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Maybe you massage CBD into your muscles, or let a droplet of oil dribble into your mouth.
But have you ever gotten your CBD by inserting it anally or vaginally?
For a number of reasons, ranging from decreased pain to increased pleasure, more and more people — especially vagina owners — are.
Here’s the lowdown on inserting CBD down there.
Suppositories are small round or cone-shaped medications designed to be inserted into the vagina, anus, or urethra.
Once inside, the medication melts or dissolves and is absorbed by the body.
CBD suppositories are suppositories that list CBD as an ingredient.
An abbreviation for cannabidiol, CBD is a nonintoxicating compound in the cannabis plant that reps a range of benefits.
As you might expect, all CBD suppositories include CBD. Beyond that, the full ingredient list varies by product.
Common additions include:
- coconut oil
- cocoa butter
- avocado oil
- apple cider vinegar
“Cannabinoids are fat soluble molecules, which is why most CBD suppositories have a fat-based base like oil,” says Kiana Reeves, sex and community educator with Foria, a holistic, hemp-based sexual wellness company.
CBD can’t get you high.
The cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for that.
Some CBD suppositories do contain THC, so if this is cause for concern, make sure you read the full ingredient list before purchase and use.
Still, even if the product contains THC, you’re unlikely to experience the head-high associated with oral ingestion.
The body doesn’t process THC the same way when it’s inserted anally or vaginally as it does when it’s ingested or smoked, explains Melanie Bone, MD, an OB-GYN who started a cannabis practice in Florida in 2016.
“The THC isn’t in suppositories to get you high, but to help the CBD work most optimally,” she says, adding that cannabinoids work best when used with other cannabinoids.
Well, when you ingest something orally, it has to go through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract before it makes its way into your bloodstream.
The trouble with this is that “when something gets digested, a lot of good-for-you ingredients don’t actually get used,” explains Boronia Fallshaw, the founder of Mello, a company that sells CBD-prominent products.
So instead of working their full magic, they end up in the toilet.
According to Bone, suppositories allow medication to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, which means more medication actually gets utilized.
Beyond that, “there are a ton of cannabinoid receptors in the pelvic tissues,” she says.
So inserting CBD (and THC) vaginally or anally allows for more targeted relief than what oral ingestion of these ingredients can provide.
“Suppositories are a more common delivery method than you might think,” says Bone. For example, they’re frequently used to ease vaginal dryness in folks experiencing menopause.
She adds that suppositories have long been used by people with GI conditions to deliver medication. So, sometimes a cannabis-positive healthcare provider will recommend suppositories if oral ingestion isn’t possible.
Many CBD suppositories on the market can be inserted anally or vaginally (note: not via the urethra).
Your orifice of choice will depend on:
- your anatomy
- the product
- the symptom you want to remedy or the benefit you’re aiming for
Anal suppositories are generally used:
- by folks who have a GI condition
- for hemorrhoids and rectal pain
- as part of prep for anal sex
Vaginal suppositories are generally used:
- for relief from vaginal-specific health conditions
- to increase pleasure during vaginal penetration
Make sure you thoroughly review the label or packaging before use.
Some products are only designed to be inserted vaginally, while others are only intended for anal use.
And some can be used either anally or vaginally.
It’s incredibly difficult to get funding for research as it pertains to sexual pleasure, reproductive health, and menstrual relief.
And it’s similarly hard AF to get funding for research around cannabis.
So as you might guess, clinical research on CBD suppositories is very limited.
At this point in time, the purported benefits of CBD suppositories come from either anecdotal reports or by analyzing the available research on similar products.
These benefits may include the following:
A condition that affects up to
For example, uterine tissue could develop on the:
- fallopian tubes
This can cause severe pain, among other symptoms.
“Endometriosis creates a ton of inflammation in the pelvic region,” explains Bone.
So if you introduce inflammation-reducing CBD to the area, you may experience relief from your symptoms, she says.
Decreased symptoms of dyspareunia
Science speak for “painful sex,” dyspareunia can occur as a result of a number of conditions.
- vaginal scarring
- pelvic floor dysfunction
- uterine fibroids
- ovarian cysts
- interstitial cystitis
It’s estimated that nearly 75 percent of all people with vulvas will experience pain during penetrative sex at some point in their life.
Heather Jeffcoat, a doctor of physical therapy specializing in sexual dysfunction and author of “Sex Without Pain: A Self-Treatment Guide to the Sex Life You Deserve,” says she’s had patients with dyspareunia report reduced pain during intercourse when using suppositories.
Jeffcoat adds that this has been especially apparent when used in conjunction with other treatments for dyspareunia.
These treatments include:
- sex therapy
- pelvic floor therapy
- vaginal dilators
“For patients who experience pain during sex, the anxiety around sex being painful can actually worsen that pain,” says Jeffcoat.
With its touted anxiety-reducing benefits, the CBD in the suppository may help stop that negative anticipatory feedback loop, she adds.
Reduced pain from pelvic floor dysfunction
Sometimes called chronic pelvic floor tension, a hypertonic pelvic floor occurs when your pelvic muscles are in a constantly flexed (AKA not relaxed) position.
This can make penetration of any kind — be it a menstrual cup or a dildo — incredibly painful. It can also cause discomfort in your overall pelvic area, hamstrings, and back.
According to Reeves, CBD can help relax and soften the pelvic floor muscles.
“It also has a vasodilating effect,” says Reeves. “It helps blood flow come into that area, [and] that further supports muscle relaxation.”
Cramps result from clenched muscles, so it makes sense that a product that can help relax muscles could also support menstrual cramp relief. Right?
During menopause, people often experience symptoms such as:
According to Bone, the body gradually produces less and less cannabinoids as you go through menopause.
She adds that introducing more cannabinoids to your system by way of CBD suppositories could help alleviate some of the symptoms above.
Preexisting conditions and pain aside, CBD suppositories can be used by anyone looking to ramp up pleasure in the bedroom.
“Relaxation and blood flow are two of the main ingredients of pleasurable sex, and CBD provides both,” says Reeves.
Fallshaw adds that many folks report having their first ever anal orgasm when using CBD suppositories rectally before anal sex. Fun!
Start by washing your hands!
Next, if your CBD suppository is stored in the refrigerator, go get it! (Note: Most companies recommend keeping the product refrigerated).
If not, press either side of the suppository to see if it’s hard enough to insert. If it’s too soft, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes.
When the suppository is of “optimal hardness,” strip off your skivvies. Then get into position by either propping one leg up on the toilet or shower ledge, or laying on your back with your knees pulled in toward your chest.
Place the suppository on the tip of your finger, then use your finger to press the suppository as far back as it will go.
If it physically feels dry going in, feel free to add a dab of lube to your fingertip to promote glide.
“It typically takes suppositories about 15 to 20 minutes to fully melt and absorb into the body,” says Reeves. So if you’re using them for sexual purposes, be sure to wait at least that long before penetrative play.
Oil can break down the integrity of latex. This means that a CBD suppository with an oil-based delivery system can’t be used with a latex barrier.
Instead, opt for a barrier made out of:
- animal skin
It really varies!
If you’re using them for period pain relief, you only need to use them when that pain sprouts up. If you’re using them for boosted sexual pleasure, you could use them before every single romp.
And if you’re using them for menopause relief, you might use them every single day during (or even after) menopause.
Dosage is similarly variant.
Most CBD suppositories offer somewhere between 50 milligrams (mg) to 200 mg of CBD per unit.
You can always half the suppository during your first use to see how your body responds.
“Everybody’s endocannabinoid system functions differently,” says Bone. “Some people may need or want to use them more frequently and at higher doses than others.”
No matter the delivery method, CBD is generally well-tolerated, says Bone.
When people do experience side effects, they typically include:
- reduced appetite
It’s also important to remember that some CBD suppositories contain THC, which some folks tolerate better than others.
According to Bone, the oil-based holder is more likely to cause irritation than the product’s CBD or THC content.
“For folks who are prone to get yeast infections, you could put anything in there and have a yeast infection arise,” explains Bone.
Whether you’re looking to remedy pelvic pain or experience more pleasure, CBD suppositories may help.
But before you introduce a new medication to your routine, talk to a trusted healthcare provider to learn more about its potential effects.
Bone notes that the average OB-GYN doesn’t have a lot of training in cannabinoid medicine, so “if you’re going to them for permission, guidance, or approval, you may not get the care you’re hoping for.”
Instead, she recommends seeking out the advice of a cannabinoid specialist, a cannabis-positive provider, or a holistic doctor.
Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.