More medical cannabis patients are discovering the benefits of sublingual application through cannabis essential oils and tinctures. Smoking and eating edibles are still the most popular ways to medicate with cannabis, but depending on your condition you may find it more effective to switch to sublingual dosing.
Sublingual dosing means that you are administering the drug through the tissue beneath the tongue. Through this method of administration, the cannabinoids immediately enter the bloodstream because the sublingual cavity is filled with vessel-rich tissues. Sublingual dosing is the quickest form of relief; ideal for patients whose conditions require them to rely on fast-acting therapeutic effects, such as those who are in chronic pain. Sublingual application delivers the effects of cannabis in as little as 30 seconds up to 2 minutes.
Sublingual application is considerably a better choice compared to ingestion for many because of the decreased bioavailabilty in the digestive tract. Medicating with edibles only lets you absorb around 20% of the cannabinoids, and these have to first be processed by the liver before they make it to the bloodstream. This is why edibles takes a significantly longer time to hit (30 minutes up to an hour or more), which doesn’t make it ideal for patients who need fast-acting relief. However, in some cases patients medicate with edibles after sublingual application; doing so can provide a more holistic and longer-lasting therapeutic experience.
Sublingual Application vs. Smoking
While quick and effective relief is the primary benefit of sublingual dosing, many also find sublingual application as a safer choice compared to smoking since it doesn’t expose the body to tar or hurt the throat, ideal for patients who already suffer from respiratory conditions. Additionally, sublingual application is also much more discrete; it doesn’t give off a smell and can thus be used to medicate in public.
Patients need only small amounts of cannabis products to deliver a therapeutic effect when medicating through sublingual application. Even with less cannabis, more of the active cannabinoids can still enter the bloodstream. It also gives patients as well as physicians more control over the dosing of cannabinoids.
Sublingual Application of the Actual Plant
Aside from oils and tinctures, it’s also completely possible to medicate by applying cannabis sublingually provided that it’s already been decarboxylated. Using decarboxylated cannabis directly underneath the tongue can immediately deliver the cannabinoids into your bloodstream in the same way that tinctures and oils do but without further processing, which makes it healthier and more effective for many patients.
You won’t get the same medical benefits if you use cannabis that hasn’t been decarboxylated. This process is necessary to activate THCA into THC, which is a more powerful state of the cannabinoid. The use of heat through cooking (or smoking) is critical in the conversion of the cannabinoids. For patients who find tinctures and oils too expensive, this is a more cost-effective option.
Biphasic Cannabis Effect
Whether you are medicating sublingually or using other methods of administration, when it comes to cannabis keep in mind that its compounds possess biphasic properties. This means that high and low doses of the same thing can lead to opposite results. Consuming small doses of cannabis is known to stimulate while large doses can sedate. Taking too much THC isn’t lethal although this has been known to make mood disorders, anxiety, and depression worse. On the other hand, there are no known side effects to CBD since it’s a nonpsychoactive compound although consuming large amounts of CBD even sublingually can be less therapeutic and won’t be as effective so taking moderate doses is always the key. When medicating with cannabis, keep in mind that less is always more.