It’s a simple question, with compelling answers. If you’re a patient taking medicinal cannabis for an approved medical condition, you may or may not have given thought to this too much. You were probably more concerned with what strain or potency of cannabis would have the greatest effect and impact on your symptoms.
Lately, however, there are many patients (and more every day) who are finding out that the way they have been taking their medicinal cannabis may not have resulted in the most effective treatment for their symptoms. After all, smoking cannabis and eating cannabis-infused foods and other edibles have been and still are the ways most popular with patients to medicate themselves with cannabis.
A better way might be right under your tongue!
Have you ever heard of “sublingual cannabis dosing”? Well, not to impress you with big, four dollar words—sublingual cannabis dosing is simply ‘under the tongue drug dosage’, or administering the drug through the tissue beneath the tongue. Underneath the tongue are vessel-rich tissues where cannabinoids immediately enter the bloodstream.
Sublingual absorption tinctures and essential oils are growing in popularity with patients taking medicinal cannabis, even though the smoking of cannabis and consuming of edibles remain highly popular with people who self-medicate.
What makes sublingual absorption products popular is that the cannabinoids enter your bloodstream faster than with customary methods of ingestion, plus dosing is much more accurate and exact, which can make it easier to precisely give yourself the right amount you need for the quickest relief. This is ideal for patients who need therapy that acts fast, like chronic pain sufferers. Effects can be delivered quickly, between thirty seconds to two minutes.
A few sublingual products you can choose from
Among the many sublingual products available to you are breath mints and strips, gummies, and liquid drops. These products can be dissolved under the tongue fast, hence the desire to use them to obtain fast and potent results and relief.
The difference explained
When you consume cannabis-infused edibles such as brownies, baked items, and snacks, your body digests them as it would any food…slowly. Which means the cannabinoids in these foods will follow the traditional route to digestion: through the stomach, around through the intestines, and finally processed through the liver — all before your bloodstream absorbs the cannabinoids. This can take between 1 and 3 hours before you even begin to feel the hit!
Decreased digestive tract bioavailability
In the digestive tract, the amount of cannabinoids your body absorbs from medicinal cannabis edibles is just about 20%, but before the cannabinoids from the edibles can make it into your bloodstream to do their thing, the liver must process them, and that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more before the edible’s effects are felt.
Some patients find that they can do a sublingual absorption and then medicate with edibles to achieve a kind of therapeutic experience that’s more interconnected and endures longer.
An alternative to smoking
For patients who have medical conditions that affect their respiratory systems, or have sensitivities to smoke inhalation, sublingual applications eliminate the risk of harm to the throat from smoke irritants. And because there is no smoke involved, there’s no telltale smell so it can be administered anywhere discreetly.
A little goes a long way
Sublingual applications can be administered in smaller doses but with the effects that a higher amount of cannabis would provide. This is because greater numbers of active cannabinoids will have immediate entry into the bloodstream under the tongue as opposed to being processed by the digestive system first. Also, sublingual doses can be controlled more precisely by physicians and patients.
Take it straight from the plant
In some instances, medicating from the actual cannabis plant is possible—but only if the plant has been decarboxylated (using heat to release the THC). As another alternative to using cannabis oils and tinctures, decarboxylated cannabis used under the tongue immediately releases cannabinoids into the bloodstream in the same manner as sublingual absorption products. As a result, it’s an alternative that’s also healthier and for patients who need fast relief, more effective.
And in closing…
Medicinal cannabis patients are constantly seeking reliable cannabis experiences to help them cope with the symptoms and conditions that compromise their quality of life. For the patients that have the need for a faster, more accurate method of self-medication, sublingual absorption is a great advancement in the journey toward a more discreet and publicly acceptable way of taking medical cannabis, or even for those who use it recreationally in the states where it’s legal.
Sublingual absorption cannabis could be considered a step in the right direction for the future of cannabis edibles. Although there will always be a desire and a market for edibles in the form of baked goods, candies, and other foods, you’ll likely be seeing more and more products created and developed for under the tongue consumption!