Cannabis breath strips go under the tongue, fly under the radar

Kin Slips are a type of marijuana breath strips, also known as a cannabis sublingual.
Kin Slips are a type of marijuana breath strips, also known as cannabis sublinguals.

For those who need the medical effects of marijuana, or just want an alternative to the after-work drink, cannabis sublinguals are coming into vogue. Similar to breath strips, but infused with the main active ingredients in marijuana, sublinguals are easy and discreet to use. 

What is this new form of cannabis, and how does it work? 

What are marijuana sublinguals?

Marijuana sublinguals are an increasingly popular cannabis formulation that is designed to be held under the tongue. Sublinguals usually come in the form of tinctures, sprays or dissolvable breath strips. These can contain contain a wide variety of cannabis’ active chemical components, such as THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for many of marijuana’s medicinal effects.

How do marijuana sublinguals work?

Marijuana sublinguals work by utilizing the buccal route of administration, in which cannabinoids are absorbed through mucous membranes in the mouth. Usually placed under the tongue where there are many capillaries, these cannabinoids can enter directly into the bloodstream and quickly break the blood brain barrier. This bypasses the digestive system, so cannabis users can feel the effects much quicker than with traditional edibles.

Why are people using marijuana sublinguals? What are they great for?

There are so many reasons people like cannabis sublinguals. Steve Miller, VP of Marketing for Kinslips (a brand of sublingual cannabis breath strips), says that one of key quality is how fast their effects are felt. “They dissolve on your tongue and go to work, sometimes as quick as 5 to 11 minutes,” he explains. Sublinguals are also gaining popularity because they are discreet, require no smoke inhalation and come in titrated doses.

Like other methods of cannabis, patients use sublinguals to help with a variety of medical issues. Last year, a National Academies of Sciences report confirmed there was significant evidence that THC can effectively reduce pain and help other conditions. Studies have also shown cannabis can be an effective antidepressant and anti-anxiety treatment, and can even help with sleep. For those who don’t do well with THC’s psychoactive effects, some sublinguals contain non-psychoactive CBD instead.  

What are the downsides of marijuana sublinguals?

There are a few reasons people might avoid sublinguals. Sublinguals are quick but not as fast-acting as smoking or as long-lasting as edibles. Some dislike the taste of sublinguals, or may have a harder time finding them. Some sublinguals may go through a manufacturing process in which important medicinal terpenes may be lost. It is also important to keep sublinguals out of reach of children, as they may look like something tasty.

What do marijuana sublinguals cost?

Sublinguals can range in cost from around $35 to $80. Price can vary brand to brand, and even dispensary to dispensary, so the best way to price out sublinguals is to check with the dispensaries near you.

Where do you buy cannabis sublinguals?

You can purchase cannabis sublinguals from a local dispensary. If you are in a recreational cannabis state like California, Colorado or Washington, just check out websites like and to find dispensaries nearby. If you are in a state with only medical cannabis, be sure to get a doctor’s recommendation first.

What are some popular cannabis sublingual brands?

There are so many brands to try. In California, some popular options include dissolvable strips from Kinslips. In Colorado, try Canyon’s LickIts. In Washington, check out Oakor CBD strips.

Got any more questions about sublinguals or other medical cannabis modalities? Email GreenState editor or message us on Facebook.

Emily Earlenbaugh, PhD is a cannabis writer and educator. She holds a doctorate in the philosophy of science from UC Davis.