“Should I put it in my ass or pussy?” I asked my partner while holding an iridescent child-proof package of Mello Bottoms, a rectal and vaginal CBD suppository.
I had just started PMSing and the dull ache of my lower back, which usually is not mitigated by over-the-counter pain remedies, grew increasingly strong as the morning hours wore on. I decided it was time for the big guns, and pulled out a white plastic holster from the unicorn-hued package. In it were a handful or so of 75-milligram full-spectrum CBD suppositories.
While I would eventually try a variety of suppositories in both holes, this time I decided to put it in my vagina. It had been a while since I tried any kind of suppository. Before I even left the bedroom, it had fallen out onto the floor, leaving a weed-smelling oily trail down my right leg. Fearing a hotdog in a hallway situation, I decided instead that I probably didn’t push it far enough into my vaginal canal.
Simply defined, a suppository is a cone-shaped solid made of base oils with other medicines in it, like CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in the case of cannabinoid-featuring suppositories.
Once inside the body, the oils liquefy, dispensing the medicine into the bloodstream. The whole point of going bottoms up over, say, ingesting CBD orally, as one would a pill, oil, or edible, is that absorbing the medicine anally or vaginally skips the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. Because of this, it will retain its potency, not lose any active ingredients in the gut, and also, hit faster.
In the case of CBD suppositories, the hit is intended to be more subtly therapeutic and is not likely to cause a head high (this is also due to liver bypassing). However, it is intended to be potent, owing to the fact that the pelvic region for people of all genders has more cannabinoid receptors than other parts of the body, which means that more acute treatment and dosing is possible by using CBD suppositories.
Suppositories with CBD purport to reduce stress and relax muscles, which is particularly useful during sex, especially for those who are trying something (or someone) new.
Many people also seek suppositories for pain management, which is what I was in the market for, or for their allegedly beneficial qualities at alleviating pain during sex, whether they need a little help stretching out their butthole or they have an inverted cervix, to give a couple of examples.
While there is a lack of clinical research to support full evidence one way or another, patients suffering from vulvodynia or endometriosis also anecdotally report finding relief with cannabinoid suppositories, claims that are supported by the advice of some cannabis-friendly doctors. Anally, they are also used for general rectal pain or hemorrhoids.
In the past, I have used suppositories to treat gastrointestinal issues and the pain that comes with them. Pills like Advil, which rely on ibuprofen, can be harsh on my stomach sometimes. I can get similar relief from a suppository—no stomach trouble necessary.
CBD suppositories may also be useful for dryness, seeing as they are oil-based, which I remembered when the one I put in my vagina and it popped right back out. Women experiencing menopause (and perimenopause) have reported finding them particularly useful during those years for that reason.
While suppositories from Mello Bottoms contain just CBD, other companies, like women’s health cannabis brand Hello Again’s suppositories, also contain THC. There is a theory called the entourage effect, the mechanics of which are still being tinkered within the scientific community, which holds that cannabinoids work best therapeutically when in concert with other cannabinoids, like an enhancement of sorts.
So, while the presence of THC isn’t intended to get anyone high (and it is not likely to), it is intended to have a physiological effect, especially as THC is shown to have analgesic properties effective in fighting pain. In markets where THC products are not legal, full-spectrum CBD, which is an extract containing all kinds of compounds from the hemp plant, including less than 0.3% THC, is what keeps it legal everywhere. It’s believed that full-spectrum CBD is preferable to isolate because of the presence of other cannabinoids.
Like all medicines, while the purity and efficacy of ingredients are important, so is the dosing. 75 milligrams, which is what I tried in the Mello CBD suppositories, was enough to help dull the pain but it didn’t make it disappear completely. I later tried one anally and decided they were best for muscle relaxation and general lubrication, therefore, they are really good sex aids.
In contrast, the Hello Again Sleep formula is more potent and relies on a totally different ratio—4 milligrams CBD and 20 milligrams THC. I tried it 12 hours later, at night, while my cramps were still acting up. While it helped dull my pain, it also had another effect--making me extremely physically aroused, if not exactly mentally. THC is a vasodilator, which means it opens up the blood vessels. If that is applied vaginally, there’s likely to be a blood rush. Apart from the suppositories being oil-based, this is another way it can help combat vaginal dryness.
While this function has its time and place, at the time it was kind of annoying and uncomfortable because I was just trying to relax and go to sleep, though my engorged vagina was having none of it. Already lubed up, I decided to take my vibrator for a spin (abbreviated product review: it works), which was easier to do than ever thanks to my lower half feeling like a cloud. My work here was through.
I have teamed up with friend and fellow cannabis journalist Lindsay MaHarry to debut THE UNROLLING SERIES, our new Instagram show in which we cut open pre-rolled joints to see what’s inside and whether or not it’s worth your time. I think we have all been the victim of a sneakily bad pre-roll more often than we’d like to admit. That stops today! Check out EPISODE 1 and here’s the second:
Sorry for the radio silence! I have been buried under work and it’s been kind of physically and mentally impossible to push out the newsletter. Bills gotta get paid and all that. But I am not going anywhere, and neither is Cannabitch. I have some good issues and topics lined up after this one.
I have a brand new staff writing gig at UPROXX, where I am covering both weed and travel. It’s not full-time, which is good—I have lots of other things kicking, and having more of a steady gig in the middle helps me keep organized and less overworked.
This exact newsletter also received a very special accolade! My piece “California’s Weed Country is Lit” from last October was selected for the 2021 printing of Best American Travel Writing, which features travel writing from some of the best in the game, as well as the biggest publications. It is edited by Padma Lakshmi, who hand-selected my piece, which is cool. Oh, and Cannabitch. What a trip. It will be published in November by HMH Books (you might remember I had a selection in last year’s book, too, about hiking to drop water in the desert for migrants crossing the border by foot).
I have published quite a lot in the last few months.
For Voice of San Diego, I wrote about San Diego’s first homegrown union contract for cannabis workers. I went on KPBS to talk about it, too (also included is my friend and former CityBeat colleague, beer writer Beth Demmon, who discusses the recent abuse and harassment allegations in craft beer):
My first UPROXX piece revealed who actually grows Seth Rogen’s weed.
For Weedmaps, I interviewed Jim Belushi and asked him what weed products he can’t live without. Did you know he grows now? He owns and operates a cannabis farm in Oregon.
Sometimes I don’t write about weed! For Voice of San Diego, I wrote about a significant labor dispute between a very wealthy tribal casino, its workers (who are trying to unionize), and a labor union, which very much wants to organize the state’s tribal casinos. There is union-busting, lawsuits, bad working conditions, shitty casino customers, and lots of historical and cultural sensitivities involved. It’s messy, to say the least.
For Healthline, I wrote about how to be high on weeeeeeeeeed either for the first time or as someone getting back into it. People loved this one, and I think my sources and I, as well as my editor, did a nice job solidifying a pretty abstract concept.
Also for WeedWeek, I wrote about the looming growth of (and controversies around) lesser-known cannabinoids like Delta-8, CBG, THC-V, CBN, and more.
For UPROXX I wrote about “10 CBD Balms That Actually Aren’t Trash,” which several people said was the “most Jackie Bryant headline ever.”
For Stained Page News I wrote about the wide and growing world of cannabis cookbooks. It was fun to write about food stuff again.
For San Diegans: Lakeside has a winery!? Yes, a brand new one. In my drinks column for Ranch & Coast.
For Forbes I asked folks in the cannabis industry to talk about what being “essential” this past year has meant for them and their bottom lines.
Until next time. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em! Thanks for being here.