Background: An oral route of administration for tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) eliminates the harmful effects of smoking and has potential for efficacious cannabis delivery for therapeutic and recreational applications. We investigated the pharmacokinetics of CBD, Δ9-THC, 11-OH-THC, and 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ9-THC (THC-COOH) in a novel oral delivery system, Solutech™, compared to medium-chain triglyceride-diluted cannabis oil (MCT-oil) in a healthy population.
Materials and Methods: Thirty-two participants were randomized and divided into two study arms employing a comparator-controlled, parallel-study design. To evaluate the pharmacokinetics of Δ9-THC, CBD, 11-OH-THC, and THC-COOH, blood was collected at pre-dose (t=0) and 10, 20, 30, and 45, min and 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 24, and 48 h post-dose after a single dose of Solutech (10.0 mg Δ9-THC, 9.76 mg CBD) or MCT (10.0 mg Δ9-THC, 9.92 mg CBD). Heart rate and blood pressure were measured at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24, and 48 h. Relationships between cannabis use history, body mass index, sex, and pharmacokinetic parameters were investigated. Safety was assessed before and at 48 h post-acute dose.
Results: Acute consumption of Solutech provided a significantly greater maximum concentration (Cmax), larger elimination and absorption rate constants, faster time to Cmax and lag time, and half-life for all analytes compared to MCT-oil (p<0.001). In addition, cannabis use history had a significant influence on the pharmacokinetic parameters of CBD, Δ9-THC, 11-OH-THC, and THC-COOH. On average, participants with later age of first use had higher Δ9-THC, CBD, and THC-COOH Cmax and later time-to-Cmax and half-life for Δ9-THC, CBD, THC-COOH, and 11-OH-THC than those with earlier age of first use (p≤0.032). Those with more years of recreational cannabis use had higher area under the curve for Δ9-THC and CBD, Cmax for CBD, and longer 11-OH-THC half-life than those with less (p≤0.048).
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that consumption of Solutech enhanced most pharmacokinetics parameters measured compared to MCT-oil. Participant’s cannabis use history, including their age of first use and number of years using cannabis significantly impacted pharmacokinetic parameters investigated. Acute consumption of both products was found to be safe and well tolerated. The results suggest that Solutech may optimize bioavailability from cannabis formulations.