Cannabis~Sublingual, Transdermal, Edible
Smoking cannabis creates harmful carcinogens through destructive pyrolysis of numerous plant compounds due to the heat of the flame and can also cause irritation to the lung tissue. Even vaporizers can be drying to the throat.
Seniors are the biggest consumers of cannabis eatables using them to microdose throughout the day. Eating cannabis requires a significant period of time before the onset of effects, and the uptake through the gastrointestinal tract is uneven and incomplete. Given that most seniors have a compromised digestive system it could be even less absorption than usual.
Direct sublingual application of cannabis, however, provides accurate, rapid administration with no negative health effects.
It’s all about absorption. The bioavailability of CBD or of THC varies greatly by delivery method.
- Smoking typically delivers cannabinoids at an average bioavailability rate of 30%.
- Edibles typically deliver cannabinoids at an average bioavailability rate of only 5%.
- Tinctures deliver cannabinoids at an average bioavailability rate of 18% higher than edibles.
Roughly 30% of cannabinoids are absorbed via smoking, compared to only a 5% rate via edible ingestion. Smoking can be a serious health hazard that many people find objectionable. Studies provide clear scientific evidence of the advantages of tinctures compared with edibles. Tinctures give us more rapid and consistent THC absorption.
Benefits of direct sublingual application
- Immediate relief – no waiting for digestive tract absorption.
- No negative health effects that come with smoking or vaporizing.
- Accuracy as nothing is lost in extraction or administration.
- Access and choice by making pharmaceutical grade solutions at home with your own cannabis.
- Safer and more reliable than edibles and extracts.
- More cost-effective solution as patients use less.
- Discretion, being less obvious.
Sublingual applications are geared towards oral uptake through the saliva. Oral uptake can affect a patient almost immediately and tend to wear off within two to three hours. Edibles that you hold in your mouth for an extended period of time like suckers, lozenges, and tinctures fall into this category.
Some items, such as infused drinks and chocolate bars fall into a hybrid category because they are designed to be absorbed in both the mouth and the stomach. These type of edibles are a middle ground between oral and intestinal absorption, offering fast-acting relief usually feeling the effects within a half hour and the effects can last for four hours or more.
Tinctures are essentially a topical application that is administered through the mouth, and they are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream, unlike edibles or drinks. Tinctures provide a liquid cannabis extract used for dosage control and fast-acting effects without the health risks associated with smoking.
Most commonly, alcohol is used as the solvent, but other fat-soluble liquids can be used as well, such as vinegar, glycerol coconut oil, olive, and MCT oil. Dr. Dustin Sulak offers a short free program providing cannabis education about tinctures.
Dosing~Generally, one to four drops of the tincture is placed under the tongue, where it’s absorbed into the body versus swallowed and digested. When ingested, tinctures are immediately absorbed on an empty stomach but require time to process through the liver, reducing dosage control.
Transdermal is the application of a medicine or drug through the skin so that it is absorbed slowly into the body. Gels, emulsion creams, sprays and lip balm stick applicators are easy to use and are effective in getting medicine into the bloodstream quickly.
Traditional methods of administering medicine such as tablets or capsules get watered down and become much less effective due to stomach acids and digestive enzymes before they eventually get into the bloodstream. Bypassing the stomach and liver means a much greater percentage of the active ingredient goes straight into the bloodstream where it’s needed. In many cases, transdermal methods are used to help avoid potential side effects such as stomach upset or drowsiness.
Regarding the location of the skin application, areas with the thinnest epidermal layers, and areas rich in sebaceous glands, sweat glands, and hair follicles, prove to be the best areas of transdermal absorption. These locations include face, neck, scalp, and wrist. Absorption rates are highest on the forehead 4.2, Ear Canal 5.4, Scrotal 11.8.
Transdermal is a good fit for anyone that has a sensitive digestive system.
Cannabis consumed orally enters the bloodstream after being digested or broken down in the stomach and is absorbed in the intestines. Eating infused products is a healthier alternative to inhaling cannabis smoke because there is no exposure to carbon, tar, carcinogens, and so on.
Patients start with a low dose of 5, 10 to 15 mg active cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.). It’s going to be a learning process through trial and error to find the correct dose for you. Keep a journal and record your experiences with different products, dosages, and try to distinguish what ratio of cannabinoids in what dosage yields the maximum therapeutic effect for your specific health issue.
Edibles are geared towards gastrointestinal uptake via the digested through the stomach. Edibles often take two hours to kick in and can last up to eight hours. Start with the smallest dose of 5 mg and wait to feel the effects before taking more.
Dosing~Start with the smallest dose of 5 mg and wait to feel the effects before taking more.
Shopping For Your Medicine
Watch for companies that source the highest grade, organic and sun-grown Sativa or Indica cannabis. Using top shelf flowers rather than trim or leftovers. Using organic olive oil infusion/extractions or MCT oil infusions. Products like Treatwell and, Moxie Med’s are a 100% organic.
When focusing on edibles look for sun grown organic Sativa or Indica ~ 70% or more dark chocolate for low sugar/glycemic, with no flour. Something like the Bhang Dark Chocolate Bar 120 mg or 180 mg. Staying with the dark chocolate limits sugar and avoids flavorings and additives. The Kiva chocolate bar has sugar listed as the first ingredient.
Sublingual sprays produced through CO2 extraction. CO2 is considered a green solvent, unlike petroleum-derived solvents like butane. CO2 is used to produce carbonated soft drinks, in the removal of caffeine from coffee beans in order to make decaffeinated coffee, as an environmentally friendly solvent for dry cleaning, and as an extraction solvent when producing essential oils. Supercritical CO2 is also common when pesticides and metals are extracted from agricultural crops.
When buying a sublingual spray focus on cannabis infused with MCT oil or Olive oil (which has a shorter self-life). Watch for organic, pesticide free, solvent free, no fillers and tested.
Getting the Medical Doctor’s recommendation online is effortless, here is one spot to do so.
Any CBD product can stop an overdose of THC. Great to have on hand in spray form. Remember to ask for the senior discount!
As a Wellness Consultant with Octavia Wellness, I provide customized cannabis care along with the safe and legal purchase of cannabis. Introducing holistic practitioners, seniors, palliative care and the wellness community to Octavia Wellness products for a healthier lifestyle.