Cannabis plants contain more than 60 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids. These molecules attach to specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system, most notably in the brain and the immune system. Cannabinoids are responsible for the effects of marijuana, such as feeling euphoric, relaxed, and even “high.” Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive cannabinoid most widely studied.
Almost daily now, researchers are investigating new therapeutic uses for CBD. Scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system almost by accident back in 1990, as well as its two primary receptors: Cannabinoid 1, or CB1, and cannabinoid 2, or CB2. CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain. When activated, they play a crucial role in motor control, memory processing, and pain perception.
THC binds to these CB1 receptors, which is why users feel “high” and lose all sense of pain. CBD, on the other hand, interacts with CB2 receptors, which are active in the immune system. In this way, it is able to reduce inflammation, relieving pain at its source, and influence immune response to a myriad of medical conditions. It also regulates the immune system itself, which is vital for optimal health.
In 2012, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a review of many studies into the benefits of CBD. It found CBD possessing anticonvulsant, antiemetic, antipsychotic, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antidepressant properties. People use it to treat anxiety, pain, inflammation, seizures, nausea, cancer, infections, depression, PTSD, spasms and so much more.
Ways of Consuming Cannabis
For cannabinoids to work, your body must first absorb them. This means that they must find their way from point of entry to the bloodstream, from where it can travel around the body to interact with cannabinoid receptors, such as CB1 and CB2, as well as non-cannabinoid receptors, such as the vanilloid receptor TRPV-1 and the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A.
How it does this will depend on how you consume it, called the route of administration. The method of ingestion will greatly affect the uptake, distribution, and elimination of THC and CBD in your body. This is vitally important information, since the method you choose will determine how effective cannabinoid therapy will ultimately be in helping you overcome your medical issues.
You can consume weed in a variety of different ways. You can smoke it, swallow tinctures, add it to food, smear it on your skin, inhale it, and even swish it around your mouth. However, the way you choose to use it will influence the effect it has on you, as well as how long it takes to work. The body absorbs cannabinoids in different ways too, so how you consume it is of paramount importance.
Absorption of Cannabis When Inhaled
You can smoke marijuana flowers or you can vape THC and CBD concentrates, such as cannabis oil, which have greater cannabinoid potencies. Inhalation is an effective method of delivery and preferred by many because the body absorbs it quickly this way. Effects are near immediate, making it a good option for anyone needing pain relief now instead of hours later.
When you inhale weed, the alveoli in your lungs absorbs these compounds very quickly. The lungs also offer a larger surface area for absorption. Once CBD and THCpass through the alveoli, speedily since you are breathing continuously, it enters the bloodstream. From there, it travels quickly through the body. Compared to other methods, inhaling absorbs more cannabinoids at once and much faster too.
Absorption of Cannabis When Ingested or Taken Sublingually
Without doubt, one of the most common methods of consuming THC and CBD is orally, via the mouth. It is quick, easy to dose, and convenient. When you do this, however, whether you eat it in food or swallow drops, it must first go through the digestive system. This process is lengthy. From the digestive tract, it then travels to the hepatic portal system, through the portal vein, and on into the liver.
In the liver, processes become a bit tricky. The U.S. National Library of Medicine published a study detailing how the liver metabolizes cannabinoid compounds. Called the “first pass effect,” CYP450 oxidases enzymes in the liver, which have mixed functions, break compounds down, reducing potency significantly before sending the leftovers to the bloodstream.
Ingesting weed, despite being the easiest method of delivery, is not particularly efficient at absorbing cannabinoids in high concentrations and can take as long as two hours to work. However, another study, also published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, suggests that swallowing CBD with fatty acids may bypass this “first pass effect” and increase absorption rates of cannabinoids after ingestion.
You can also take CBD and THC sublingually, or hold it under the tongue for a minute or two before swallowing. This method allows the mucus membranes of the mouth to absorb cannabinoids instead, bypassing digestion and metabolism in the liver entirely. Since no enzymes break the molecules down and it does not travel through the stomach, CBD and THC are able to reach the bloodstream faster.
Absorption of Cannabis When Applied Topically
When you smear cannabis oils or creams onto your skin, it will never reach the bloodstream. You will never get “high.” In using it this way, you get targeted relief to a specific area. The skin absorbs THC and CBD so that it can interact with cannabinoid receptors nearby. Generally, human skin is not very permeable. It blocks the majority of substances to prevent them from entering the body.
Your skin will not absorb cannabinoids very well. Absorption rates are very low. This is why, for topical pot products to work, you have to apply them very generously, as in thick enough to break this barrier. If you are liberal enough in your application, your skin pores will absorb them to affect targeted healing. Additionally, this method works best when lotions, salves and balms contain very high concentrations.
The only topical weed products able to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream are transdermal patches. Transdermal, by its very definition, means able to cross the dermal barrier to reach the blood. The U.S. Library of Medicinediscusses a study proving the ability to CBD to be efficiently absorbed via transcutaneous methods.
Find Marijuana for Sale Online
There are other ways to consume CBD and THC too, including rectally and intravenously. Both methods enter the bloodstream very quickly, since absorption occurs via mucous membranes and directly respectively. However, nobody wants to inject or insert cannabis. Although severely ill patients do it, they are generally unpopular for most people, who simply prefer to buy marijuana online.