Have you noticed yourself not feeling the usual effects you’d receive after using cannabis? Are you searching for relief but coming up short? Then it might be time for you to take a tolerance break!
As dreadful as it seems to have to pause your typical cannabis regimen, taking occasional t-breaks is very important. Whether for a few days, weeks, or even months, a tolerance break can be a way to “reset” the body by returning it to a state of less activity.
Tolerance to cannabis happens when the brain adapts to the continual presence of cannabinoids, and to feel the desired effects, higher amounts or a more potent product are needed. The body becomes somewhat resistant to cannabis over time, requiring higher doses to get high. Other substances, such as caffeine, work in the same way.
The scientific term for tolerance is “downregulation.” Essentially, downregulation happens in a process between cannabinoid receptor type 1(CB1) in the brain and the primary psychoactive chemical compound of cannabis, THC. Measurement of this interaction occurs regarding the availability of CB1 receptors, such that fewer receptors are “available” when high levels of THC are present (and vice versa). So, the more THC you intake, the fewer CB1 receptors you have to react to, meaning you won’t experience a “high.”
Several factors play a role in how tolerances develop, such as dosages, frequency of use, and body mass index, meaning no two people will experience it the same way. Regardless, everyone becomes tolerant to cannabis relatively quickly, generally beginning after just one week of frequent cannabis use, especially when consuming high-THC products.
Tips for Taking a Tolerance Break
I’ve personally been using cannabis to manage my anxiety for over a decade, so I’ve needed to take my fair share of tolerance breaks. But, as much as I dread them, I’ve discovered a few ways to make your t-breaks more bearable.
- Consider your own needs and habits. If you’re utilizing cannabis to manage symptoms of a debilitating medical condition, it might be best to consult your physician ahead of time. They might suggest that you decrease your daily intake of THC versus cutting it out completely.
- Set a time frame. As much as I consume cannabis, I typically take a month-long t-break, but you might not have to wait this long! Like any other goal, it’s best to set a time frame to keep yourself motivated during the break. Some studies show that it only takes a few days to replenish those CB1 receptors, but other studies show the best length of time is 28 days. Consider your physiology, tolerance level, and habits before starting your t-break.
- Don’t go overboard. If you use cannabis multiple times a day to manage your symptoms, don’t just cut cold turkey. One way I’ve found to help me get through a break with ease is by integrating CBD and low-dose oral THC into my routine instead of smoking a joint or eating a few gummies. Products like these Drops and Capsules are available in a variety of THC:CBD ratios that will provide relief without flooding your receptors since CBD does not interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors the way THC does.
- Switch Up Your Routine. If you’re a creature of habit like I am, then you probably have a few set times throughout the day when you’re used to medicating. To keep yourself distracted, I suggest spicing up your day with other activities to help you stay distracted. One way is to journal your thoughts, how you’re feeling physically, and how your mood is changing to help understand what you’re body is experiencing during a break. Another way is to find a new activity to enjoy, such as taking a morning walk or meditating when you’d have your breakfast joint.
Regardless of how you decide to execute your tolerance break, as long as it works for you, that is all that matters. It’s not easy to do but trust me when I tell you that your body will thank you for taking a few weeks off and resetting your receptors back to where they should be!