While there are the purists who swear by joints, cannabis users continue to find new ways to ingest the plant. There’s edibles, topicals, vaporizers, bongs, sodas, dabs, and sublinguals, to name a few. Perhaps it’s the creative powers of cannabis in action. One method of intake, known as the Pechoti Method, asks you to put cannabis oil in your belly button. While the Pechoti method has gained recent online attention, it’s far from new. While the exact date the Pechoti method came to existence is unclear, we know it’s used in Ayurveda traditions, an ancient Indian medical system known to be one of the oldest health care systems. So what is the Pechoti Method, how does it work, and who should use it? High Times spoke with a physician and naturopath to learn more.
What is the Pechoti Method?
The Pechoti method, or Nabhi Chikitsa in Ayurveda traditions, refers to putting oil in the belly button for medicinal purposes. Oils such as tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil are often used for their antibacterial and antiviral properties. As cannabinoids are known to reduce nausea, fight inflammation, and kill cancer cells to name a few, it’s natural that Ayurvedic medicine practitioners turned to cannabis oil. As it’s not metabolized in your liver, it’s non-psychoactive.This delivery system is named after the Pechoti gland, which is believed to be located behind the belly button and continues to exist after the umbilical cord is cut.
“When you’re formed as a human all of your nutrition is going through your belly button,” says traditional naturopath and registered master herbalist Dr. Lakisha Jenkins. “That’s your source of nutrition from the time you begin to develop, so why can’t it be the rest of your life?”
While Ayurveda traditions have an ancient tradition of using this gland, Western medicine isn’t convinced. It’s been reported by anecdotal sources the existence of a gland underneath the belly button.
“Through my study of anatomy, histology, embryology, and genetics I have never seen such a gland and wouldn’t be able to speak about the potential to receive essential oils as the Ayurvedic medicine recommends,” says cannabis researcher Carlos Rizo, MD.
How does it work?
“There are about 72,000 veins that run directly through your belly button throughout your entire body,” Dr. Jenkins says. “It’s directly connected to veins for your stomach.”
According to Dr. Jenkins, our gut contains many cannabinoid receptors and determines central nervous system disorders. Therefore, when you apply cannabis oil into the belly button, it’s systemically absorbed throughout the body. In Ayurveda, this method of intake is an integrated approach to endocrinology, both with cannabis and other herbs.
“Your endocrine system and hormones are the cause of a lot of the common ailments that are plaguing the human existence,” Dr. Jenkins says. She says to use the most organic and clean oil extraction that you could possibly have in order to get maximum efficacy, adding that Rick Simpson Oil also works.
Who can benefit from it?
The Pechoti method is similar to cannabis suppositories, in that it’s systemic (absorbed by your whole system rather than localized) yet non-psychoactive. It’s an option for children or those who don’t react well or can’t ingest cannabis, such as a pregnant woman combating morning sickness or a cancer patient experiencing nausea and vomiting. However, anyone can put cannabis oil in their belly button. Dr. Jenkins says that people who have central nervous system disorders, neurological disorders, endocrine system insults, or gastro-intestinal issues, all of which are associated with chronic disease, can benefit from the Pechoti method.
“If you have reputable sources to teach us how the Pechoti method works, maybe patients that don’t tolerate cannabis may be able to use it,” says Dr. Rizo.
Herbalists, naturopaths, and Ayurvedic and other traditional forms of method have trusted in this method of taking herbs strongly enough for it to pass the test of time. We need more research to understand its benefits fully, but you’re likely not going to hurt yourself by kicking back with some cannabis oil in your belly button.