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Suppositories are in several ways more effective than traditional methods of cannabis medication administration. Once inside the anus, the medicinal compounds in suppositories are quickly absorbed through the intestinal wall directly into the bloodstream, which results in “superior bioavailability” over other forms of administration. That means you get more of the medicinal effects of the product using a suppository than if you smoked or ate the same amount.
Inhaled cannabis starts working almost immediately, but it wears off quickly unless you keep doing it periodically. The effects of oral cannabis might not be felt for 30–90 minutes because it has to travel through the intestine and liver. Although it can take 10–15 minutes for rectally inserted cannabis to kick in, effects can last four to eight hours.
Inhaling cannabis is 10–25 percent efficient, depending on how much and how frequently you continue to smoke it. Eating cannabis is around 20 percent efficient, and it has varying effects every time. In contrast, rectal administration of cannabis is 50–70 percent efficient, and its effects are predictable from patient to patient and from dose to dose.
Suppositories are an ideal choice for many patients, such as chemotherapy patients who experience severe nausea and can’t keep oral cannabis down, elderly and babies who can’t smoke or swallow pills, surgery patients who are not allowed to ingest anything immediately before or after a procedure, and patients in severe distress who can’t wait for oral cannabis to take effect. There are also some people who just have sensitive stomachs that are irritated by ingesting cannabis.