Do you ever feel as though your high isn’t lasting as long as it should? If you do, you’re not wrong (and you’re not alone). Because regular doses of THC—the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s euphoric “high”—can desensitize our body’s receptor cells, increased weed tolerance is a common complaint for those of us who use cannabis on a regular basis.
Fortunately, there’s something you can do about it. Here’s what you need to know about how to lower weed tolerance!
THC Tolerance: The Science
Recent research underscores what cannabis fans have known since humans first harnessed the power of cannabis. As with many other medicines, our bodies tend to build up tolerance to the effects of cannabis. Fortunately, we also know that this natural form of weed tolerance—also known as “downregulation”—is reversible. And while there are any number of urban legends about how to extend your high—including drinking tea or eating mangoes with your weed—the best advice we can offer you is also the simplest: Try a weed tolerance break, known colloquially as a “T break.”
As research demonstrates, when regular cannabis users engage in a T break, the length, effectiveness, and benefits of their high returns to normal fairly quickly. When our CB1 cells—one of our body’s two primary cannabinoid receptor sites—are exposed to regular doses of cannabis, the brain begins to naturally counteract its effects. Essentially, it’s preserving homeostasis, or the balanced baseline functioning of our body’s many systems and regulatory networks. This phenomenon was described as early as 1995 by a research team at NIMH, as described in this essay extracted from High Times magazine.
The Weed Tolerance Break: Strategies for Success
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule as to how long a T break should last, many online sources recommend at least two weeks. If you can wait that long or even longer—such as a month—you should notice a subtle shift in your perspective and your physical state. That’s a great indication that the T break has done its work and you can—gently—begin incorporating cannabis back into your routine.
That said: If you rely on medical cannabis, a complete T break may not be practical. In that case, try switching to products with a higher proportion of CBD. As you may know, while CBD—the second most prevalent cannabinoid in weed—may not impart THC’s “high,” it’s responsible for a number of beneficial effects. Over and above this, many experts suggest reducing the frequency and amount of your THC intake. That’s supported by the finding that cannabis is biphasic, meaning that its effects change depending on its dosage. Though it may sound counterintuitive, research indicates that the majority of us actually get a greater medical benefit from using lower a dosage of cannabis.
THC Tolerance: The Potential for Withdrawal Symptoms
Of course, there’s a potential downside to taking a weed tolerance break: There’s the possibility you might suffer from cannabis withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Mood changes, such as irritability and restlessness
- Difficulty getting to sleep
- A loss of focus or depression
Much as we’d like to avoid these unpleasant symptoms, for some of us they’re a fact of life. If you should experience any of them during your T break, we recommend you rest, stay hydrated, and stick to healthy foods and habits as much as possible. These symptoms generally aren’t dangerous, and in our experience, they subside within a couple of days at most.
Once you’ve gotten through the worst of these symptoms, we recommend you set yourself up for success by extending your T break as long as is practical, easing back in with lower dosage and frequency of use, and in general making cannabis a part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. We’ve seen firsthand how marijuana has the potential to change peoples’ lives and health for the better, and we want to do everything we can to help you get and enjoy the most out of this gentle, all-natural medicine!