How to Use & Administer Cannabis Oil
One of the most important question we are asked regarding cannabis medications is how to use and administer medical cannabis oil effectively.
The aim, particularly when treating chronic illness, is to aim for maximum cannabinoid saturation without causing any unwanted side effects such as lethargy, psychoactivity or anxiety.
Concentrations of cannabinoids can range widely from individual plants and strains, but there are also many other factors that can impact the effect.
- Age and health of patient
- Strain of cannabis
- Method of administration
- Individual tolerance to cannabis medication
- Nutrition and diet effects on administration
- Physical impairment
- Biochemistry and body mass
- Mindset and mood when administering
Understanding different strains when using cannabis oil
Individual strains of medical cannabis will have differing cannabinoid and terpene content, producing noticeably different effects.
Many people report finding some strains more beneficial than others.
For example, strains with more CBD tend to produce better pain and spasticity relief.
Higher THC content is preferred for mood enhancement and anxiety. Effects can also vary for an individual based on the physiological state when administering.
Cannabis sativa and indica differ in the following ways Sativas (C.sativa)
The primary effects are on thoughts and feelings. Sativas tend to produces stimulating feelings, and many prefer it for daytime use although in some cases it can temporarily increase anxiety and feelings of paranoia. Some noted therapeutic effects are:
- Increased well-being
- Reduction of depression
- Elevation of mood
- Relief from migraines/nausea
- Increased appetite
Indicas tend to produce sedated feelings, and many prefer it for night time use. Indicas produce more of a body high as opposed to a more cerebral high experienced when using sativa or sativa dominant strains. Some noted Therapeutic effects from use of indicas are:
- Muscles/spasm relaxant
- Reduces pain/inflammation
- Sleep assisting
- Reduction of nausea
- Reduction of intra-ocular pressure
- Reduction of seizures/anti-convulsion
Hybrids are strains bred from crossing two or more varieties, with typically one dominant and will exhibit medical traits of that strain, with other traits demonstrated to a lesser degree.
For example an indica dominant strain will primarily assist with pain, inflammation and sleep, whereas a sativa dominant will be better for stimulating/energizing, focus and creativity.
There are many different strains that range from pure sativas to pure indicas and includes the full spectrum between tye two.
A hybrid strain is a combination of sativa and indica plants and can be bread to provide specific qualities giving patients the best of both worlds.
If you choose a hybrid strain that is dominant to one way or the other, expect to experience more of the effects associated with the dominant strain. Hybrid strains fall in to one of three categories:
- Sativa dominant Hybrids These hybrids typically provide a heady high that pairs well with a relaxing body feeling. Sativa dominant hybrids are typically used to relax and unwind both physically and mentally.
- Balanced Hybrids (50/50) These are typically a true balance of indica and sativa plants. These strains are ideal for those looking to balance mind and body highs.
- Indica dominant Hybrids Indica dominant hybrids generally provide a strong body high which makes them ideal for moderate pain relief or relaxation and sleep in the evening.
How to use and administer cannabis oil by sublingual and buccal routes
Cannabis oil can be administered under the tongue (sublingually) or between the gums and teeth (bucally) so that it can be absorbed directly into the small blood vessels that lie beneath the tongue.
The cannabis oil is not swallowed. The sublingual route is especially good as absorption is rapid and immediately enters the bloodstream without first passing through the intestinal wall and liver.
When you swallow any medication, it must first go through your entire gastrointestinal tract. This means passing through the stomach containing acids and bile, the intestines where most absorption takes place, and then finally through the liver.
Many pharmaceutical drugs can be absorbed poorly or erratically in the digestive tract or are destroyed by the acid and digestive enzymes in the stomach.
Essentially, when a medicine is placed under your tongue, it diffuses through the mucous membranes beneath your tongue and avoids this process. The inside of the mouth is lined with these membranes. When healthy, the lining of the mouth (oral mucosa) is reddish pink. Healthy gums (gingivae) are a paler pink color.
The effects from cannabis that is eaten may be more pronounced and onset will be delayed by an hour or more and typically the effects wil last longer.
Because of these membranes the medicine has a direct route into your bloodstream. This results in the medicine working faster, and arguably more effectively than swallowing, In addition to the speed, medications delivered sublingually are normally more potent. This is due to the action the digestive tract has in breaking down any swallowed substances. This process can adversely effect your medication.
- Sublingual delivery is also recommended for certain medications you may need to administer such as cardiovascular drugs, steroids and vitamin/mineral supplements.
- With sublingual delivery, you may accidentally swallow some of the cannabis oil, leading to a changeable absorption rate so care needs to be taken when first experimenting with how to use and administer cannabis oil sublingually.
How to administer cannabis oil via the oral route
Digestive processes alter the metabolism of cannabinoids and produce a different metabolite of THC in the liver. This can produce markedly different effects depending on the individual.
Because the oral route is convenient it is the one most often used when taking cannabis oil, capsules or cannabis edibles. However onset of effects are delayed and last longer due to slower absorption of the cannabinoids and is an important consideration when deciding on how to use and administer cannabis oil.
Oral administration has limitations because of the way the cannabinoids typically moves through the digestive tract. Most drugs are usually absorbed from the small intestine. The compounds pass through the intestinal wall and travel to the liver before being transported via the bloodstream to its target site. When cannabis oil is administered orally in its natural state and not in capsule or edible form, absorption may begin in the mouth and stomach producing a variable response time.
Individuals can experience different cognitive effects when using cannabis medications.
The intestinal wall and liver chemically alter (metabolize) the cannabinoids, converting THCA into the psychoactive cannabinoid compound THC. But also decreasing the amount of drug reaching the bloodstream.
Consequently, cannabis oil is often administered in smaller doses when used sublingually, bucally or rectally – and produces the same effect.
When cannabis is taken orally, food and other drugs in the digestive tract may affect how much of and how fast the cannnabinoids are absorbed and this can also be a major factor when planning how to use and administer cannabis oil effectively.
Other routes of administration are required when the oral route cannot be used, for example:
- When a person cannot take and administer cannabis oil by mouth
- When cannabis oil must be administered rapidly or in a precise or very high dose
How to use cannabis oil as suppositories
Cannabis oil can be very successfully administered rectally as a suppository. In this form, the oil is either inserted in a gelatin capsule or is mixed with coconut oil that dissolves or liquefies after it is inserted into the rectum.
Because the rectum’s wall is thin and its blood supply super rich, the cannabinoids are readily absorbed and as the cannabinoids are not processed via the liver there is far less to zero psychoactive effect from the THC compounds.
A suppository is prescribed for people who cannot take and administer cannabis oil orally because they have nausea, cannot swallow, or have restrictions on eating, as is required before and after many surgical operations. However it is one of the most effective methods of administration and utilizes more of the available cannabinoids.
How to administer cannabis oil via vaginal administration
Cannabis oil may be administered vaginally to women as an oil, cream, suppository preparation, or capsule. The drug is slowly absorbed through the vaginal wall. This route is often used with cannabis oil based creams during menopause to relieve vaginal symptoms such as dryness, soreness, and redness.
How to use and administer cannabis oil transdermally (via the skin)
Transdermal methods of delivery are widely used because they allow the absorption of medicine directly through the skin. Gels, emulsion creams, sprays and even lip balm stick applicators are all examples of transdermal medications and are effective in getting medicine into the bloodstream quickly.
Cannabis oil is classed as a lipophilic, which means that it can be dissolved into a fat-soluble substance and readily enter cell membranes. It can be effective when applied topically on the skin and can be used transdermally to relieve pain and many skin conditions.
Medical cannabis oil can be a used as it is, incorporated into a balm, lotion, ointment or rubbing alcohol solution. Traditional herbal remedies were prepared by soaking cannabis buds in alcohol and the solution was applied as a poultice to arthritic or swollen joints.
This is still an effective treatment to consider when considering how to use and administer cannabis oil for transdermal application. The oil can be dissolved into an alcohol solution prior to administration.
Transdermal administration is ideal for pain management as well as sports and pediatric medicine and it is one of the best ways to administer cannabinoids quickly and effectively.
Administering cannabis oil by inhalation
Inhalation is not the most effective method to use when considering how to use and administer cannabis oil medication.
Cannabinoids administered by inhalation through the mouth must pass through the windpipe (trachea) and into the lungs. Inside the lungs, they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Dab rigs, Pipes and bongs can be utilized to smoke cannabis oil but it is an inefficient delivery method. Vaporizers can be effective, however cannabis oil is better administered using the other methods described above.