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How To Bypass First-Pass Metabolism with Portable Nebulizers for Cannabinoid Inhalation

The route of administration is a crucial consideration when comparing the effectiveness of cannabinoid formulations.

Enzymes in the liver metabolize a large proportion of orally ingested cannabinoid molecules before they ever have a chance to enter the bloodstream. This is a physiological process known as first-pass metabolism.

In contrast, inhaled cannabinoids have the advantage of bypassing the liver’s enzymes, resulting in a greater proportion of the dose that reaches cannabinoid receptors in the body.

What Is First-Pass Metabolism?

First-pass metabolism, also known as the first-pass effect, is a scientific term that refers to the metabolism of orally ingested medications in the liver prior to reaching systemic circulation.

The liver is a major site of metabolism for drugs and substances. Several types of liver enzymes protect the body from toxins in the environment. Liver metabolism varies widely from person to person because of individual physiological and genetic differences.

When cannabinoids are ingested orally from products such as edibles or beverages, they enter the stomach and intestines, exposing them to gastrointestinal enzymes. Next, a large proportion of the cannabinoids are passed through the hepatic portal vein from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver. Enzymes in the liver chemically alter cannabinoid molecules to prepare them for excretion from the body through feces and urine.

The result of first-pass metabolism is that a large proportion of an ingested cannabinoid dose is eliminated before it has the opportunity to reach the bloodstream and cannabinoid receptor targets.

How Do Inhaled Cannabinoids Bypass First-Pass Metabolism?

If a medication is administered through inhalation, cannabinoids quickly enter the bloodstream from the large surface area of the lungs. Inhalation bypasses first-pass metabolism in the liver because the cannabinoid molecules do not travel through the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, the bioavailability of inhaled cannabinoids is substantially higher than orally ingested cannabinoids.

Other cannabinoid delivery routes bypass first-pass metabolism, such as injection, transdermal, sublingual, and buccal routes. Of course, injection of cannabinoids, such as through intramuscular or intravenous routes, is not safe or feasible. Transdermal, sublingual, and buccal routes have unpredictable absorption rates and slower onset of action than inhalation. Among the routes that bypass first-pass metabolism, cannabinoid inhalation remains the most feasible method for safe administration, predictable dosing, and rapid onset of action.

Cannabinoid pharmacokinetics is the scientific study of how cannabinoids move within the body. One study compared the pharmacokinetics of dry-powder inhaled cannabidiol (CBD) with orally ingested CBD. The researchers measured the concentration of CBD that reached the bloodstream for 10 participants that ingested CBD and 10 participants that inhaled CBD. The study found significant advantages in inhaled cannabinoids:

  • Inhaled CBD reaches higher relative maximum concentrations in the bloodstream than orally ingested CBD. The concentration in the CBD inhalation group was 71-fold higher than oral CBD, even though the inhaled CBD group received a 24-fold lower dose of CBD than the oral CBD group.

  • The onset of inhaled CBD is much quicker than orally ingested CBD. The inhaled CBD reached a maximum concentration much more quickly than the oral formulation: Inhaled CBD reached a maximum concentration at a mean of 3.8 minutes, compared to 122 minutes for oral CBD.

Inhaled Cannabinoids Via Handheld Nebulizers

Inhaled cannabinoid administration has major advantages over oral ingestion, including rapid onset of action and improved bioavailability.

However, consumers looking for inhaled cannabinoid products will find mainly smoking and vaping delivery methods in the marketplace. These antiquated methods have been linked to severe health risks and regulatory scrutiny.

Nebulizer therapies, also known as breathing treatments, have been used for over 50 years in mainstream medicine for patients of all ages, from infants to seniors. They are used to treat health conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

A nebulizer machine changes a liquid into a medicated vapor for inhalation without heat, oil, combustion, or smoke. Water-based or saline-based delivery vehicles for nebulized medications avoid the health risks and formulation problems of oil-based vaping carriers.

Traditional nebulizers are bulky devices that need an electrical outlet. Treatments are inconvenient and lengthy. In contrast, portable battery-operated nebulizers offer a modern, safe, and convenient approach to cannabinoid smoking and vaping. Nebulized cannabinoids are delivered safely, quickly, and predictably through the lungs into the bloodstream.

Takeaways on Portable Handheld Cannabinoid Nebulizers

Battery-operated portable nebulizers offer a safe, simple, and highly effective delivery method for rapid cannabinoid administration. The Nebi is rechargeable, with replaceable cartridges for treating many conditions. Water-based or saline-based delivery systems offer a modernized upgrade for safe and effective cannabinoid inhalation, with no heat or oil required. Contact us here to find out more.

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