When certain medicines are placed under the tongue, they work faster and oftentimes better than other methods of ingestion — such as swallowing a pill.
Now that 175 million Americans (more than half of the American population) have access to medical marijuana, the number of ways to consume cannabis have grown substantially. Colorado ganjapreneur Bianca Esparza founded medical marijuana company B’s Treats, which specializes in making pot-infused edibles meant to be taken sublingually — or beneath the tongue.
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“You can feel it faster (when taken sublingually),” Esparza told Cannabist editor Ricardo Baca on a recent Cannabist Show. “In fact I tell patients, ‘If you really need a hard medication right now, just suck on this (lollipop) for the next 20 minutes, and when you feel the medication has hit you enough, you can put it away and use that for another dosage.’ “
When you swallow a pill, it must go through your entire gastrointestinal tract. This means the stomach (with acid and bile), the intestines (where most absorption takes place) and then off to the liver, for some more filtering. And THEN it’s delivered to where it’s needed.
Truthfully, it’s the long way, when you think about it. Going under the tongue bypasses this entire route, and delivers the medication right to the bloodstream. No waiting, no roadblocks — just right into the blood and off to do its job.
Esparza learned from her own experiences as a medical marijuana patient using cannabis to treat her glaucoma. The baked goods she made with cannabutter took a long time to relieve the immense pressure in her eyes, but the honey-based infusions she would take sublingually would hit her more quickly.
“Patients are just trying to get that relief as soon as possible, so it was important to me to try to create products that they could take and feel that relief even faster,” said Esparza, adding that she especially enjoys using her company’s cannabis-infused honey. “Since (honey is) pre-digested it gets into your system easily. It’s very easy for your system to take in, so that helps with the marijuana affecting the patient faster.”