This discovery is significant, as sublingual use of decarboxylated cannabis provides accurate delivery of THC and other useful cannabinoids, such as CBD, without the drawbacks of smoking or cooking cannabis.
Direct sublingual application allows the cannabinoids to quickly enter the bloodstream through the vessel-rich tissues within the sublingual cavity which can be achieved by placing decarboxylated cannabis under the tongue.
Sublingual THC Dosing Starts with 100% Decarboxylation
Conversely, the sublingual dosage form induces an effect in a subject within about 30 to 120 seconds of the sublingual dosage. Therefore, ingestion is an inefficient form of administration due to the lag in time of the effects.
The onset of pharmacological effects is rapid, and the duration often exceeds other forms of ingestion. With sublingual marijuana use, the delivery of both THC and other useful cannabinoids is significantly improved.
Direct sublingual application (DSA) of cannabis, however, provides accurate, rapid administration with no negative health effects.
Tablets or Lozenges
These are exactly what they sound like—small, usually round discs that patients put in their mouths. However, unlike other kinds of tablets or lozenges, they aren’t intended to be swallowed or sucked on. They slip under the tongue, where they dissolve quickly and deliver cannabis directly to the bloodstream. There’s no harm in swallowing or sucking on them, but symptom relief may be delayed by as much as two hours and the duration of action might be longer than desired.
Microdosing With Sublinguals
Microdosing—a growing trend in medical cannabis use where less is more—is a common use for sublingual products because it’s easy to take small, exact doses to control symptoms while avoiding the intoxicating effects of THC that may interfere with daily life. While a “regular” dose of THC is 5 to 10 mg, a microdose is 2.5 mg or less. This type of precise dosing is difficult with smoking and vaping and even with edibles since other factors influence absorption through the digestive tract.
Types of Sublingual Products
2. Weed J. As new cannabis products gain traction, ‘pass the joint’ may turn to ‘pass the eye-dropper.’ Forbes. April 1, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/julieweed/2019/04/01/pass-the-joint-may-trun-to-pass-the-weed-eyedropper/#6e1d57ecde03. Accessed January 21, 2020.
Many medical cannabis patients prefer to use sublingual products rather than smoke or vape to avoid the exposure to smoke and other byproducts of combustion. Moreover, for novice users, these products are superior to edibles because they limit first-pass liver metabolism and thus the conversion of delta-9-THC to the more psychoactive form 11-hydroxy-THC, which may cause an extra-intense high that’s been known to make medical cannabis users uneasy. Another benefit of avoiding the digestive system is that the effects of sublingual products can usually be felt within 15 minutes and last for two to three hours, which is more like the bioavailability of smoking or vaping and unlike that of edibles. It makes sublingual products a good choice for fast, short action for patients who need episodic symptom relief without feeling the effects of cannabis all day.