Discussing the benefits of taking time away from the herb.
Have you been spending a lot of money on weed lately? If you’re a regular herbivore, chances are you have a fairly high tolerance level for THC.
While researchers have yet to reach a verdict as to whether or not a high tolerance is problematic in the long term, there are some downsides to having a high tolerance in regular cannabis users.
But what is a weed tolerance break, and why do you develop tolerance? Read on to learn more about cannabis tolerance breaks, why we develop tolerance, how daily cannabis consumption affects us, and tips to abstain from cannabis without the dreaded withdrawal symptoms.
For cannabis novices and those who only consume the herb from time to time, the effects of the psychoactive plant can be quite strong. As you continue to consume regularly, however, some of the initial side effects of cannabis may dissipate.
For example, new or infrequent consumers often experience an increase in heart rate after inhaling THC. This increase in heart rate may go away over time. Similarly, consuming THC can often cause anxiety in novice or occasional consumers. With tolerance, however, cannabis-induced anxiety may become less common.
Being tolerant of cannabis, however, does not mean that you become immune to getting high. Even consumers who use cannabis regularly can still become intoxicated. Though, with tolerance, they become less sensitive to the overall effects of the plant. For this reason, they may not experience the strong psychoactive potential of the herb.
Instead, cannabis can begin to feel more normal, and the difference between being intoxicated and not will be less extreme. Because of tolerance, many medical cannabis consumers continue to live normal, high-functioning lives despite consuming the herb daily.
Simply stated, you develop cannabis tolerance when cells in your body become less sensitive to THC. THC, along with other compounds in the plant called cannabinoids, mimic chemicals that our bodies produce naturally.
These molecules, like the body’s own cannabis, are called endocannabinoids. The prefix endo means internal. These internal cannabinoids were named after the molecules found in the cannabis plant, which were discovered first.
Endocannabinoids have numerous roles in the human body that are essential for everyday functioning, including:
When you smoke or consume cannabis, psychoactive THC hijacks the receptor sites for your normal endocannabinoids. This is how the compound produces its psychoactive and medicinal effects. As you continue to smoke over time, however, cells start to decrease their number of cannabinoid receptors. In science, this process is called downregulation.
In order to prevent dependence on cannabis and maintain sensitivity to the psychoactive effects of the herb, many consumers choose to abstain from cannabis by taking a tolerance break.
Often called a “T-break,” a tolerance break is a period of abstinence from cannabis. Like a reboot of the endocannabinoid system, taking a tolerance break is ideal for anyone who feels that they have become too desensitized to cannabis.
Some people choose to slowly decrease the amount that they consume each day. Others choose to switch to CBD for a while, while others still go cold turkey. Regardless of what you choose to do, tolerance breaks are recommended for any regular herbivore.
While cannabis can be an excellent tool, it stops working effectively the more you partake in the plant. If you’re hoping to enjoy the herb for many years to come, consuming it in moderation is always recommended.
The short answer to this question? No, you can’t be immune to getting high. While it is true that some people may not experience a robust effect with cannabis, being “immune” to the herb doesn’t have anything to do with it.
If you are a new consumer, you may have to consume the herb a couple of different times before you finally experience an effect. If you’ve eaten cannabis, the liver may even metabolize cannabis compounds so efficiently that you don’t fully experience the true effects of the herb.
Sometimes, however, even regular cannabis consumers become desensitized to the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary intoxicant in the cannabis plant. If you continue to partake on a regular basis, you can also develop a tolerance to the effects of cannabis over time.
In this sense, it may feel like you have become somewhat “immune” to getting high.
The ideal length of a cannabis tolerance break depends on how long you’ve been consuming weed and how often you enjoy the herb.
Frequent consumers may want to avoid cannabis for at least one week before re-introducing the plant into their routine. Those who consume the herb more than once daily may benefit from a longer tolerance break, up to two full weeks. Chronic consumers hoping to completely eliminate THC from their system should consider abstaining from cannabis for at least one month.
When cannabinoid receptors downregulate, you lose sensitivity to the psychoactive effects of cannabis. But don’t worry! These changes are not permanent. In fact, cells downregulate receptors quite often. For example, if you notice a certain smell upon entering a room, you may stop smelling the same smell as you continue to stay in the same place.
Part of the reason for this is that olfactory receptors, which allow you to register scent, become desensitized very quickly to help you adjust to your surroundings. Research suggests that cannabinoid receptors begin to return to normal after a mere two days of abstinence from THC. How long it takes for cannabinoid receptors to return to normal, however, is highly variable from person to person.
A chronic cannabis consumer may need several days or even a couple of weeks to fully detox from THC. During this time, it is likely that the body will begin to adjust and begin to rebalance its endocannabinoid system.
Apart from taking a tolerance break, there are a few ways to improve your sensitivity to THC. Here are a few hacks for lowering your THC tolerance:
Slowly Decrease Your Dose: There’s no need to go cold turkey from the start. If you would like to lower your tolerance, you can simply start decreasing your dosage a little at a time. If you partake multiple times a day, you can begin to cut out a couple smoke sessions at a time. Eventually, you may be able to cut down to every other day or just a few times a week so that you are not consuming as much THC.
Try CBD Instead: CBD and THC work differently. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce an intoxicating effect. The compound also does not engage cannabinoid receptors as THC does. Instead, the molecule increases the circulation of your natural endocannabinoids. If your THC tolerance has become too high, CBD may be able to help the body adjust as you abstain from the cannabinoid.
Add Daily Exercise To Your Routine: Exercise naturally increases circulating levels of endocannabinoids. If you begin to lower your dosage of THC, hitting the gym and working up a sweat can make the process much easier. Vigorous exercise causes a natural high by boosting levels of an endocannabinoid known as anandamide. Dubbed “the bliss molecule,” anandamide is one of the endocannabinoids that is perhaps most similar to THC. If you’re hoping to give up THC, exercise is one of the next best things.
Many of the hacks used to try to decrease your cannabis tolerance can also be helpful to those experiencing cannabis withdrawal.
If you have decided to go cold turkey with your tolerance break, you may experience some negative side effects and withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts back to its normal state. It’s not uncommon for consumers to experience difficulty sleeping, increased dreaming, irritability, low mood, increased body pain, and changes in appetite with abstinence from THC.
If you’re hoping to beat cannabis withdrawal, here are a few things that may help:
Endocannabinoids, after all, promote feelings of bliss and ease. To get your endocannabinoid system back in order, finding productive ways to ease stress and enjoy life are a must.