What is the best way to consume cannabis products?
How you choose to consume cannabis products matters a lot. In fact, your overall cannabis experience hangs on the route of administration. While cannabis products are available as edibles, tinctures, capsules, oils, topicals, and vapes, it is important to know that no two cannabis products are the same. These products may come with slight differences in their terpene profile or cannabinoid concentration, thus, giving users various choices.
Vaping a 20mg CBD flower will not produce the same effect as consuming a 20mg CBD mint or sublingual oil. Likewise, a 20mg THC mint may produce a different effect from a CBD mint of the same concentration. These differences are controlled by the nature and final concentration of cannabinoids reaching the receptors. This is known as bioavailability and is controlled by the mode of consumption, body chemistry, nature of the product, age of the user, and health status.
Cannabinoids are powerful. Several years of research have shown us how cannabinoids like CBD, CBC, THC, CBG, and CBN can assist in keeping our bodies in balance (homeostasis) while modulating cognitive activities like hunger, appetite, and sleep.
Cannabinoids may potentially have therapeutic effects on sleep-related disorders, mental disorders, addiction, cardiovascular diseases, and many more. These activities are triggered by the interaction of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabinoid receptors are present all over the body and are directly involved in modulating cognitive activities and internal balance. When we consume cannabis products, these receptors are activated to produce their effects which may last from a few minutes to several hours.
Regardless of which mode of consumption you settle for, it is important to remember that each mode of cannabis consumption comes with its unique properties. Vapes or cannabis inhalables are great for people who want to experience the recreational use of cannabinoids. They offer a fast effect of cannabinoids which may fade away quickly.
Topical cannabis products are applied to the skin and also show a considerable level of interaction with receptors. These topical products are best suited for skin care since they interact with the cannabis receptors in the skin.
Cannabis edibles and sublingual oils offer one of the best effects on users who want a prolonged dosage and want to experience the therapeutic use of cannabis. Although edibles and sublingual oils may offer a lower bioavailability than vapes, they come in handy in assisting users with the right concentration of cannabinoids when needed.
There are several misconceptions about using cannabis edibles like gummies, CBD mints, THC mints, and sublingual oils. While most people believe they are similar and offer the same use to users, there are quite a few differences that this article will address.
What is sublingual cannabis consumption?
Sublingual cannabis products include oils, tinctures, sprays, dissolving strips, tablets, and mints. They are consumed by placing the product under the tongue for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This allows the cannabinoids in the products to be absorbed by the cannabinoid receptors in the mucosal membrane under the tongue, inside the cheeks, and on the gums.
They differ from edibles since cannabis products are not swallowed and don’t need to be activated by digestive enzymes before interacting with the receptors. This singular act makes a lot of difference and increases the products’ bioavailability.
The best way to enjoy sublingual products is to keep them in your mouth until they dissolve completely. Also, ensure you don’t eat anything for the next ten minutes to allow complete absorption of the product into the blood vessels in your mouth.
Sublingual cannabis products offer a bioavailability of more than 21 percent and allow users to experience the effect of the products 20 to 30 minutes after consumption. The effect of these products may last up to three hours. This makes sublingual administration fast-acting and discreet.
What are the uses of sublingual cannabis consumption?
Sublingual cannabis consumption may appeal to people for several reasons, some of which are listed below;
- Fast effects:
Sublingual cannabis products are excellent alternatives for people looking for a fast way to enjoy the use of cannabis products without vaping. By being absorbed directly into the bloodstream, cannabinoids in sublingual products enjoy a fast interaction without waiting to be activated by digestive enzymes.
- Easier to monitor
Like vapes or inhalables, it is easier to monitor the success of sublingual products since they are directly absorbed into the blood vessels and interact with receptors easily. This allows users to feel a more accurate effect with fewer fluctuations. There is a high possibility of knowing what to expect after taking sublingual products.
- No second pass metabolism
You don’t have to wait for the liver to break down the cannabinoids before feeling its effect. This is one of the biggest downsides of buccal cannabis consumption.
- A more controllable dose
Since you know exactly what to expect after using sublingual products, it is easier for users to find the correct dosage for products and stick to what works for them.
Challenges of sublingual cannabis consumption
Adequate care must be taken to dose sublingual products carefully. This will go a long way to reduce the side effects of psychotropic (intoxicating) cannabinoids like THC. The products may not be great for people who can’t handle the peculiar taste and smell of carrier oils in cannabis products. This makes it hard to swallow for most people. Sublingual products may also take away the fun of using cannabis products since users are only limited to the forms provided by their formulators.
What is buccal cannabis consumption?
Cannabis edibles constitute one of the largest groups of cannabis products. This is because they are easy to make and serve as one of the easiest to consume products. They are available as cannabinoid-infused foods, gummies, honey sticks, mints, capsules, beverages, and drinks.
Cannabis edibles are consumed by swallowing the product and allowing the liver enzymes to activate the cannabinoids and release them into the bloodstream, acting with cannabinoid receptors. This is known as first-pass metabolism (or first-pass effect), which is responsible for the loss of several cannabinoid concentrations. On average, only about 50% of the entire cannabinoids consumed in edibles are available to interact with receptors. The remaining 50% are excreted unprocessed.
Cannabinoid edibles provide one of the longest-lasting effects of cannabinoids since they are released slowly by liver enzymes. They take an average of 1 to 2 hours to kick in, and their effect may last up to 24 hours.
Buccal cannabis consumption offers a bioavailability of 13 to 19 percent, thanks to the activity of liver enzymes. This means only 13 to 19 percent of the total cannabinoids ingested are available to interact with receptors. This ultimately affects dosage determination.
What are the use of buccal cannabis consumption?
- Greater plant synergy
Cannabis contains terpenes and cannabinoids that may undergo an entourage effect to promote their overall use case. First pass effect or metabolism by liver enzymes can activate cannabinoids and terpenes, thus engaging more receptors while limiting the side effects of psychotropic (intoxicating) cannabinoids. The entourage effect may not be as pronounced in sublingual products like in edibles.
- Long-lasting effect
Buccal consumption can activate cannabinoid activity that may last up to 24 hours. The cannabinoids are released slowly into the bloodstream to allow a prolonged cannabinoid effect on users. This is great for maximizing the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids and terpenes for several disease conditions.
- Ease of use
Cannabis edibles allow users to apply creativity in the way they use cannabis products. Cannabis edibles can be introduced into meals and recipes and create an excellent way for people to enjoy cannabis products without dealing with the strong smell or bitter taste of oils.
Challenges of buccal cannabis consumption
- Drug to drug interaction:
This involves the interaction between cannabinoids and some medications metabolized by liver enzymes. The CYP450 enzymes metabolize cannabinoids. These enzymes are directly involved in metabolizing other drugs like alcohol, clobazam, theophylline, and warfarin. Using cannabis edibles with these products can lead to overdosing and prolonged dosage. This may also increase your chances of overdosing on THC, known as greening out.
- Unknown potency
Asides from the cannabinoid concentration, cannabis edibles may contain terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds that may contribute to its overall potency. This generally affects how our bodies may interact with the compounds and, ultimately, the effects we will feel. In most cases, users don’t know what to expect when taking cannabis edibles.
What are cannabis edibles used for?
Cannabis edibles are great at providing users with a long-lasting cannabinoid effect which may be useful for maximizing the therapeutic use of cannabis.
Buccal vs. sublingual consumption; which is better?
All routes of cannabis consumption come with their unique merits and demerits. While sublingual products may offer users a fast response, edibles are great at producing a long-lasting effect. Overall, the choice lies in why you want to use the products. In the meantime, here are a few side-by-side comparisons between buccal and sublingual modes of consuming cannabis products.
- Rate of absorption
Sublingual products have a faster rate of absorption. They usually offer users more than 21% bioavailability against the 19% offered by edibles. This high absorption rate will mean a lot if you want the effects of your cannabis products to kick in as soon as possible. Note that sublingual products are safer than vapes and provide an almost similar effect.
Edibles may require a bigger dosage to achieve the same effect as sublingual products. While it is easier to know what to expect with sublingual products, edibles offer a wider scope of activity with no predetermined effects.
Edibles offer a higher chance of entourage effect than sublingual products. This may be due to first-pass metabolism, where liver enzymes will activate the terpenes and cannabinoids in the products. The combined effect of terpenes and cannabinoids can engage more receptors, thus offering a broader scope of activity.
While the effects of edibles can last for more than 24 hours, it is quite uncommon to experience the effects of sublingual products after 5 hours of consumption. The prolonged dosage of edibles can come in handy in maximizing the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids.
- Side effects
Cannabis edibles are more likely to trigger a drug-to-drug interaction with prescription medications than sublingual products. This is because cannabinoids and prescription medications are processed by the same liver enzymes. Overdosing on edibles may also present a higher risk than overdosing on sublingual products since edibles produce an effect that lasts longer.
It is important to understand why you need cannabis products before deciding on which route of administration to settle for. Note that sublingual and buccal consumption offers users many use cases that cannot be overemphasized.
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