By Luke Sholl

The best is yet to come with pharmaceutical-like cannabis delivery forms, and nasal sprays are one such product beginning to appear in greater frequency. In regions where the plant is pretty much or completely legal, nasal sprays are today clinically tested and sold, hopefully addressing a specific demographic of patients with particular needs. Otherwise, the idea of “recreationally” snorting cannabis might sound a bit odd, at least to old-school stoners.

Researchers are pitching THC and CBD-infused nasal sprays against models of seizures, muscle spasms, chronic pain, and other medical conditions. Pioneers in the industry are also pushing the boundaries further by including novel cannabinoids and terpenes in their preparations. 


The basic components of cannabis nasal sprays are a mix of saline solution and pharmaceutical-grade CBD and/or THC. The refreshing mist is likely to relieve stuffed noses, and thanks to the cannabinoids’ action, should provide the user with fast relief. Inflammation, seizures, and neurological disorders might also be addressed with this quick and painless form of medical cannabis.

Many drugs are produced as nasal sprays for systemic administration because this form is very efficient in crossing the blood-brain barrier. The thin nasal skin mucosa allows active principles to easily pass through the blood flow; thus, the nose-to-brain delivery system can increase both bioavailability and absorption speed. Cannabis nasal sprays also avoid the degradation of active principles in the body, which happens with edibles and other oral intake methods. This is the main argument supporting the transmucosal delivery of cannabinoids versus smoking, vaporizing, or eating cannabis derivatives. Though avoiding the inhalation of burnt vegetal matter is obviously an advantage, the supposed increased bioavailability claimed by nasal spray producers needs some more scientific validation. Nasal

Nasal absorption of cannabinoids, or any other substance, varies depending on the conditions of the patient’s internal nasal membrane. Furthermore, it seems that some enzymes also present in nasal tissues are deactivated by CBD, compromising our ability to metabolise other active principles. As a consequence, this new delivery form might not fully solve the issue of properly dosing THC and CBD, nor will it increase their effects.


People might not want to smoke cannabis, or they might not be able. Some patients may even prefer to avoid edibles as well, perhaps because they require immediate relief. Here is where a cannabis nasal spray might help. The device may also become another convenient and discreet form of consumption for all sorts of users, since nasal sprays are not commonly associated with cannabis. Unfortunately, cannabis science has yet to elucidate the effectiveness of one form of cannabis over another for a specific condition, and this is especially true in the case of new methods like nasal sprays.

Plus, North American regulators recently put cannabis nasal sprays under investigation since they're not tested or monitored by federal health and safety agencies—even if they are commonly used as pharmaceutical devices. One reason is that millions of people develop what’s called “rebound congestion” with regular nasal sprays, where the nasal passages become used to the spray, and less responsive to the medication as a result. In turn, this can cause users to develop a dependence (not addiction) on the medication.


In addition to the potential applications of sprays to address all the conditions currently treated with cannabis, the industry is envisioning nasal sprays with anti-inflammatory cannabinoids and terpenes to target allergies, reduce sinusitis, and address other local conditions. After the eventual clinical trials, patients will decree the success or decline of nasal medical cannabis. Most likely, these products will cover the needs of a particular niche of users, and it’s good to know they have this new option of getting medicated, or high, as quickly as possible.

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