Yes, navel. Which is a bit novel.
In the medical marijuana world, where people are taking oil for treatments of various kinds, the ‘belly button’ method of administering doses comes up fairly regularly. This involves putting a dose worth of FECO (full extract cannabis oil), neat or diluted with a carrier oil, into the navel and leaving it there to be absorbed. The idea is that the oil is absorbed quickly and completely, and it goes directly into the blood stream rather than having to pass through the intestine and liver first. Hmm.
I’ve been slightly skeptical of the belly button method of administration, in large part because of people going a bit crazy and mystical about ‘pathways to the brain’, which so often goes along with an absence of critical analysis. I decided to see if there was sound science (in addition to anecdotal reports) to support this. It turns out that wow, this really is not just a viable method of drug administration, it can approximate the bioavailability of intravenous drug administration! Colour me informed, surprised and VERY intrigued. 😄
Here’s a snippet of an old medical research journal article that outlines this:
Let me highlight the key point even more clearly, because it is rather an eye-opener! Absorbing a drug through one’s navel is almost as effective as being injected, and significantly more effective than regular transdermal patches:
The systematic bioavailability … by navel absorption is relatively close to the level obtained by the intravenous administration of an equivalent dose.https://www.sciencedirect.com/sdfe/pdf/download/eid/1-s2.0-S0022354915449755/first-page-pdf
Okay, this is from a trial looking at a preparation of testosterone in acetone, not cannabinoids in oil, but the difference seems to be irrelevant. This provides a measure of scientific backing for the claims I’ve been reading from ‘belly button dosers’ about their experiences.
When taking FECO by swallowing it (neat or diluted) it is processed by the liver before making it fully into the blood stream. This makes effects take a little longer to appear, and it also can increase the ‘high’ effects of THC. That’s because part of the liver’s processing turns a portion of regular THC into a more potent form; some of the regular delta-9-THC is converted to 11-OH-THC, which is “three to seven times more potent” in its psychoactive actions, according to studies.
When taking FECO in a way that is absorbed more directly into the bloodstream – sublingually (under the tongue) or through the navel – the liver plays less of a ‘first act’ role in processing the cannabinoids, so the high will feel less for a given amount of oil. This is good news for those who find that a bit off-putting – although remember the key word is ‘less’ rather than ‘nonexistent.’
So how on earth do you do it?
It’s actually really simple. Put a dose (such as a few drops of FECO mixed with a carrier oil) into your navel, then cover it with a bit of adhesive plastic to stop it dripping out. Cut a bit from a roll of window protection film or something similar if you don’t have easy access to wound covers. Don’t use fabric or perforated bandaids as they’ll leak. Seal the oil in and leave it to be absorbed. If you do this at night it’ll be all done by morning. Remember to clean it out properly.
ADDENDUM: I am explicitly not talking about the so-called pechoti method here. That Ayurvedic concept claims the existence of a ‘pechoti gland’ located behind the belly button – yet such a thing is not known to medical science. Let me be as clear as crystal here: I do NOT believe in the existence of a part of the human body that has not been found in centuries of medical investigation. It’s also worth noting that transdermal dosing normally requires a carrier to help the drug in question make it through the various epidermis and dermis layers, something that’s not quite as simple as many believe. What’s interesting is the possibility that the belly button could be an easier ‘in’ for substances. There are many people who take substances including cannabis oil in this manner and say it works. We’re lacking absolute documented demonstrations of the efficacy of this, but I do still think this is a very interesting concept.