Monday March 16, 2020
By Andrew Ward
Over time, cannabis consumers develop a tolerance to cannabis, making the effects of marijuana diminished to a certain degree. This happens to just about anyone who consumes frequently enough. As you consume more cannabis, your brain needs more THC to produce the desired effects you seek. This is due to the diminished effects that occur when THC cannabinoids bind with the body's CB1 receptors.
However, sporadic breaks from consuming have been known to reduce one's tolerance to cannabis by making the receptors sensitive to THC once again. This is called a tolerance break, or a T-Break, or "I want to, but I can't smoke" syndrome (or in current global pandemic times, you might be wondering what you’ll do in case your stash runs out). Few, if any, lab studies have explored the subject. Though, there has been more than enough anecdotal evidence collected over the decades. Today, the general cannabis community consensus on tolerance breaks are as such:
When a Tolerance Break is Needed
Tolerance breaks serve a purpose in two scenarios. In one case, they can be self-imposed. The other may be out of one's control and instead be a necessity for the moment – such as a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
A self-imposed tolerance break can last as long as you see fit. That is, considering the amount you consume. In an ideal scenario, you'd take a day off and that half ounce a day tolerance would be gone, right? That isn't the case, unfortunately. So, there is some adherence to your body and how much you've consumed as of late.
Typical responses suggest that two to five weeks is often sufficient for a marijuana tolerance break. Semi frequent consumers may be able to see the effects of a T-break in two or three weeks. More substantial, regular consumers might need to hold out a month or so to see the same results.
Some have found success doing partial breaks, where they scale back their use instead of an outright stoppage. This may work but is not as reliable as a full-fledged break. In other cases, the T-break is thrust upon us. This can be in the case with job applications, parental rights cases, probation terms and several different instances. In these cases, breaks can last for months, even years.
Tips for a Successful Marijuana Tolerance Break
There are numerous tips and tricks to succeeding with a tolerance break. Depending on who you ask, you may find yourself taking up new activities. Often, you are recommended to toss your stash. Some might suggest discussing your break with your cannabis community so no one will tempt you.
Like most aspects of pot, a tolerance break has to be catered to you for its ideal effects. That said, as cannabis becomes more mainstream, concrete information is welcomed and often needed to advance the validity of the plant. One of the most official looks into tolerance breaks comes from Tom Fontana and the University of Vermont's Center for Health and Wellbeing. Going off the premise that a break should last for at least three weeks, Fontana created a thorough 21-day guide walking abstainers through the process.
Acknowledging that a break is trying on the individual, the guide aims to help people push through the adversity of a cannabis pause so they can re-evaluate themselves. Each week focuses on a theme with daily practices. The first week centers on the physical, ranging from preparation to our routines. The second week delves into the emotional, ranging from withdrawal to a person's creativity. Lastly, the final week explores spiritual and existential themes, from crediting yourself, not the substance, to what comes after the break is completed.
What About CBD?
The rise of CBD is the cannabis community inevitably found its ways into the tolerance break discussion as well. While not a hot topic of discussion in comparison to other subjects with the cannabis community online, some have weighed in on the matter. In most cases, they suggest that CBD is adequate, if not recommended, during a break.
Some point towards science in the plant and our bodies. They point out that CBD lacks the psychoactive effects of THC, noting that CBD does not bind to the same receptors as THC. Not only does that mean CBD won't get you high, consuming it shouldn't disrupt the re-sensitizing process undertaken by a tolerance break.
Others offered similar sentiments in regards to the non-psychoactive benefits of the cannabinoid. In several cases, consumers self-reported feeling calmer, while others say CBD helped when desires to consume THC came on.
While consuming CBD seems to have its supporters, some caution that full spectrum and distillate products can still contain trace amounts of THC. If a person wants to altogether avoid THC when consuming, they might want to look into an isolate for pure CBD or a distillate that is void of any THC traces.
All in all, finding your ideal tolerance break duration might take a little trial and error. Once you dial it in however, you should see noticeable results and feel stronger effects from your normal cannabis consumption habits.
How long do you take tolerance breaks for? Do you have any tips or tricks for maximizing results? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.