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Guides, Research

Rapid Relief: A Guide to THC Suppositories

Lemetria Whitehurst

by Lemetria Whitehurst

March 21, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho Medically reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides
Rapid Relief: A Guide to THC Suppositories

For millennia – and now increasingly in the US – THC has emerged as a promising alternative remedy for managing various medical conditions. With a variety of consumption methods available, THC suppositories offer a unique and efficient way to experience these healing benefits. 

Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about THC suppositories. It explores their benefits over traditional consumption methods and provides valuable insights for those considering this discreet and potent option.

What Are THC Suppositories?

THC suppositories are specially formulated cannabis extracts designed for rectal or vaginal use, providing yet another method of THC delivery. 

Unlike oral or inhaled cannabis products, suppositories allow THC to enter the bloodstream directly through the mucous membranes of the rectum or vagina. This direct pathway results in a more rapid and efficient absorption of THC, reducing the first-pass effect in the liver that leads to less potency when consumed by mouth. 

For medical patients, this means not only faster onset of relief (as little as 20 minutes to one hour) but also better absorption of THC. In other words, the maximum benefit is achieved with minimal waste.

Several widely cited animal studies indicate that the rectal uptake of cannabis can reach rates between 13.5 % to 67%, depending on the species. However, it’s important to note that in this research, total rectal uptake (also called bioavailability) was found to be higher in dogs (67.3%) than in our closer species relative, monkeys (13.5%). 

Only 2 human studies have been done so far, but they show that rectal suppositories are twice as bioavailable as oral forms. There isn’t any pharmacologic data yet on CBD suppositories, but new research shows symptomatic relief is possible with vaginal, CBD-infused tampons.

To make suppositories work, synthetic delta-9-THC is combined with hemisuccinate ester (THC-HS), a compound used to enhance absorption. This substance works by converting fat-soluble molecules like THC into water-soluble ones, thereby improving how well the body can absorb them. Interestingly, research tells us that delta 9 THC by itself is not naturally absorbed rectally. This is why scientists began experimenting with putting these hemisuccinate modifiers on synthetic THC in the first place.

When THC-HS is absorbed, the body quickly cuts off the hemisuccinate vehicle and turns it into active delta-9 THC. Medicines like these that need to be metabolized first before being activated are called “prodrugs”. THC-HS is a prodrug that also sustains active doses of THC for longer periods of time, around 8–10 hours, making it ideal for twice-daily dosing.

Who Should Consider THC Suppositories?

With that said, THC suppositories may not be the first choice for everyone, but they hold particular advantages for specific groups and conditions. For example, people with gastrointestinal issues that impair the absorption of oral medications may find relief with THC suppositories. 

Suppositories are also useful for people with swallowing disorders like MS or post-stroke and those dealing with nausea and vomiting, such as with chemotherapy. Caregivers for elderly persons with dementia who also have difficulty eating, drinking, breathing, and following instructions can also use suppositories to their advantage and simplify THC delivery.

Similarly, those in need of localized, targeted action of suppositories include those dealing with:

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  • Larger purchase limits
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  • Endometriosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Severe menstrual cramps 
  • Pain during sex

Additionally, patients who prefer to avoid the psychoactive effects associated with other forms of THC intake—such as smoking or edibles—will appreciate the lower psychoactive impact while still reaping the health benefits of this delivery method. 

As always, prospective users need to have an honest chat with healthcare professionals to discuss their health history, current medications, and specific needs to determine if THC suppositories are an ideal choice for treating their condition.

How to Use THC Suppositories

To ensure effective use and safety when using THC suppositories, follow these simple guidelines:

Before Use:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Before unwrapping, keep the suppository cold or run it under cold water so that it remains solid, which allows for easier insertion.

For Rectal Insertion:

  • Lie on your left side and pull your upper leg in towards your chest.
  • Gently insert the suppository into the rectum, pointed end first, pushing it at least 1 inch inside to ensure proper placement. Feel free to use lubricating jelly to assist with insertion if needed.
  • Remain lying for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow the suppository to dissolve and absorb.

For Vaginal Insertion:

  • Lie on your back, possibly with knees bent for comfort. You can also insert it while sitting on the toilet. 
  • Gently insert the suppository into the vagina as deeply as comfortable.
  • Remain lying or lie in bed for about 5 to 10 minutes to allow the suppository to dissolve properly and be absorbed more effectively.

After Use:

  • Rewash your hands thoroughly.

THC Suppositories Storage and Handling Tips:

  • Store suppositories in a cool, dark place to maintain their shape and potency, ideally in a refrigerator.

Potential Side Effects and Considerations

While THC suppositories offer many benefits, users should be aware of possible side effects and considerations. Common discomforts may include local irritation or a mild burning sensation upon insertion, which typically resolves quickly. 

In rare cases, users might experience gastrointestinal discomfort or changes in appetite. To manage these adverse effects, starting with a low dose (5 mg) and gradually increasing as needed can help the body adjust. It’s also crucial to monitor for any allergic or irritating reactions. Discontinue use and consult a healthcare provider if you experience these unwanted symptoms.

The Bottom Line

In summary, THC suppositories present an ideal alternative consumption method, offering direct bloodstream absorption, localized relief, and minimal psychoactive effects. Remember, while the advantages of THC suppositories are significant, individual experiences may vary. It’s crucial to approach this method carefully, starting with a low dose and paying close attention to your body’s reactions. 

Most importantly, having an honest, open conversation with a healthcare professional before trying THC suppositories cannot be overlooked if you want to make sure they meet your personal health needs. Embracing new treatments involves careful consideration, but for many, THC suppositories could be a key to unlocking relief and improving their quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do THC suppositories take to work?

The effects of THC suppositories can begin in as little as 15-20 minutes, with peak effect in 2-8 hours.

What are THC suppositories used for?

THC suppositories are used for quick onset of relief from a variety of symptoms, particularly for people with gastrointestinal issues that impair the absorption of oral medications or those seeking localized relief for endometriosis, pain during sex, or other reproductive pain.

Where can I buy THC suppositories?

THC suppositories can only be purchased from a licensed cannabis retailer. Veriheal can help you find dispensaries in your area.

Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.

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