Humans have been sticking drugs up their butts for centuries. It’s true: Mayan pottery depicts ritual enema scenes, suggesting that the ancient indigenous people of Mexico and Central America anally administered alcohol, tobacco and even hallucinogens.
Fast-forward to the1970s, when rumors persisted that Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks (the Queen of Rock and Roll) had developed such a high cocaine tolerance—and such a damaged nasal cavity—that she could only get buzzed by having someone blow the drug directly into her rectum through a straw.
Fast-forward once again to today, when there are not one, but two terms used to describe the act of inserting drugs into your ass: Boofing and plugging, both of which suggest that people are still finding good reasons to put drugs in their butts.
The biggest reason to do so, of course, is that butt drugs result in a quicker (and potentially stronger) high. That’s because the drug bypasses the upper gastrointestinal tract digestive processes, meaning it reaches the circulatory system in greater concentrations (and significantly less altered).
But in a world where legalization is increasingly widespread—and where medical cannabis is being used to treat everything from anxiety and weight loss to cancer and addiction—should we seriously consider sticking weed up our butts, too?
The medical marijuana community seems to think so, and for good reason: Consuming medical cannabis extracts with a high THC percentage—a method commonly used to treat the symptoms of serious ailments like cancer and HIV/AIDS—can induce an overwhelming psychoactive high for many patients, especially those without much of a tolerance. But in suppository form, this same weed promises fast-acting therapeutic relief without the “head-high.”
“From my research—and working with at least 75 people over the course of two years—there’s no recorded ‘head high,’” says Paula-Noel Macfie, indigenous science researcher and founder of the gloriously-named Back Door Medicine, an organization dedicated to providing access to cannabis suppository research and education. “That’s why my dad supported my business: This isn’t about getting high—this is strictly a medical application.”
According to Macfie, cannabis inserted into the rectum bypasses the liver, which would normally distribute the drug to the brain (getting you high). Instead, the drug is released directly into the bloodstream, providing only the pain-relieving effects. “When someone says they feel high after using a cannabis suppository, they’re simply experiencing relief from pain and suffering,” Macfie explains.
Leading medical cannabis expert Dustin Sulak says this makes cannabis suppositories ideal for treating issues around your lower half, like rectal cancer and vaginal disorders. Macfie has, in fact, turned to cannabis suppositories to treat such issues. “I had an awful anal fissure; I had tried everything,” she says. “I purchased cannabis oil and did a little research on compounds—I chose cocoa butter. After inserting the suppository, my fissure was gone within two days.”
Because weed suppositories don’t get you fucked up, Macfie believes this method of delivery may attract otherwise skeptical people who could benefit from the drug’s therapeutic effects. “It’s a way into the plant that’s accessible to everyone,” she says enthusiastically. “I say that because the people who find me to help them make cannabis suppositories are usually elderly, disabled and suffering—who because of their mindset and generational outlook (especially Baby Boomers), would never touch the stuff. But because there’s no ‘head high,’ they’ll try it.”
While cannabis suppositories aren’t currently widely commercially available (probably because most people still aren’t comfortable with shoving drugs up their ass), they’re pretty easy to make at home. Simply follow this recipe, and heed this advice from Sulak: “Start at a low dose (3 milligrams of THC), and gradually increase the dose until you have a good understanding of how strong the effect is and how long it lasts,” he says.
Then sit back, relax, and put on some Fleetwood Mac.