Thursday November 30, 2017

By Andrew Ward


Have you ever wanted to lower your marijuana tolerance? If so, you may have searched the internet for effective ways to reduce your tolerance to cannabis. It’s no secret consumers have sought a variety of methods to reverse this effect, but is one more favorable than others?

In recent years, marijuana publications, forums and subreddits have discussed ways to lower one's tolerance efficiently. Publications have touted specific methods as the reliable solutions. Perhaps the most commonly seen remedy is the usage of omega-3 fatty acids.

But do omega-3 fatty acids really have an impact on your cannabis tolerance? Recently, I decided to them to the test.

Intro to Cannabis Tolerance and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Writer and commentator Richard Neville once said "Is marijuana addictive? Yes, in the sense that most of the really pleasant things in life are worth endlessly repeating.”

Therein lies the problem that all too many cannabis lovers run into. The more we use, the more our tolerance goes up. Your marijuana tolerance is essentially your endurance to the cannabinoids. Over time, many of us, regardless of ingestion method, will hit a stoner wall of sorts.

Many factors play into this including:

  • Frequency of consumption
  • Body mass index
  • Sex
  • Potency of the product

Omega-3 is the source for human's two most vital fats. It's known to help ease a range of ailments from rheumatoid arthritis to depression and potentially even Alzheimer's. But does it affect your marijuana tolerance?

To find out, I took omega-3 supplements for 30 days to see what would happen. As a frequent cannabis consumer, I hypothesized that by the end of week 2 my tolerance would decline to noticeable levels.

Some other key factors in the test include:

  • All findings were experiential. No medical testing was involved.
  • Gorilla Glue was used as the test flower
  • All smoking came via dugouts and joints

With the plan set, I optimistically began my experience. But first, I came across some interesting findings from recent research.

The Science behind Omega-3 and Cannabis

No scientific research could be found regarding omega-3 and cannabis tolerance. However, recent findings out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign answered questions we’ve sought for since the early 90s.

In 1992, endocannabinoids were first discovered in the human body. Since then, researchers have found many other natural endocannabinoids. They act as natural sustainers in our body for various functions. However, many of their functions and processes remain in question, including just how they convert from acids into cannabis-like relievers.

The Illinois study revealed a mass of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into our bodies’ natural cannabinoids.

Unlike marijuana, the cannabinoids we create don’t produce a psychotropic high.

However, they do provide valuable anti-inflammatory relief. Professor Aditi Das, a University of Illinois professor of comparative biosciences and biochemistry and the study’s leader, and her team discovered a pathway that provides answers.

Their findings of an enzymatic pathway confirmed how omega-3 binds to our receptors for a natural soothing effect. This authenticated the process to how our body creates a CBD-like effect.

Humans can generate this effect by eating foods such as meat, eggs, fish and nuts. These foods contain omega-3 and 6, both of which convert into endocannabinoids. Professor Das noted that marijuana and endocannabinoids both act as supports for our body's immune system. This makes both attractive subjects to develop anti-inflammation solutions.

But those findings do nothing to prove or deny internet rumors. With a lack of scientific studies, an answer might already be present. But there is only one way to find out. So, with the science inconclusive at best, Day 1 began on Oct. 3.

The 30-Day Experiment

I began the experiment, eager to find out if I could lower my tolerance while boosting my fatty acid intake. But, just like the Instagram video explaining my efforts, in where I had to quadruple the speed to meet the platform’s video guidelines, I would soon be disappointed with the outcome.

Week One

The first few days began optimistically. Highs felt stronger and lasted somewhat longer. Throughout the day, I could function normally while still feeling a bit more headiness than usual. The weather in New York City was hot for this time of the year. So, an extra bit of a high made walking under tree-lined streets that much more enjoyable.

However, by the end of the week, results began to plateau. Was this just a minor change? By the end of the first week, I was unsure but still hopeful more of a difference would come.

Week Two

By the end of week two, this study was proving to be like Kyrie Irving’s views of Earth: flat.

Brief moments in the week made it feel the highs were getting stronger. But they proved to be momentary at best. I noticed no remarkable changes in my body outside of the standard head and body effects. At halfway into the test, the experiment started to feel like a wash. At least taking omega-3 is healthy for you.

Determined to see this out, I pushed on, holding onto any hope for a notable result.

Week Three

No changes came again in week three. At this point, it was clear that zero difference looked to be the outcome of my study. I even forgot to record the weekly check-in on its regularly scheduled time. At some point, taking omega-3 felt more like an additional supplement in the daily routine.

But then it hit me. Over the last few days I have been less anxious and more outgoing than I typically would be. Was this working, or was this just the fruits of years of therapy and anti-anxiety pills? Most likely it's the latter, but I did have a gnarly high face on day 16 that gave me some hope. I’d share that image but it’d be too unsettling for eyes, so here’s the recap of the week instead:

Week Four

I'd say the results plateaued at week one, but now it's pretty clear that they never got off the ground. Heading into the final days, I felt just as I had before. I began to skim other methods of lowering my tolerance.

Hopefully, it'd be something other than a complete break.

Other Tolerance Methods

Ultimately, there are a multitude of options for you to try to lower your tolerance to marijuana. Mostly, they break down into one overall theme: change your routine.

Changing things up can be a variety of ideas, and many are worth testing out. Consider your routine the a/b test of tolerance testing. Try different options and gauge the results. Virtually every option is on the table for you to try.

Alternate when you smoke throughout the day. If you’re a heavy smoker, scale back your usage. The same can be said for how you store your product. Improper storage leaves your cannabis exposed to the elements. If so, you can expect a loss in potency and overall quality.

Aim for tight cases, jars and baggies that keep the air out.

Some consumers reported a change in flower and ingestion method as the key. Try a dugout instead of a bong, or roll smaller joints. Maybe now is the time to switch strains.

In other cases, runners have reported that their endorphins partner well with cannabis after working out.

No clear-cut solution exists, and it’s likely we won’t have one anytime soon. For now, the above methods are worth trying over omega-3. However, no test should be seen as a complete letdown. Much like omega-3, many of these options do wonders for your body even if your high doesn’t improve.

Do you have a favorite method to lower your tolerance? Share it below!

Photo Credit: Pixabay (license)

Andrew Ward Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based cannabis writer and creative. His work has appeared on Benzinga, High Times, PROHBTD and several other publications and brand blogs. He has covered the cannabis space for over three years, and has written professionally since 2011. His first book, "Cannabis Jobs," was released in October 2019. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn to stay up to date.

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