I’m Sophie Saint Thomas, and I’m a sex and cannabis writer, as well as a major fan of both. I’m also writing a book about cannabis and self-care, which you can pre-order here. Weed and sex have more in common than being two things you loved in high school but had to hide. If anything, the two are kindred spirits that can complement one another and lift you to new heights.
In my new column for MERRY JANE called “Stoned Sex,” I’ll be exploring the intersection of sex and sativas, intercourse and indicas, often through first-hand experience and interviews with experts. To start, I’ll be discussing how to put bud up your butt safely and effectively — but that’s just the tip. Stoned Sex will be running every other week, so make sure to stay tuned for the next dose.
I adore anal sex and cannabis, both together, and separate. I have since high school. While I commend myself on being honest about my desires at such a young age (although my classmates preferred the term “slut”), cannabis and sex were barely covered by our health teacher in any respect besides a vague “don’t do it.” I don’t think the instructor even mentioned anal. As a result, I did not engage in these holy delights in the healthiest manner during my youth.
When I was a teenager, anal sex was typically reserved for vacant bedrooms at drunken house parties. And, no, we didn’t use lube. At this phase in my life, my approach to smoking weed was just as sophomoric. Save the few times someone gathered enough chutzpah to visit the local head shop, my cannabis intake was aided by carved-out soda bottles with aluminum foil bowls jerry rigged to them. It turns out this isn’t so great for you.
Thankfully, though, I stayed true to myself and now — as a grown woman — I can enjoy cannabis and anal sex simultaneously, and also write about it. My goal today is to guide others who are curious about synergizing butts and bud, as well as suggest best practices for how the two can enhance one another.
Today, there are a myriad of cannabis companies — such as Foria and Velvet Swing — that sell pot products specifically crafted to enhance sex. Foria, for example, even makes cannabis suppositories designed for anal sex called Foria Explore. Each suppository contains 30mg of THC and 20mg of CBD. Despite the exciting 30mg of THC, the suppositories don’t spark a psychoactive effect in consumers; they just make anal sex more pleasurable by providing localized pain relief and fighting inflammation.
“You shouldn’t get high from an anal suppository because what happens is it bypasses the liver,” explained Dr. Lakisha Jenkins, a naturopath and master herbalist who specializes in medical cannabis. “You’re not going to get that effect, which is one of the reasons why people like suppositories. You can use larger quantities of the cannabinoids without that psychoactivity. You can use a lot of THC.”
This is a win for some. The first time I tried Foria Explore, I was by myself. After proper anal sex prep, I enjoyed masturbating with an entire seven-inch dildo up my bum (the silicone First Mate, available at Babeland, in case you’re wondering). I had a male partner at the time, but for whatever reason he acted salty about trying cannabis anal suppositories with me. This was a sure sign that he was not my soulmate, which is why I now have a beautiful girlfriend who is totally down to insert cannabis and other fun things into my butt.
Above, an image of Foria Explore via Foria’s website
For those curious about anal sex prep, basically, the rectum, unlike the vagina, is not self-lubricating. It also doesn’t expand as easily when penetrated, so to ensure an enjoyable — rather than painful — experience, you need to use lots of lube. Silicone lubes are often lauded for anal sex, as they are goopy and last longer than water-based ones. So if you’re having butt sex with a bio penis, silicone on. However, silicone can degrade silicone, so if you’re using a silicone toy, such as a butt plug or dildo, you’ll want a water-based lubricant. There are also lubes made with oils such as coconut oil, but oil-based lubes aren’t compatible with latex. If you’re using condoms, avoid them.
Next step: Even when you use plenty of lube, consider inserting a cannabis suppository after. Remember, you’ve got to get your butthole nice and ready, so start with fingers or a suppository, and then try a smaller anal toy before moving up to a dildo or dick. Anal sex can hurt sometimes, but thankfully Captain Cannabis is here to save the day. Foria does offer a hemp-based suppository option for those in non-legal states, but if you want the best pain relief, Dr. Jenkins suggests that you use some THC.
“Now, if you want to talk about the heightened sensitivity that makes the experience a little bit more pleasurable, you can [have that from hemp CBD],” Dr. Jenkins noted. “Maybe if it’s giving you that calming effect. If you’re calm, the pain is going to be less because you’re not going to tense up.”
Let’s be real, though: Most of us want the THC. And some of us, despite our love for pain-free anal sex, want a psychoactive effect that suppositories cannot provide.
“I felt like I was just leaking once the suppository dissolved. That, as any bottom can tell you, is a gross feeling,” said Zachary Zane, a sex writer and cannabis enthusiast. “Nothing that makes me feel sexy. I’m not opposed to trying one again, but I think I need to have lower expectations. At the moment, I’d much rather smoke a bowl and fuck. If it ain’t broke, don’t fit it. Ya know?”
Thankfully, as it turns out, you can use cannabis oil to make anal sex easier, and get high with your preferred method of intake at the same time. Just make sure to communicate with your partner and keep your head in the game.
If you’re an anal aficionado, you may be wondering if pain relief is a good thing. Why wouldn’t it be? Well, we experience pain for a reason; it’s our bodies telling us that something is wrong. It’s also why sex educators are against people using numbing lubes during anal sex. I asked Dr. Jenkins how a product like Foria Explore differs from numbing lubes you can buy at the pharmacy. She told me that it affects the entire body, rather than just numbing your butt. As a result, the product provides a more comfortable experience without reducing any sensation (if anything, sensation is actually heightened). “Since you’re able to take it in rectally, it exerts systemic effects,” Dr. Jenkins said. “It goes through your entire system by entering the rectal mucosa. So we have over 300 receptor sites that make up the endogenous endocannabinoid system.” I’ll puff to that.
If you have the ingredients (coconut oil, cannabis, and a double boiler) or a Levo, which infuses oils for you, you can make cannabis lube at home. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one and created a giant batch of cannabis-infused coconut oil. Then, after some responsible anal sex prep, my hot girlfriend fucked me in the butt with a strap-on dildo. Unlike in high school, this experience was fun, sexy, and actually made me come. As such, I fully encourage others to explore new ways to enjoy the cannabis plant, such as putting some up your ass. It will make anal sex more pleasurable, and weed more interesting. What’s not to like about that?
Follow Sophie Saint Thomas on Twitter, and stay tuned for upcoming editions of “Stoned Sex” exclusively on MERRY JANEIn our new column, writer Sophie Saint Thomas will be exploring the intersection of sex and sativas, intercourse and indicas. To start, how can you enhance anal sex with weed?
Recreational Rectal Use of Cannabis (Or, What I Did for Science)
The scientific and anecdotal reports on rectal cannabis use are surprisingly conflicting. Sometimes, the best way to research something is to do it yourself. For science, for Sensi Seeds, for journalistic integrity, and for pure fun, I tried a cannabis suppository and wrote about the results.
Recreational rectal use of cannabis is not a subject I’ve ever heard discussed. Vocal proponents of every other kind of cannabis ingestion can be found everywhere, from internet forums and international hemp fairs to coffeeshops and any given living room on a Friday night. The subject of savouring a potent high by inserting suppositories, however, has not been broached (at least with me). Is rectal cannabis the last taboo of recreational use? Does it even work? There was only one way to find out.
I’d never put cannabis, nor indeed any drug, in my nether regions before. I am familiar with the concept, but I’ve never been moved to try it.
When I was a joint smoker I enjoyed the ritual of making the perfect, tasty, smooth-burning cone. I imagine there’s an element of ritual in rectal cannabis use if one does it frequently enough. However, it’s unlikely to be the sort of thing you can take 20 minutes over in a roomful of friends whilst drinking tea.
Luckily, some friends are closer than others, and I was able to enlist a lab partner for my first foray into this brave new world.
Step one: Get some suppositories for recreational rectal cannabis use
Cannabis suppositories are not a product that you can buy in a coffeeshop, nor a pharmacy, even in Amsterdam. Luckily I was able to obtain some (from a source who wishes to remain anonymous). They were made from butane-extracted whole plant concentrate in a base of coconut oil, giving them a pleasant, almost chocolatey smell, rather like spacecakes. They weighed two grams each.
I had them tested and the results showed 16% THC and 1% CBD, which would definitely give a psychoactive effect if taken in any way that I was familiar with.
Having procured cannabis suppositories, our preparations were twofold: the classic ‘set and setting’. The former consisted of research. I found practical tips, including ‘lie on your side and bend one leg to make insertion easier’ and ‘don’t pass wind for at least 15 minutes afterwards’.
I found anecdotal reports: “For me, music starts playing in my head about 1 minute after “dosing”,”; “Within minutes I could feel a warm, pleasant sensation washing over my entire pelvic region”.
And I found science which said maybe it shouldn’t work at all.
What is the science behind using cannabis rectally?
According to Allan Frankel, MD, who has researched and written about rectal absorption of cannabis, nothing was felt by his test patients when they tried cannabis oil in cocoa butter. Analysis of their plasma revealed negligible THC and CBD levels. According to “Practical Pharmaceutics: An International Guideline for the Preparation, Care and Use of Medicinal Products”, the rectum does not absorb fats efficiently.
Any active substance in a suppository must first dissolve into the aqueous mucus that lines the rectum, and then pass into the bloodstream. It cannot be absorbed directly by the membrane without traversing the aqueous mucus layer.
Therefore active substances that are themselves lipophilic (such as cannabinoids) should not be combined with a fatty or oily carrier if they are intended for rectal use, as this will reduce their overall absorption. Since virtually every cannabis suppository I found mentioned online was in a fatty base (as was mine), this should have impaired their efficacy.
Where Did 420 Come From, And Where Is It Going?
The rectal veins – superior, middle and inferior
Assuming that some of the cannabinoid content makes it through the mucus, it then circulates either via the inferior and middle rectal veins into the inferior vena cava, bypassing the liver; or via the superior rectal vein to the liver where it is ‘first pass’ metabolized.
It was thought that the lack of psychoactivity resulted from THC missing the liver and therefore not metabolizing into 11 hydroxy delta-9 THC (11-OH-THC). This metabolite is more potent, and stays in the system for longer, than THC. It also crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily. Interestingly, the effect of many drugs is reduced by first pass metabolism, but not cannabis!
Large amounts of 11-OH-THC are produced when cannabis is eaten (although the unmetabolised THC has a low absorption rate), so this metabolic process determines much of the strength of the same dose when ingested in different ways. In other words, exactly the same dose of cannabis will produce different effects depending on whether you vape it, smoke it, eat it, or insert it into your rectum.
The most recent scientific research on the rectal absorption of THC was published in 1991, and used crab-eating macaque monkeys. (People to whom I’ve told this have said “poor monkeys!”, to which the reply is, have you seen what else they do to monkeys? These monkeys are the lucky ones.)
Results showed no rectal bioavailability of THC, but when the cannabinoid was processed to create a combination with the molecule ester hemisuccinate (THC-HS), the bioavailability shot up to 13.5% and the mean residence time of THC in the blood was 5.8 hours. THC-HS is water-soluble, which is why it dissolves into the aqueous mucus.
Back to my personal rectal cannabis experience
What all my theoretical research came down to was basically “anecdotes say something might happen, science says nothing should happen”. This being as far as I could get with ‘set’, I moved onto ‘setting’.
We put mattresses on the living room floor and made sure there were enough drinks and munchies on hand. I had music, films, and interesting picture books to stimulate us if needed. I considered lighting some candles, figuring I should make it as nice an experience as possible after subjecting my lab partner to descriptions of animal experiments and rectal aqueous mucus, but fire and altered states don’t mix so I just turned the lights down.
To give an accurate report as possible, we had abstained from any other drugs (including the legal ones) and I set my phone to beep at half-hour intervals so I could chart the experience.
We toasted each other with the large, slippery, dark green bullets. First lesson: insert them as soon after removal from the fridge as possible, because fingertip heat alone is enough to start them melting. However, this means they are basically self-lubricating, which isn’t a bad thing. We lay down, me on my back and my lab partner on his side, and waited.
After half an hour, I felt quite giggly. This could have been the beginnings of a high, or the incongruity of live-tweeting rectal cannabis use as part of my job. In response to a tweet asking me how it was going, I attempted to analyse what I was experiencing.
There was a mild tingling sensation, not unpleasant, around the ground zero area of application. I wasn’t able to say for sure if there was any psychoactive effect. My lab partner had fallen asleep, but he had travelled overnight from London to Amsterdam and arrived that morning. The data was inconclusive thus far.
6 Differences Between Medicinal and Recreational Cannabis
One hour into the experiment: getting high
My lab partner was still fast asleep and I was explaining to people on Twitter that I didn’t have IBS or IBD, this experiment was purely for research. A feeling of deep relaxation suffused me, especially my legs and pelvic area. I believe the use of suppositories to ease menstrual cramps could be very effective, based on this. I felt extremely tranquil, but not sleepy, and decided to finally get up and go to the kitchen for a change of scenery and to see if any psychoactive effects made themselves known.
They did. Once in the kitchen, the munchies kicked in with a vengeance and I noticed that colours and patterns were enhanced. I heated up some soup; flavours were enhanced too. I giggled to myself thinking about the great Dr Lester Grinspoon’s realisation that he was having his first cannabis experience when the pizza he was eating became the best he’d ever tasted.
Despite being a clearly recognisable cannabis high, what I was experiencing was unlike what I’ve felt when eating, smoking or vaporising it. My head felt clear and I felt peaceful yet alert; a sativa type of high without the soaring headrush or potential confusion.
It was extremely enjoyable and not at all overpowering, yet I was definitely in an altered state. The dragon trees in my living room looked fascinating. Getting back under the duvet was lovely. I felt no need for additional entertainment. There was an opiate-like quality to the contentment and relaxation, but no nausea or feelings of disassociation.
An hour and a half in: definitely high
I was still feeling the same effects, which seemed to have hit a plateau rather than fading or intensifying. My lab partner woke up and said he wasn’t sure if he was feeling anything apart from very relaxed, but he definitely felt like eating something. He just wasn’t sure what. (In retrospect, this was a total giveaway that he was experiencing the effects!) The following conversation took place:
“Is it chocolate?”
“Is it oatcakes with vegan cream cheese?”
“Is it… (I am having trouble remembering what else there is to eat) …is it tomatoes?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Ooh, is it pineapple soy yogurt?”
“YES. Yes, it is. Oh yes.”
“We are definitely high.”
We devoured a litre of said yogurt in under three minutes. It tasted fantastic. Then we lay back down and discussed the high. It was strong but not psychedelic, and deeply physically relaxing. The best analogy is that of lying in a warm bath that you don’t want to get out of. All muscle tension was dissolved.
Alert, talkative, and surprisingly fragrant
We felt warm and heavy but not sleepy, and the effect seemed to end at the upper neck – literally as though lying in a bath with only your head out of the water. However, it was not a ‘couchlock’ stone. We remained alert and talkative. Although the effect was powerful, it was not at all disorienting or overwhelming.
(There was one additional fact that I was not expecting. I hadn’t read about it anywhere during literally hours of research. So, dear reader, I will share it with you. After eating, the digestive system starts up. This can lead to passing wind. And if you’re experimenting with rectal use of cannabis, this causes your wind to smell like a growroom of strong sativas just before harvest. You’re welcome.)
Salvia Divinorum 101: Use, Effects, History & Science
The following day: Still high
It was also very, very long-lasting. Neither of us use cannabis regularly anymore and consequently we both have low tolerance; even so, I was not expecting to still be high the next morning. After I left for work, my lab partner had a large breakfast and went back to bed.
By the time he texted me at 15:00 to say he had just woken up and could I get some more pineapple yogurt, the effects I had felt had almost completely worn off. It took him several more hours to feel completely back to normal. This makes rectal use of cannabis by far the most economical method I’ve tried.
More research is needed on the rectal use of cannabis
Based on my research, what conclusions can be drawn? Firstly, there is no way that we were experiencing a placebo effect. I’ve used enough cannabis to know the difference. Secondly, although I had no way of measuring THC in our blood plasma, I can assure you that there was plenty sloshing around our endocannabinoid systems.
So how did it get there? It’s fairly safe to assume that at least some THC entered the superior rectal vein and achieved first pass metabolism into 11-OH-THC. I was aiming for this to happen, so I literally aimed for it (unlike medicinal users who would presumably keep the suppository lower in the rectum to avoid it).
It might be possible that the effect was so long-lasting because any THC missing the first pass when it initially entered the bloodstream via the inferior and middle rectal veins would eventually reach the liver. If this is so, a second phase of metabolism into 11-OH-THC could have taken place long after the initial dose.
However, for the THC to get to any of the rectal veins, it still needs to traverse the aqueous mucus layer. As previously stated, this shouldn’t be possible without the presence of the hemisuccinate ester. Could it be that some part of the process of making the butane-extracted concentrate creates THC-HS, or a similar enough ester or analogue to permit absorption to occur?
The experiments on the macaque monkeys used THC only, not whole plant extract. Could the presence of other cannabinoids, the ‘entourage effect’, make the crucial difference? However, Dr Frankel’s studies used full spectrum cannabis oil in cocoa butter, and that did not seem to work. The doctor himself concludes that more research is needed in order to take full advantage of this delivery method.
Benefits of rectal cannabis use
Having tried it, I can think of various benefits for both medicinal and recreational rectal cannabis use. There’s the long-lasting deep relaxation, which would definitely relieve pain and muscle tension. The extended ‘munchies’ effect would doubtless aid anyone who needed to gain weight, plus the delivery method means that there is no risk of vomiting up oral appetite stimulants. The amount needed for an effective dose is small, and the dosage is easy to control.
There is also the advantage over edibles (such as cake or sweets) of it being highly unlikely that someone will accidentally insert a cannabis suppository thinking it is a harmless treat. There are numerous tales of people eating ‘medibles’ by accident, and they seldom end well. However, in all my years of psychonautics, I have never heard of anyone casually inserting a random suppository they found lying around.
Work the following day was a little more challenging than usual, but by no means impossible. I would not have wanted to drive or operate heavy machinery, but the clarity of the high was fine for writing, interacting with colleagues, going to the shops, and cooking dinner. For people who need effective pain relief without being incapacitated, this would be ideal.For science, for Sensi Seeds, for journalistic integrity, and for fun, I tried a cannabis suppository and wrote about the experience. ]]>