Canadian CANNAINVESTOR Magazine May 2017 - Page 236

More acceptable to pharma is sub-lingual absorption: utilizing the known “porosity” of mucosal membranes under the tongue and in the back of the throat to absorb active ingredients. Typical absorption rates here are in the 12% - 15% range; obviously lower than pulmonary absorption as described above, but more consistent and with fewer poor health effects.

And finally there are edible products. Pills, capsules, liquids and even foods all deliver their active ingredients through the gastro intestinal (GI) system which is the mouth and throat; stomach; intestine; and either liver or lymphatic system: to the destination which is the blood stream. Typical absorption rates of edible products containing either cannabinoids or even many vitamins, is way down in the 4% - 6% range.

This low absorption is an indication of a healthy GI: your body is designed to eliminate pathogens and otherwise not absorb but instead “pass through” anything your body does not immediately recognize as nourishing food. GI absorption is negatively impacted by high stomach acidity; large molecule sizes; inability to pass through the intestinal wall; and first-pass liver filtration that prevents many molecules from reaching the bloodstream.

If you’ve ever eaten a cannabis cookie and wondered why it TAKES SO LONG or why the high is different, the answers are all in the GI system. It simply takes time for THC and other cannabinoids to travel through the GI, and in particular transit through the liver which can take up to an hour or even longer on its own. As well, the liver recognizes THC and CBD as quite different compounds, and the metabolite of THC that exits the liver is not the same as what entered – the exiting THC is more powerful from a psychoactive point of view. This is what leads to the sharp, full body high sometimes associated with edibles.

But technology already exists to change the way active ingredients such as cannabinoids are absorbed by the human GI. It relies on decades-old science that discovered a propensity for long chain fatty acids to bypass first pass liver metabolism. Certain molecules like long chain fatty acids are recognized by sensory apparatus in the GI and shunted into the lymphatic system for much more rapid absorption that also avoids the metabolite transformation of the liver. This leads to more predictable, “smoother” highs for those who are ingesting THC; and most important of all it permits for delivery to the bloodstream in as little as 15 minutes.