Buccal medicines are absorbed by the membranes that line the mouth.

Coming from the Latin term ‘bucca’ which means cheek, the word ‘buccal’ relates to the oral administration or application of medicines, that does not involve ingestion. A buccal medicine is absorbed sublingually between the gums and the inner lining of the mouth in an area called the buccal pouch. 


What is buccal administration?


Buccal administration is a method of medication delivery. Buccal drugs directly enter our bloodstream once they have been dissolved and absorbed through the membranes that line the mouth, specifically between the gums and inner cheek.


What is the difference between oral administration and buccal administration?


Although both oral and buccal medicines are placed in the mouth - buccal medicines are not ingested or swallowed like oral medications are, instead they are absorbed through the mouth’s buccal pouch. This means they do not pass through the digestive system, and instead, they pass into the bloodstream within a matter of minutes, which allows their effects to be felt after 10 minutes of being administered. 


How effective is buccal administration?


Because these medicines bypass the gastrointestinal tract and liver, they are able to influence the body at a quicker speed, and so, they are favoured for their rapid results. Buccal medicines also offer benefits to patients who have difficulty swallowing, or have issues with their liver. However, this administration technique is not suitable for all drugs, such as those requiring large doses, and can cause oral irritation if used often. 

 Sublingually administered medicines offer a far faster onset of effects compared to orally ingested medicines. This is because they are able to directly enter the bloodstream through the rich supply of blood vessels and capillaries under the tongue, bypassing the digestive system and liver. This route is also beneficial for patients with nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing, as well as for drugs that are poorly absorbed through the stomach or gastrointestinal tract.


What kind of medicines can be administered using the buccal route?

Typically, medications that have been manufactured for buccal administration are either in liquid form (packaged in a syringe), or come as lozenges, tablets, or dissolvable films. The medicine is then held in the mouth between the gum and inner cheek until it dissolves, or for the recommended amount of time, and then removed and disposed of.

Cannabis-based medical oil options are usually administered using the buccal route.

If you are interested in learning more about cannabis-based medicine options in the UK, Releaf is here to help.