, the price runs about $1 per milligram, so a 10 count box of 50 milligram CBD suppositories will cost around $50.