A survey conducted by Yahoo News and Marist University in 2017 found that 55 million American adults currently use cannabis. In the survey, current use is described as having used marijuana at least once or twice in the past year. Regular use is considered using cannabis at least once or twice a month, and 35 million Americans were found to be regular users.
For many cannabis users, smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana several times a day is not uncommon.
However, when you use marijuana this frequently you soon find that you felt a cannabis or THC tolerance. For this reason, it has become common in the cannabis community to take a tolerance break.
If you think it’s time for you to take a little break, come with us and we’ll take a look at everything you need to know.
What Is Cannabis Tolerance?
When you take a medication or a substance regularly, sometimes your body will build a tolerance. This is when your body becomes acclimated to the effects of that medication or substance.
When you build a tolerance to a substance, it means that you need more of the substance in order to feel the effects you used to be able to achieve with less. People can develop a weed tolerance when they are consuming cannabis on a regular basis.
Tolerance is a very complex phenomenon. For this reason, it is not fully understood by scientists what is happening in our bodies when we build a tolerance to a substance.
One thing that is known about people who use cannabis chronically seems to have a decrease in the number of their brains CB1 receptors. What this means is that there are fewer locations in the brain for THC to bind to.
The endocannabinoid system in our bodies is a very responsive and dynamic system. For this reason, it makes sense that the system compensates by increased use by becoming less sensitive. It is therefore necessary to use more THC in order to get the same results you were getting when you first started using it.
How Long Does THC Tolerance Take to Build and Reset?
At this point, it is unclear how long it takes to develop a THC tolerance. It is been suggested through animal studies that females develop tolerance quicker than males, however, this is a difficult thing to study in humans.
This is because the process depends on a number of factors and is highly variable. Some of the factors that can impact tolerance include consumption patterns, how you intake THC, your dosage, and even your genetic makeup.
Basically, though, you can know that you have built a tolerance when you notice that you have to use more cannabis in order to feel its effects.
It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to build a tolerance. For some medical marijuana patients, building tolerance is actually helpful. For some of these individuals, they want to receive the medical benefits without the psychoactive effects, and building a tolerance can help them achieve this.
Some medical marijuana patients have reported that taking THC before bed is a good way to build tolerance without being awake for the psychoactive effects. Over time, they slowly incorporate small amounts of THC during the day and build up from there.
What Are the Benefits of a Tolerance Break?
There are a lot of benefits to taking a tolerance break or a “t-break.” Is a good strategy to moderate your consumption of cannabis by taking breaks regularly. This can help minimize the risks of consuming too much cannabis.
When a person uses too much cannabis regularly, it increases the risk that they will develop cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CH) or cannabis use disorder (CUD). It disrupts your body’s physical dependence on THC when you take a break, so it can help you reduce the risk of developing these disorders.
Have you been using delta-8 and are wondering about whether or not you can build a tolerance to this cannabinoid? If so, you can learn more here about taking a delta 8 tolerance break.
What Are the Side Effects of a Tolerance Break?
For chronic users of marijuana, a tolerance break might result in some withdrawal symptoms. One study found that about one-third of regular, longtime users experience withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using cannabis.
The symptoms that one might experience if they are a chronic user are similar to cigarette or nicotine withdrawal. These might include decreased appetite, irritability, restlessness, depressed mood, insomnia, and anxiety. In general, these withdrawal symptoms are usually undisruptive and mild.
If a person is taking a tolerance break as a medical marijuana patient, they might experience a return of their symptoms when they stop using cannabis. In this instance, it might make sense to use alternative or complementary therapies or switch to another medication. It is important for medical marijuana patients to manage their tolerance as they are particularly vulnerable to the risks of chronic cannabis use.
How Do I Take a Tolerance Break?
Taking a tolerance break is an easy thing to do. All you have to do is stop using cannabis for at least two days
After only 48 hours, your CB1 receptors go back to a cannabis-naive state. Basically, what that means is that you should return to a normal tolerance level if you stop using for only two days.
For some individuals, this might be hard to do. If cannabis has become a regular part of your everyday life in order to make it more enjoyable or manageable, you might find it hard to stop for two days.
You can simply try cutting back on how much you consume or how frequently you consume. However, this is not the same as taking a real tolerance break and will not reset your endocannabinoid system. If quitting cold turkey right away is too difficult, you could taper down your use before you embark on a true tolerance break.
For individuals who regularly consume THC several times every day, it might be beneficial to take a longer tolerance break. In these instances, tolerance week or even month would be a good idea. How long of a tolerance break you take, though, is entirely your choice.
Everyone responds to cannabis and THC differently. This means that you should make a choice that works for you and see how you feel.
Some people might choose to replace THC with CBD as a part of their tolerance break. It has been anecdotally reported that CBD can help to mitigate some of the withdrawal symptoms, but there has not been very much research done about this phenomenon.
How Often Should I Take a Tolerance Break?
How often you take a tolerance break is up to you. It is been suggested by some patient advocate groups and cannabis-centric physicians that taking a two-day break once a month is a good strategy. It can help prevent physical dependence and manage tolerance.
Can You Lower Your Cannabinoid Tolerance Without Taking a Break?
While taking a tolerance break is a good idea every once in a while, it isn’t the only way that you can lower your THC tolerance. Let’s take a look at some of the other things you can try to reduce your tolerance level so that you don’t need as much to get that same feeling.
Engaging in physical activity can actually help to reduce your tolerance level. Before you consume cannabis, try doing a little cardiovascular exercise. This can help you to feel the same effect while using less.
It can also be nice to consume a small amount of cannabis before you go running or hiking. This can make the experience even more enjoyable.
You’ll also have the added benefit of exercise being a great way to reduce stress!
Skip Waking and Baking
For some users, it might be a totally normal part of your routine to wake and bake. Like all habits, it can be hard to break this ritual, but it can help lower your tolerance level to give it a rest.
Your body will slowly start to adjust if you stop consuming cannabis first thing in the morning. For a couple of days, wait until the afternoon to have a smoke session. One speed few days have gone by, pusher session back to the evening.
You might notice that your tolerance level is lower and that you actually get to enjoy the experience more.
Use Less Each Session
When you are a regular cannabis user, it is not uncommon to start using more and more each session. Not only is this bad for your tolerance level, but it’s not easy on your wallet either.
For a month or two, scale-down on how much you are using each session. If you normally smoke plants, start smoking joints. If you normally smoke joints, roll them extra skinny or perhaps cut them with some CBD flower.
If your method of choice is dabbing, consider trying a different form of consumption. If that won’t work for you, just try using a smaller amount of wax.
Try a Different Type of Weed
It can actually really help to adjust your tolerance to just switch cannabis strains. If this strain you have been buying is a high THC strain, try one that has a lower amount of THC.
If you’re always smoking sativas, maybe try a more relaxing hybrid or an indica. If Indica is your go-to, try something a little lighter or a hybrid strain.
It can help you cut back and feel different effects when you give your system something new to try. As your receptors adjust, you will find that you don’t need to smoke nearly as much cannabis.
Buy a Chillum
Another great way to smoke lasts is to use a chillum or a one-hitter. These pieces only allow for a small amount of weed and are designed for on-the-go consumption.
One last idea for how to reduce cannabis tolerance is to practice mindfulness. It’s easy to get into a habit of smoking without even really realizing that you decided to do so. From now on, consider asking yourself a couple of questions when you reach for your cannabis.
- Do I really need this right now?
- What if I took a brisk walk or meditated instead?
- Should I do something else and smoke in an hour?
- Can I get in touch with what my body is telling me and skip this session?
Listening to your body can help you use less. Sometimes you are simply using out of habit and without even thinking about it. Taking a minute to reflect and check-in can help you develop a more moderate relationship with smoking.
Taking a Break Is a Good Idea!
If you are a regular cannabis user, it can feel overwhelming to imagine taking a break. However, once you get going, it likely won’t be as difficult as you pictured.
There are a number of benefits to taking a tolerance break. For one, you might notice that you experience much more vivid dreams when you are not smoking.
Then, of course, there’s the benefit of having cannabis be more effective when you do smoke it again. You do not have to stop for long in order to reset your tolerance. In fact, so long as you are not a seriously heavy user, many people can reset their tolerance in two days.
Saving money is another big reason that it’s a good idea to take a break. You’ll be glad you did when you realize how much money is left in your pocket now that it doesn’t take nearly as much cannabis to feel the same effects.
Did you find this article on THC tolerance interesting? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more fascinating and informative content!