One of the medical cannabis products I was making when arrested in 2009 was the V-CBC’s ‘Ganja Goji’ Lozenges. The result of my arrest was the launch of a (so far successful) constitutional challenge that has removed the prohibition on extracted cannabis products for thousands of ill Canadians. The benefits of sucking on a cannabis lozenge include a faster onset of effects than by eating; a bypass on metabolic breakdown; and the localization of effects to the mouth.
Oro-mucosal application delivers the cannabinoids more slowly into the bloodstream than inhalation, but faster than ingestion. By passing through the mucosal lining of the inner cheek a patient may avoid the gastrointestinal tract, this method of administration prevents first-pass metabolism by the stomach and liver, which breaks down many different molecules into their constituent parts. That being said, a small portion of the dose is still likely to be swallowed.
Faster onset of effects is one of the reasons behind the development of Sativex, an alcohol based oro-mucosal (mouth) spray, which is available in Canada by prescription. Sativex is derived from cannabis plants grown in a laboratory and is classified as a Botanical Drug Substance with a “1:1 dose ratio combination of CBD:THC.” (source) However, Sativex has been shown to “cause irritations in the mouth in 20-25% patients in clinical trials.” (source) In a comparative study, former V.I.C.S. dispensary owner (now with Tilray) Phillipe Lucas found that although superior to Marinol and Cesamet, Sativex is inferior to inhaled whole cannabis due to the delay of onset, and concluded that “the high cost (my total of 45 sprays, was $135 worth of Sativex) is sure to be prohibitive to many who might otherwise benefit from its use.” (PharmaCannabis, Lucas 2006)
One likely cause of irritation is the alcohol base which may not be recommended for patients whose medications contra-indicate ingesting alcohol. To suit all of their members needs, The V-CBC uses coconut oil as a base for their lozenges: members of the dispensary have reported the lozenges help reduce swelling and pain associated with oral discomfort incurred as a side effect of other treatments. The lozenges are mostly used as a low-dose pain reliever, muscle relaxant, anti-emetic, and anti-inflammatory.
The methods for making vegetable oil infusions that are outlined in the V-CBC’s online RECIPE BOOK include some important tips and will soon be updated with their expanding product line, that includes a mango lozenge.
RECIPE FOR GOJI LOZENGES
- Cannabis Inflorescence (bud) Infused Coconut Oil*
- Dried Goji Berries (Chinese Wolf Berries)
- Slippery Elm Bark
- Flax Seed Water (Binding Agent)
- Soy Lecithin
Put 5 tbsp. of slippery elm bark into a grinder
Add 2 1⁄2 Cups of Dried Wolfberries
Blend till fine
Makes 2 cups wolfberry powder
Add 2 tbsp. thick flax seed water*
1/3 cup Infused Coconut Oil**
Use a form such as a jello tray to make a small candy shape
Coat the tray holes with liquid lecithin to prevent sticking and add mix to fill tray
Refrigerate for a few hours to let them bind and harden
Wrap in wax paper individually
bag, label and refrigerate
keep out of reach of children or pets
* To make Flax seed water put 2 tablespoons of flax seed in 1 cup of water and heat until boil then reduce to a simmer until thick. Strain and use the gelatinous water as a binding alternative to eggs for vegan diets.
By Owen Smith