Cannabis suppositories: Are they what you think?

Twitter icon

Period cramps got you down?

Are the usual over-the-counter medications doing nothing to help ease discomfort and pain? Is popping pain relievers like candy part of a regular, unwelcome routine meant to—please, please, please—deliver you from a foetal to upright position: Maybe cannabis suppositories offer a glimmer of hope.

If so, the option may prove attractive to both women and their doctors, some who are already prescribing a combination of CBD—known to have anti-inflammatory properties—and THC to ease menstrual pain.

How do the suppositories work?

The tiny, golden, egg-shaped pill made with cocoa butter and CBD oil was created by Foria Wellness, a cannabis company based in California whose wellness formulas use traditional herbs and botanicals, including cannabis, to create enhancement products for women and men.

Gaining a misnomer and a bit of online fame in 2016 as the “cannabis tampon,” Kiana Reeves, director of communications for Foria, wants everyone to know the product is, in fact, a suppository, closer to Canesten, which is inserted into the vagina with an applicator to treat infection at the site, but without the applicator.

Story Continues Below

“It started getting press coverage as the ‘weed tampon’, that’s how it became known. It’s definitely not a tampon,” Reeves says.

There are two different suppositories available on Foria’s online store: one made with only CBD that can be shipped worldwide, including to Canada, and another that also includes THC that is only available in California and Colorado.

The product is inserted either vaginally or rectally and the company claims the user will start feeling relieving effects, after the suppository melts, following about 20 minutes to an hour after insertion.

Everyone is different and everyone will experience the suppository differently, Reeves notes, adding that “it’s really about each person (having) a unique endocannabinoid system. Each person’s body is going to respond differently to those cannabinoids.”

Doctors likely open to approved ways to ease patient pain

Dr. Vahid Salimpour, a physician at Apollo Cannabis Clinics, often prescribes a combination of CBD and THC to soothe menstrual discomfort for patients experiencing pain. “I personally recommend patients try CBD oil as a proactive approach and a combination of CBD/THC for breakthrough pain management, if needed and accepted by the patient,” he notes.

Dr. Salimpour says no such cannabis suppository has been approved by Health Canada. Still, he adds, “like any other pharmaceutical vaginal suppository produced under good manufacturing practices, quality control and inspections, medical cannabis vaginal suppositories developed and produced by Canadian licensed producers would be safe to be used.”

What is the efficacy of cannabis suppositories?

It is a question that researchers are looking to answer. Staci Gruber, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is in the process of conducting a study on the efficiency of cannabis-infused suppositories. Currently undergoing an approval process with McLean Hospital, where the study—which will use suppositories made by Foria Wellness—will involve 400 people who experience menstrual pain and other symptoms of menstruation.

A Vancouver-based dispensary, Village Bloomery, currently sells Canadian-made cannabis suppositories from BioMed Botanicals, a licenced producer in British Columbia. BioMed’s suppositories use THC. These suppositories can be used for menstrual pain too, but also for pain in general.

Whatever its form, using cannabis to treat symptoms of menstruation is nothing new. In fact, an article published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics discusses how ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia and India treated menstrual cramps and other symptoms associated with menstruation and pregnancy. Historical rumour even has it that Queen Victoria used cannabis to treat her cramps.

Health Canada’s rules regarding cannabis currently allow cannabis suppositories, but the limit on the amount of THC allowed is quite strict. The latest cannabis legislation that will legalize edibles and other cannabis-based products is supposed to become law by Oct. 17, 2019.

e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: 
Article category: 
Regional Marijuana News: