For science, for Sensi Seeds, for journalistic integrity, and for fun, I tried a cannabis suppository and wrote about the experience. CBD Suppositories actually deliver a higher CBD dosage to your bloodstream. In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about them. Many people who tried everything for their hemorrhoids, but to no avail, claiming that CBD was the miracle they needed. Does CBD oil help with hemorrhoids? If yes, how do you take it to draw the most out of its health benefits?
Recreational Rectal Use of Cannabis (Or, What I Did for Science)
The scientific and anecdotal reports on rectal cannabis use are surprisingly conflicting. Sometimes, the best way to research something is to do it yourself. For science, for Sensi Seeds, for journalistic integrity, and for pure fun, I tried a cannabis suppository and wrote about the results.
Recreational rectal use of cannabis is not a subject I’ve ever heard discussed. Vocal proponents of every other kind of cannabis ingestion can be found everywhere, from internet forums and international hemp fairs to coffeeshops and any given living room on a Friday night. The subject of savouring a potent high by inserting suppositories, however, has not been broached (at least with me). Is rectal cannabis the last taboo of recreational use? Does it even work? There was only one way to find out.
I’d never put cannabis, nor indeed any drug, in my nether regions before. I am familiar with the concept, but I’ve never been moved to try it.
When I was a joint smoker I enjoyed the ritual of making the perfect, tasty, smooth-burning cone. I imagine there’s an element of ritual in rectal cannabis use if one does it frequently enough. However, it’s unlikely to be the sort of thing you can take 20 minutes over in a roomful of friends whilst drinking tea.
Luckily, some friends are closer than others, and I was able to enlist a lab partner for my first foray into this brave new world.
Step one: Get some suppositories for recreational rectal cannabis use
Cannabis suppositories are not a product that you can buy in a coffeeshop, nor a pharmacy, even in Amsterdam. Luckily I was able to obtain some (from a source who wishes to remain anonymous). They were made from butane-extracted whole plant concentrate in a base of coconut oil, giving them a pleasant, almost chocolatey smell, rather like spacecakes. They weighed two grams each.
I had them tested and the results showed 16% THC and 1% CBD, which would definitely give a psychoactive effect if taken in any way that I was familiar with.
Having procured cannabis suppositories, our preparations were twofold: the classic ‘set and setting’. The former consisted of research. I found practical tips, including ‘lie on your side and bend one leg to make insertion easier’ and ‘don’t pass wind for at least 15 minutes afterwards’.
I found anecdotal reports: “For me, music starts playing in my head about 1 minute after “dosing”,”; “Within minutes I could feel a warm, pleasant sensation washing over my entire pelvic region”.
And I found science which said maybe it shouldn’t work at all.
What is the science behind using cannabis rectally?
According to Allan Frankel, MD, who has researched and written about rectal absorption of cannabis, nothing was felt by his test patients when they tried cannabis oil in cocoa butter. Analysis of their plasma revealed negligible THC and CBD levels. According to “Practical Pharmaceutics: An International Guideline for the Preparation, Care and Use of Medicinal Products”, the rectum does not absorb fats efficiently.
Any active substance in a suppository must first dissolve into the aqueous mucus that lines the rectum, and then pass into the bloodstream. It cannot be absorbed directly by the membrane without traversing the aqueous mucus layer.
Therefore active substances that are themselves lipophilic (such as cannabinoids) should not be combined with a fatty or oily carrier if they are intended for rectal use, as this will reduce their overall absorption. Since virtually every cannabis suppository I found mentioned online was in a fatty base (as was mine), this should have impaired their efficacy.
6 Differences Between Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis
The rectal veins – superior, middle and inferior
Assuming that some of the cannabinoid content makes it through the mucus, it then circulates either via the inferior and middle rectal veins into the inferior vena cava, bypassing the liver; or via the superior rectal vein to the liver where it is ‘first pass’ metabolized.
It was thought that the lack of psychoactivity resulted from THC missing the liver and therefore not metabolizing into 11 hydroxy delta-9 THC (11-OH-THC). This metabolite is more potent, and stays in the system for longer, than THC. It also crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily. Interestingly, the effect of many drugs is reduced by first pass metabolism, but not cannabis!
Large amounts of 11-OH-THC are produced when cannabis is eaten (although the unmetabolised THC has a low absorption rate), so this metabolic process determines much of the strength of the same dose when ingested in different ways. In other words, exactly the same dose of cannabis will produce different effects depending on whether you vape it, smoke it, eat it, or insert it into your rectum.
The most recent scientific research on the rectal absorption of THC was published in 1991, and used crab-eating macaque monkeys. (People to whom I’ve told this have said “poor monkeys!”, to which the reply is, have you seen what else they do to monkeys? These monkeys are the lucky ones.)
Results showed no rectal bioavailability of THC, but when the cannabinoid was processed to create a combination with the molecule ester hemisuccinate (THC-HS), the bioavailability shot up to 13.5% and the mean residence time of THC in the blood was 5.8 hours. THC-HS is water-soluble, which is why it dissolves into the aqueous mucus.
Back to my personal rectal cannabis experience
What all my theoretical research came down to was basically “anecdotes say something might happen, science says nothing should happen”. This being as far as I could get with ‘set’, I moved onto ‘setting’.
We put mattresses on the living room floor and made sure there were enough drinks and munchies on hand. I had music, films, and interesting picture books to stimulate us if needed. I considered lighting some candles, figuring I should make it as nice an experience as possible after subjecting my lab partner to descriptions of animal experiments and rectal aqueous mucus, but fire and altered states don’t mix so I just turned the lights down.
To give an accurate report as possible, we had abstained from any other drugs (including the legal ones) and I set my phone to beep at half-hour intervals so I could chart the experience.
We toasted each other with the large, slippery, dark green bullets. First lesson: insert them as soon after removal from the fridge as possible, because fingertip heat alone is enough to start them melting. However, this means they are basically self-lubricating, which isn’t a bad thing. We lay down, me on my back and my lab partner on his side, and waited.
After half an hour, I felt quite giggly. This could have been the beginnings of a high, or the incongruity of live-tweeting rectal cannabis use as part of my job. In response to a tweet asking me how it was going, I attempted to analyse what I was experiencing.
There was a mild tingling sensation, not unpleasant, around the ground zero area of application. I wasn’t able to say for sure if there was any psychoactive effect. My lab partner had fallen asleep, but he had travelled overnight from London to Amsterdam and arrived that morning. The data was inconclusive thus far.
What Hashish Did To Walter Benjamin
One hour into the experiment: getting high
My lab partner was still fast asleep and I was explaining to people on Twitter that I didn’t have IBS or IBD, this experiment was purely for research. A feeling of deep relaxation suffused me, especially my legs and pelvic area. I believe the use of suppositories to ease menstrual cramps could be very effective, based on this. I felt extremely tranquil, but not sleepy, and decided to finally get up and go to the kitchen for a change of scenery and to see if any psychoactive effects made themselves known.
They did. Once in the kitchen, the munchies kicked in with a vengeance and I noticed that colours and patterns were enhanced. I heated up some soup; flavours were enhanced too. I giggled to myself thinking about the great Dr Lester Grinspoon’s realisation that he was having his first cannabis experience when the pizza he was eating became the best he’d ever tasted.
Despite being a clearly recognisable cannabis high, what I was experiencing was unlike what I’ve felt when eating, smoking or vaporising it. My head felt clear and I felt peaceful yet alert; a sativa type of high without the soaring headrush or potential confusion.
It was extremely enjoyable and not at all overpowering, yet I was definitely in an altered state. The dragon trees in my living room looked fascinating. Getting back under the duvet was lovely. I felt no need for additional entertainment. There was an opiate-like quality to the contentment and relaxation, but no nausea or feelings of disassociation.
An hour and a half in: definitely high
I was still feeling the same effects, which seemed to have hit a plateau rather than fading or intensifying. My lab partner woke up and said he wasn’t sure if he was feeling anything apart from very relaxed, but he definitely felt like eating something. He just wasn’t sure what. (In retrospect, this was a total giveaway that he was experiencing the effects!) The following conversation took place:
“Is it chocolate?”
“Is it oatcakes with vegan cream cheese?”
“Is it… (I am having trouble remembering what else there is to eat) …is it tomatoes?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Ooh, is it pineapple soy yogurt?”
“YES. Yes, it is. Oh yes.”
“We are definitely high.”
We devoured a litre of said yogurt in under three minutes. It tasted fantastic. Then we lay back down and discussed the high. It was strong but not psychedelic, and deeply physically relaxing. The best analogy is that of lying in a warm bath that you don’t want to get out of. All muscle tension was dissolved.
Alert, talkative, and surprisingly fragrant
We felt warm and heavy but not sleepy, and the effect seemed to end at the upper neck – literally as though lying in a bath with only your head out of the water. However, it was not a ‘couchlock’ stone. We remained alert and talkative. Although the effect was powerful, it was not at all disorienting or overwhelming.
(There was one additional fact that I was not expecting. I hadn’t read about it anywhere during literally hours of research. So, dear reader, I will share it with you. After eating, the digestive system starts up. This can lead to passing wind. And if you’re experimenting with rectal use of cannabis, this causes your wind to smell like a growroom of strong sativas just before harvest. You’re welcome.)
Where Did 420 Come From, And Where Is It Going?
The following day: Still high
It was also very, very long-lasting. Neither of us use cannabis regularly anymore and consequently we both have low tolerance; even so, I was not expecting to still be high the next morning. After I left for work, my lab partner had a large breakfast and went back to bed.
By the time he texted me at 15:00 to say he had just woken up and could I get some more pineapple yogurt, the effects I had felt had almost completely worn off. It took him several more hours to feel completely back to normal. This makes rectal use of cannabis by far the most economical method I’ve tried.
More research is needed on the rectal use of cannabis
Based on my research, what conclusions can be drawn? Firstly, there is no way that we were experiencing a placebo effect. I’ve used enough cannabis to know the difference. Secondly, although I had no way of measuring THC in our blood plasma, I can assure you that there was plenty sloshing around our endocannabinoid systems.
So how did it get there? It’s fairly safe to assume that at least some THC entered the superior rectal vein and achieved first pass metabolism into 11-OH-THC. I was aiming for this to happen, so I literally aimed for it (unlike medicinal users who would presumably keep the suppository lower in the rectum to avoid it).
It might be possible that the effect was so long-lasting because any THC missing the first pass when it initially entered the bloodstream via the inferior and middle rectal veins would eventually reach the liver. If this is so, a second phase of metabolism into 11-OH-THC could have taken place long after the initial dose.
However, for the THC to get to any of the rectal veins, it still needs to traverse the aqueous mucus layer. As previously stated, this shouldn’t be possible without the presence of the hemisuccinate ester. Could it be that some part of the process of making the butane-extracted concentrate creates THC-HS, or a similar enough ester or analogue to permit absorption to occur?
The experiments on the macaque monkeys used THC only, not whole plant extract. Could the presence of other cannabinoids, the ‘entourage effect’, make the crucial difference? However, Dr Frankel’s studies used full spectrum cannabis oil in cocoa butter, and that did not seem to work. The doctor himself concludes that more research is needed in order to take full advantage of this delivery method.
Benefits of rectal cannabis use
Having tried it, I can think of various benefits for both medicinal and recreational rectal cannabis use. There’s the long-lasting deep relaxation, which would definitely relieve pain and muscle tension. The extended ‘munchies’ effect would doubtless aid anyone who needed to gain weight, plus the delivery method means that there is no risk of vomiting up oral appetite stimulants. The amount needed for an effective dose is small, and the dosage is easy to control.
There is also the advantage over edibles (such as cake or sweets) of it being highly unlikely that someone will accidentally insert a cannabis suppository thinking it is a harmless treat. There are numerous tales of people eating ‘medibles’ by accident, and they seldom end well. However, in all my years of psychonautics, I have never heard of anyone casually inserting a random suppository they found lying around.
Work the following day was a little more challenging than usual, but by no means impossible. I would not have wanted to drive or operate heavy machinery, but the clarity of the high was fine for writing, interacting with colleagues, going to the shops, and cooking dinner. For people who need effective pain relief without being incapacitated, this would be ideal.
Why Are People Sticking CBD Up Their Butt? Everything You Always Wanted To Know About CBD Suppositories
Suppositories can become a fast-acting mode of delivery. However, they are probably the least popular way of consuming CBD oil.
CBD suppositories only became popular due to the booming cannabis industry. Since legalization, more clinical and anecdotal evidence regarding cannabidiol (CBD) benefits and its multiple administration forms started appearing. However, CBD suppositories are not surprisingly the least popular.
People are now beginning to appreciate that CBD oil suppositories can provide an alternative delivery system that is highly efficient. They can either be inserted anally or vaginally.
There is a wide variety of CBD suppositories, and some are rarely safe for rectal and vaginal use. Others are limited to anal insertion only. In this discussion, we focus on products designed to be inserted rectally.
Keep in mind that some suppositories contain THC, one of the controlled substances that are illegal in many areas. They come by various names, such as “cannabis” suppositories, marijuana suppositories, weed suppositories, or THC instead of CBD suppositories. If you cannot tolerate THC or THC is illegal in your location, stick to CBD products.
Both THC and CBD suppositories are available in many stores, but we will be overviewing products derived from hemp in this article. Remember that THC is not legal in all states. THC is illegal on a federal level, but some states allow the recreational use of marijuana.
When using CBD suppositories, be sure to follow instructions carefully. Also, read the product label to determine if the suppository is designed for rectal use, vaginal use only.
What are CBD Suppositories?
CBD suppositories are pill-sized products that contain CBD oil. They are designed to melt at body temperature after insertion into the vagina or the rectum. As soon as the product dissolves in the intestine’s mucosa layer, the CBD oil melts and releases the active ingredients, absorbed and transported into the bloodstream. The release of the therapeutic ingredients provides pain relief and other benefits.
CBD suppositories are available for rectal and vaginal use, but our focus will be on specific products for anal use. Remember that not all rectal suppositories are advised for vaginal usage. The vaginal suppositories are explicitly designed for safe vaginal use.
Benefits of Cannabis Suppositories
CBD suppositories possess specific benefits that other CBD oil products cannot provide. Whatever your reasons for cannabidiol use , there are instances when you can rely more on suppositories than any other method of CBD consumption.
For instance, CBD oil for oral use has a lower bioavailability because it has to pass through the digestive system. The fatty tissues in the stomach and the intestines absorb some of the CBD. Hence, a significant percentage of the cannabinoid will not be used because it will not reach the bloodstream.
Suppositories deliver a high percentage of the CBD directly to the bloodstream through the rectum’s mucosal linings. Therefore, most of the product’s components are fully utilized to relieve pain and other ailments.
Many patients who have neurodegenerative issues have trouble swallowing solid matter. CBD suppositories help these patients by delivering the active compounds through the rectum.
In terms of medical benefits, cannabis suppositories are beneficial for pain relief, especially for reproductive ailments and pelvic pain. The reproductive system hosts innumerable cannabinoid receptors, making the pelvic region susceptible to cannabinoids.
For those struggling with painful sex due to tight pelvic floor muscles, painful periods, or sciatica, cannabis suppositories can increase blood flow in the area and alleviate severe pain.
Most people use CBD for pain , while others use CBD against anxiety . CBD suppositories are beneficial in relieving pain in the reproductive and pelvic regions.
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A Brief History of Suppositories
Suppositories are not a new health trend. They go back thousands of years as archeologists have found molds of suppositories in 12th-century apothecaries. Also, people have been using cannabis for healing since around 5,000 years ago.
Suppository comes from suppositorum , meaning “something placed beneath.” The word was first used in the 1700s in academic literature to substitute for the term enema.
In ancient Egyptian documentation, they used suppositories to ease gastrointestinal problems. Some experts also suggest that the old Babylonian medical specialists prescribed suppositories to treat hemorrhoids.
Some sources assert that suppositories were independently invented by the indigenous people of North America even before Columbus sailed to the continent. They softened a piece of the dogwood tree, compressed it, and inserted it into the anus to treat hemorrhoids.
In the past, people encased herbs in honey or soap, allowed them to harden, and used them as suppositories. They eventually replaced honey and soap with cocoa butter and other plant oils.
Talking about suppositories and their application is still considered taboo in many cultures but quite popular in France among other countries. In the U.K., people avoid such a method of administering medication. In the U.S., suppositories are a little more widespread, but patients avoid discussing them with other people.
Who Benefits from Cannabis Suppositories
Some individuals with particular medical conditions benefit from using CBD oil suppositories over oral consumption. CBD suppositories are commonly used by:
- Patients with neurological conditions such as ALS, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease who have difficulty swallowing
- Patients who undergo chemotherapy and suffer from nausea and vomiting.
- Patients who are restricted from ingesting solid food before an operation or surgery
- Patients with compromised lungs who cannot tolerate inhalable CBD products and who do not want to take CBD capsules or pills
- Patients who want a faster delivery method for high concentration
Product Selection Method
If you are well-acquainted with CBD, you already know that CBD products are not made equally. You have to choose CBD brands from companies that show transparency and are dedicated to providing customers with safe and quality CBD suppositories.
When you are shopping for CBD suppositories or any other CBD product, you have to take note of the following requirements:
CBD Brand Reputation
We choose CBD brands from transparent companies with a solid reputation. They have to be dedicated to providing safe and top-quality products.
Natural and Non-GMO
CBD products should be derived from all-natural and non-GMO U.S-grown hemp. The CBD must undergo a safe extraction method and produce the least amount of processing.
All other ingredients should be natural and non-GMO. It means that the source of the ingredients should not be genetically engineered.
Independent Third-Party Lab Results
Manufacturers of CBD products must openly show third-party lab test results to customers to prove that the cannabinoid levels in the product match the product label.
CBD suppositories must be tested to determine whether they contain pesticides, moulds, or heavy metals.
Active and Inactive Ingredients
We take a look at every active and inactive ingredient in the product to ensure that you get the best quality CBD products on the market. As much as possible, we recommend products made from all-natural ingredients as possible. The active ingredient is the specific component in the product that causes the desired physiological effect when consumed.
Users have different needs, desires, and purposes for CBD products. Some brands offer one or two brand potencies, while others offer more.
We constantly look for products that have a wide range of potencies to satisfy the needs, desires, and purposes of as many customers as possible. However, the brands of CBD suppositories in our recommended list contain 50 mg of CBD for every suppository.
We prefer to promote products that include a wide price range to cater to each individual’s budget. Prices will vary depending on the potency, serving size, volume, and added ingredients. We strive to provide you with the required information to make a well-informed decision to suit your particular needs and budget range.
We seek to recommend products made using extraction methods that are safe and clean. There are primarily three methods used to extract CBD, and we will discuss each one below.
The first is solvent extraction using propane, ethanol, butane, or isopropyl alcohol to extract the cannabinoid from the plant. This extraction method is cheap and quick, but it risks leaving harmful solvent residue behind.
The second is the olive oil method, a clean and cost-effective extraction technique. The plant material is soaked in olive oil or any other carrier oil and heated to a specific temperature for a certain period. Soon enough, the carrier oil gets infused with the cannabinoids from the plant. However, the main issue with olive oil is that it can go rancid quickly and must be stored appropriately to maintain freshness. Many manufacturers use coconut oil as a carrier oil or any other option with a longer shelf life.
The best extraction method so far is the CO2 method. Carbon dioxide is cooled to the point that it reaches a liquid state. The hemp is mixed with the liquid, and both are subjected to high pressure to achieve infusion. It is an expensive method that requires proper equipment and facilities, but it produces an extract that is safe, potent, chlorophyll-free, and solvent-free.
With all these in mind, here are CBD School’s top 4 CBD suppository recommendations:
How many CBD suppositories should I use?
If you are a beginner, always discuss the optimum dosage with a qualified medical professional knowledgeable in CBD suppository usage. In addition, make sure to follow the proper dosage and instructions provided on the product page of the suppository.
Some CBD suppositories have around 20-25 mg CBD content. However, the products mentioned above each contain 50 mg of CBD. This amount may be too much for those just starting their CBD journey. Hence, it is best to cut the product in half to prevent lethargy or other adverse effects.
The most suitable dosage for each person varies depending on many factors. It is wise to start with a smaller amount and monitor how your body reacts. Always start with the minimal amount of CBD that produces the expected effect. If the dose is too small, it will not provide you with any benefit and will only be wasted. An amount that is too high might have adverse effects. Remember that CBD is a biphasic compound, and its effects can diminish or change when it surpasses a specific dose.
How to use CBD suppositories?
CBD suppositories that have a firm consistency are most efficient. Store them in a freezer or refrigerator to maintain their firmness and shape.
To insert a rectal CBD suppository, you should lie down sideways and pull your knees up towards your chest. Then, you need to insert the suppository, pointed end first, into the rectum using your index finger. Insert 2.5cm to 4cm of the suppository to reach past the inner anal sphincter. Make sure to wash your hands after inserting the product.
Clench the muscles of your buttocks together as you flex the inner muscles of the anus by approximately 3-4 seconds to prevent the suppository from slipping out of the anal cavity.
It is essential to lie down sideways for at least 2-3 minutes. Remember that the associated liquid from the suppository may leak mildly from your rectum for at least a few hours. Therefore, the best time to use a cannabis suppository is during your bedtime or nap time because you have plenty of time to lay down and take your time. Besides, you can use CBD oil for sleep .
Vaginal CBD Suppositories
The products recommended in this article are for vaginal and rectal use. However, not all suppositories are deemed safe for vaginal use. If you want to use CBD suppositories to treat menstrual cramps, make sure you use vaginal suppositories.
Always read the instructions placed on the packaging to avoid inserting the wrong suppository. Some CBD suppositories are designed for RECTAL use ONLY. There are compounds in rectal suppositories that may not be pleasant for vaginal use. Hence, be sure to read every instruction on the packaging to determine if it is safe for vaginal insertion.
Insert the vaginal CBD suppository into the vaginal cavity as deep as possible by using a tampon applicator or a finger. You can place some cushion under your buttocks for at least 5 minutes to help the CBD oil get in contact with the uterine and cervical tissue. Vaginal suppositories work fast, thus providing women with a chance to find relief quickly.
How long does it take for a CBD suppository to work?
It takes up to 30 minutes for CBD suppositories to begin showing any effect. In some instances, it may take only 15 minutes or faster.
The base may melt quickly after skin contact when using a homemade CBD suppository. Learn more about using CBD for skincare .
CBD is the most prominent pain management compound found in hemp. When taken as a suppository, it can quickly get into the bloodstream and affect the central nervous system (i.e., the brain and the spinal cord).
How to make suppositories?
You can make CBD oil suppositories at home. However, exercise extreme care to keep all the ingredients clean. Wash your hands and utensils thoroughly before making CBD suppositories at home.
Follow these instructions to make rectal CBD suppositories at home:
- CBD Oil
- Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- Ice tray with pop-out cubes (circular)
- Stir stick
- Place the coconut oil in a container and melt it by placing the container over hot water
- Place 1/8 inch of oil into the bottom of the ice tray reservoirs
- Use a dropper to place a measured amount of CBD oil into each reservoir
- Stir gently
- Freeze the mixture for about 1 to 2 hours
- You can store the homemade suppositories in the freezer
- Before using, you can cut the suppositories into smaller sizes if necessary
Keep in mind that homemade suppositories melt rapidly. Hence, use them during bedtime or at a time when you can lie down for an extended period.
By the end of 2018, the federal government legalized hemp, the cannabis plant from which CBD oil is extracted. As a result, the production of hemp extracts such as CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD oil were also made legal for production, sale, and use.
The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp-derived products legal on a federal level. However, the regulation of hemp, CBD, and other hemp derivatives was put into the hands of the state legislature. Every state has its plan on regulating hemp products under the approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Some states may not allow certain cannabis products, such as smokable cannabis flowers. However, you can easily buy CBD oil suppositories, CBD tinctures for vaping , and most hemp-derived products.
When you purchase a product not produced in your state, it does not necessarily put you at risk of breaking cannabis possession laws. That responsibility is in the hands of local CBD shops. They should know which products they can or cannot sell to you.
You can find marijuana-derived CBD products from state-licensed dispensaries. Marijuana refers to any cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
CBD Safety and Side Effects
CBD oil is one of the safest natural herbal remedies you can find. It is non-addictive, non-toxic, and non-intoxicating. It does not cause any mind-altering effects. Studies show that humans can easily tolerate high doses of CBD without any severe side effects.
Some of the mild side effects of CBD include dry mouth, drowsiness, and lethargy. It may also cause diarrhea, but this is usually caused by the contents and quality of the product.
The best practice is to start with a small dose of CBD, around 5 to 10 mg, depending on your body weight and age. After trying this dose for a few days, you can increase the quantity based on how your body reacts to the cannabinoid. Increase your dose gradually until you reach an amount that delivers the desired effects.
Use the minimum amount of CBD to experience the most optimum relief if you plan to treat an ailment. Keep in mind that when you reach a certain amount of CBD, there is no longer any additional benefit to the body. Taking more will only be a waste of cash.
Starting with a small dose also tests your tolerance to CBD and the other ingredients found in the product. For instance, some users may be allergic to specific terpenes or flavonoids.
There is much that we know and what we don’t know about CBD . Therefore, we have to exercise caution when consuming any form of CBD or other cannabinoids. As far as we know, we can easily tolerate CBD without experiencing significant side effects. Nonetheless, we should consume moderate amounts of CBD or risk experiencing any adverse side effects.
Are CBD Suppositories Suitable for You?
When finding the best delivery method for CBD, it’s wise to explore all options. Anal CBD may be the solution for specific individuals.
For example, some older people can no longer swallow their medications in pill form. Other individuals with cancer may be going through chemo and experiencing chronic nausea and vomiting, making it impossible to take prescription medications without vomiting. Some undergo surgery and are not allowed to ingest any solids.
Using suppositories to consume CBD may seem incredibly awkward because of the many sensitive topics and social ideologies about the rectum. However, this method has many benefits that you should consider.
CBD suppositories provide an efficient way to experience the healing properties of CBD. Introducing CBD oil into the anus offers a quick way to absorb the cannabinoid. Some users even turn to CBD enemas to treat a few gastrointestinal disturbances.
CBD for Hemorrhoids: Can Cannabis Oil Help?
According to a recent survey, 41% of respondents use CBD to alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of illnesses and ailments (1). These conditions include everything from anxiety and minor aches to chronic pain, neurological disorders, and diseases that stem from inflammation. The last group contains one illness that is particularly difficult for people who have it — we’re talking about hemorrhoids.
The condition is caused by inflamed blood vessels in the lower rectum and anus, which may cause pain, itching, bleeding, and swelling. The pesky symptoms are also burdened with social stigma, as people with hemorrhoids often find it embarrassing to admit they struggle with this problem.
Numerous studies have mentioned CBD as a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic (painkiller), but what is the current state of research when it comes to taking CBD specifically for hemorrhoid relief?
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about hemorrhoids; from what they are to how CBD can help and what type of products are recommended to maximize the efficacy of one’s treatment.
What You Need to Know About Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in the lower region of the anal tract in the rectum area. When the walls of these vessels stretch excessively, they become irritated and inflamed, causing the aforementioned pain and itching. Despite being an unpleasant and painful condition, hemorrhoids are generally easy to treat and prevent.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
The underlying cause of hemorrhoids is increased pressure in the lower rectum. This can result from straining during bowel movements, a sitting lifestyle, chronic diarrhea, viral constipation, or poor diet. Other risk factors include obesity, anal intercourse, and bad hygiene (2).
People who eat processed food instead of the one that provides dense nutritional content find themselves constipated on a regular basis, which can speed up the development of hemorrhoids.
Clean eating habits, an active lifestyle, and supplementation with CBD go hand-in-hand for successful prevention and treatment of this ailment.
Interestingly, one of the most common causes of hemorrhoids is that people just push too hard during the heavier duty on the toilet. Sometimes it’s not their fault, as the said constipation may force them to do so in order to push the stool out.
What Are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
Symptoms of hemorrhoids may vary depending on their type. If you suffer from external hemorrhoids, you may experience itching in the anus and notice a hard little tender lump near its area.
You may also experience anal pain, especially when sitting for too long. Although you might be tempted to strain, rub, or clean the area around these lumps, this can make the symptom worse. Fortunately, the majority of external hemorrhoid cases typically go away in up to 5 days.
If you have internal hemorrhoids, it may lead to bleeding from your rectum. It may manifest as bright red blood on the stool, on the toilet paper, or inside the toilet. Hemorrhoids that fall through the anal opening are known as prolapse and may require medical attention.
Can CBD Oil Help with Hemorrhoids?
Common hemorrhoid treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and painkillers such as acetaminophen. However, some individuals have adverse reactions to these compounds; others are afraid of the dangerous side effects, hence the recent interest in natural remedies, such as CBD oil.
Here’s how CBD may help with hemorrhoids.
Several studies mention how CBD might reduce inflammation and pain, which are the telltale signs of hemorrhoids.
CBD Oil for Inflammation and Pain
Several studies mention how CBD might reduce inflammation and pain, the two signs of hemorrhoids.
According to a study published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, CBD produces beneficial effects for the human body through its analgesic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities (3).
Another review supporting CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties has examined the efficacy of the cannabinoid on different conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (4).
IBS triggers inflammation in the lining of the colon, causing severe pain and discomfort. It can also cause hemorrhoids as a result of repeated bowel movements and straining. Treating IBS can translate into successful hemorrhoids prevention.
On top of that, CBD has been highlighted as a potential solution for pain that is difficult to treat. Researchers have been touting CBD for its ability to mitigate pain signals and modulate inflammatory responses in the body.
CBD Oil for Healthy Bowel Movement
Regular, healthy bowel movements are ensured by proper gastrointestinal motility. Dysfunctional motility can trigger constipation and diarrhea.
In a study published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience, the authors mention how CBD is able to modulate gastrointestinal motility in rodent models (6). Another study from the Gastrointestinal Motility Society showed that cannabinoids such as CBD play an important role in relieving certain forms of constipation and controlling intestinal secretion (7).
CBD Oil for Anxiety
A review conducted by Elsevier demonstrated that people with pain conditions might also suffer from anxiety. The authors of the review associated conditions like arthritis, stomach problems, migraine, and hemorrhoids with elevated anxiety levels (8).
CBD has been recently shown by a clinical study to exert anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) actions on the brain. The study examined patients who took CBD for anxiety. The authors concluded that 79.2% of patients noted improvements in their anxiety scores after CBD treatment (9).
The study also stressed the importance of conducting more clinical trials to verify CBD’s efficacy in anxiety-related disorders, although the research team acknowledged that CBD holds therapeutic potential in treating the condition.
How to Use CBD for Hemorrhoids
Taking CBD for hemorrhoids is straightforward; what makes people confused is the abundance of different formats available on the market. These products use different routes of administration, each providing different potency, bioavailability, onset of effects, and duration.
In the next section, we’ll cover the most common CBD options for hemorrhoids.
The Oral Way
We’ve decided to use the “oral” term here because all product types we mention below are meant for dealing with symptoms deriving from deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system. However, the section covers both sublingual, oral, and inhaled forms of CBD.
- CBD oil – also known as CBD drops, the oil comes in dark glass bottles with a dropper for precise dosing. The user needs to pull the desired amount of CBD using the dropper, transfer it under the tongue, and wait for up to one minute until the CBD absorbs through the tiny blood vessels located in the mouth. This route of administration ensures relatively fast effects — within 15–30 minutes after consumption — and a duration time of up to 6 hours. The bioavailability of CBD oil (the amount of CBD that makes it to the bloodstream) has been measured at around 35%.
- CBD capsules — every health supplement out there has a capsule form, and so does CBD. Capsules are more convenient than oil because they carry a predetermined amount of CBD per serving and are super easy to take — you just take as many capsules as you need and swallow them down with water. Since CBD capsules need to be digested in the gut before reaching the bloodstream, they lose some of their potency and the effects take hold with a little delay — up to 2 hours from ingestion — but ensure a longer duration, up to 10 hours. The bioavailability of CBD capsules has been measured at 20%.
- CBD edibles – this category covers food infused with CBD, including gummies, honey sticks, protein bars, lollipops, and more. Similar to capsules, edibles contain a fixed dosage per serving, so there’s no guesswork involved when it comes to dosing. They’re also the most enjoyable form of CBD out there, as you can choose from many different shapes, sizes, and flavors to suit your preferences. Alas, they share one downside with capsules, which is the delayed onset of effects.
- CBD vape oil — CBD vapes are consumed through inhalation. The CBD oil is mixed with thinners like vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol to make the extract compatible with vape pens (the devices you use to consume CBD vape oil). CBD vapes have a major advantage over other consumption methods. Namely, their bioavailability reaches 56% and the effects are noticeable within 5 minutes after inhalation since CBD absorbs into your system through the lung tissue, avoiding the liver and the first-pass metabolism. However, the effects of CBD vapes are short-lived, usually going away after 3 hours.
The Rectal Way
Another way you may target inflammation and pain caused by hemorrhoids is to use a CBD topical such as CBD cream or suppositories.
- CBD cream – topical CBD products are good for treating hemorrhoids because none of the applied CBD has to go through the gastrointestinal system. Instead, the cannabinoid interacts with the CB2 receptors in the skin’s endocannabinoid system, producing its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Individuals seeking relief from hemorrhoids may apply CBD topicals to the affected area in order to target localized inflammation.
- CBD suppositories – this fairly new invention is one of the best ways to apply CBD for hemorrhoids. The rectal walls are chock-full of the blood vessels that absorb and carry CBD to your endocannabinoid system, ensuring remarkably fast absorption and high bioavailability. You may use CBD suppositories for fast relief from inflammation and pain.
CBD Dosage for Hemorrhoids
There are no dosage standards established for CBD products. Those taking CBD for hemorrhoids for the first time are advised to start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you achieve a satisfying level of relief from your symptoms. A study analyzing different dosages recommended starting with 1–50 milligrams a day.
However, studies have yet to determine the right topical CBD dosing for pain relief in affected areas.
Is CBD Safe for Hemorrhoids?
CBD is generally considered a safe substance, with doses of 1,500 mg daily reported as well-tolerated by humans. The biggest advantage of CBD over conventional treatment is the lack of dangerous side effects, such as addiction, tolerance buildup, and lethal overdose.
That being said, CBD has a few mild side effects when taken at high doses:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
There’s also a risk of CBD-drug interactions, as CBD is known to inhibit the system of enzymes that metabolizes active ingredients in medications. For this reason, you should consult a doctor before incorporating CBD oil into your supplementation plan.
What People Are Saying About Using CBD Oil for Hemorrhoids
Although studies on the use of CBD for hemorrhoids are in their infancy, people are using cannabis-derived products to relieve a wide range of ailments — something they couldn’t achieve using conventional measures.
For example, one mum shared on Reddit that CBD had ‘saved her butt’ after she gave birth and suffered from severe hemorrhoids. According to her comment, she suffered from plies following the birth of her baby until discovering CBD. She explains that CBD has helped her go to the bathroom without crying just within 2 days. While the mum admits she was in pain, it was nothing like the pain-coaster she had been on. The CBD absorbed and reached internal hemorrhoid, decreasing inflammation, and pain.
Another person from the same thread described their experience of using the oil for hemorrhoids, saying:
“It was absolutely incredible. I applied it, noticed the inflamed area hurt less within 10 minutes, then went to take a shower about 45 minutes later, and when I went to wash (ahem…) back there, all the swelling had gone and I was completely back to normal.”
Although researchers are still trying to understand the mechanism of action behind CBD’s health benefits for hemorrhoids, experts are saying it probably derives from the remarkable anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.
According to David Barcly, MD, “There have been reports of CBD being a very responsive anti-inflammatory. So one can understand why people would consider using it in this manner. It would be beneficial to have some official research into this.”
Other Remedies for Hemorrhoids
Wondering how you may complement your hemorrhoids treatment with other natural remedies? Here are some common solutions:
- Witch hazel – found in anti-itch wipes and soaps, this ingredient is a natural anti-inflammatory that can reduce both itching and pain. It can also be purchased on its own as a liquid and applied directly to the hemorrhoids.
- Aloe vera – this plant has been used historically to treat hemorrhoids and various skin conditions. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties, helping the user to reduce irritation. The gel can be bought in skincare stores; it is also found in other products, but you should only use pure Aloe vera gel on hemorrhoids. Although clinical studies haven’t yet investigated its efficacy, the National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health considers it very safe for topical use.
- Epsom salt – warm baths with Epsom salt can help ease the irritation from hemorrhoids. You can take a full-body bath in your tube, or use a sitz bath, which is a small plastic tube that you place over the seat of your toilet.
- Over-the-counter ointments –ointments and creams, such as Preparation h, can be found in every pharmacy and provide immediate relief. For some people, it can even reduce swelling and speed up the healing of hemorrhoids. However, it’s best to use these creams for up to one week if they contain hydrocortisone.
- Soothing wipes – regular toilet paper can further irritate existing hemorrhoids. Using a soothing wipe can help keep your rectal area clean without causing further irritation. Some wipes also come with anti-hemorrhoid ingredients, such as aloe vera or witch hazel. Make sure that the wipes you’re buying are free of alcohol, perfume, or other irritants, as they could deteriorate symptoms instead of providing relief.
- Cold compresses – Applying cold compresses or ice packs to the anus may help relieve swelling for 15 minutes at a time. This can be an effective treatment for large, painful hemorrhoids. However, keep in mind not to apply anything frozen directly to the skin, as it may provide opposite results.
- Stool softeners – As reported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, stool softeners or supplements containing fiber, such as psyllium, can help reduce constipation, soften the stool, and make it easy to push it out without painful bowel movements. Many of these products come in the forms of capsules, liquids, and powders that you take orally once and three times a day.
- Loose, natural clothing – changing your tight clothes from synthetic material to ultra-breathable cotton or hemp can help keep the areas prone to hemorrhoids clean and dry. This can also reduce symptoms like redness and irritation. Make sure to steer clear of perfumed detergents or fabric softeners to lower the risk of irritation.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be easily prevented by undertaking certain lifestyle and dietary changes.
First, it’s important that you stay physically active and eat healthy to maintain regular bowel movements. If your diet includes high amounts of carbohydrates and food to which humans are rather adapted than physiologically predisposed, then adding high-fiber foods may come in handy.
Another important step for hemorrhoids prevention is to drink plenty of water. Doing so will help you keep the digestive process working correctly without constipation.
Regular exercise and avoiding long periods of sitting can also help prevent hemorrhoids. The most effective way to prevent constipation is to visit the bathroom when you first feel the urge for the heavy-duty. Delaying bowel movements allows the organ to reabsorb water from the stool, making it harder to excrete.
Final Verdict: Does CBD Help for Hemorrhoids Relief?
Although no study has yet investigated the efficacy of CBD specifically on hemorrhoids, research has acknowledged that CBD oil might help reduce symptoms of this ailment, such as pain and inflammation.
Through influencing the endocannabinoid system to modulate the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, CBD might help maintain healthy bowel movements and prevent hemorrhoids from occurring in the first place.
Maintaining a high-fiber diet that promotes regular bowel movement, as well as staying physically active, can also prevent the condition.
If hemorrhoids do occur, it’s best to consult a physician and discuss your treatment options, including taking CBD oil. A consultation with a qualified doctor will help you not only determine the right dosage for your case of hemorrhoids but also avoid potential interactions with other medications.
Have you used CBD for hemorrhoids? If so, did it help? Share your story in the comments below!
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Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.