Cannabis Tolerance Breaks: What You Need To Know

Cannabis Tolerance Breaks: What You Need To Know

Cannabis Tolerance Breaks What You Need to Know

There comes a time when every stoner wants to take a tolerance break. 

Maybe it’s taking more product than usual to produce the same highs, or perhaps they want a change in routine. 

Regardless, regular cannabis consumption is known to build a tolerance, and even with changes in consumption methods or strains, many users still report diluted effects after consistent use. 

To combat these diminishing effects, some users may opt to take a tolerance break in order to rebuild THC sensitivity and maximize the effects of their products. If you’re looking to do the same, here are a few things you should know about cannabis tolerance breaks. 

Why we develop a tolerance

Our bodies prefer to be in a state of balance known as homeostasis, and it’ll do some incredible things to keep us in a stable place. 

When we consume too much caffeine over a period of time, our bodies will “fight” back in a way that develops resistance or tolerance to it. Even with good habits, such as exercise, for instance, we’ll develop a “tolerance” – the capacity to endure without adverse reaction – to it, and as a result, we grow stronger.

This same principle applies to weed. When we consume cannabis, the THC activates our CB1 receptors, and this connection creates the “high.” As our body processes the THC and it dissipates, our usual CB1 activity levels return to normal, and we sober up. 

However, with repeated exposure to THC, the brain becomes used to it and will fight to keep our bodies in a state of balance. To do so, the body will minimize the increase in CB1 receptors, and in doing so, our “highs” start to feel diluted. Meaning that in order to achieve the same effect, one must consume more. 

Even then, however, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll feel the same way as before. 

In fact, if the repeated use has been prolonged over months or years, the body will start a process known as internalization, or the removal of CB1 receptors from the cell’s surface. This means that rather than minimizing its effects, the THC will no longer have those CB1 receptors to bind to. 

In a study conducted on cannabis tolerance, researchers found that cannabis smokers have roughly 20 percent fewer CB1 receptors in their brains than those who do not smoke. 

Before you start worrying, though, remember that the body will go to incredible lengths to keep us in homeostasis! We’ll cover more about how the brain bounces shortly. 

How fast does cannabis tolerance develop? 

The rate at which we develop cannabis tolerance varies vastly from person to person. Factors like dose, frequency, use history, and our individual physiology all impact this. For this reason, we cannot make any generalizations; however, we can look to studies performed on mice to get a better understanding of cannabis tolerance. 

One study found that mice given twice daily injections of 10 mg THC developed a tolerance as soon as 36 hours or within 3 THC injections. What they also found was that mice developed tolerance to certain effects at varying rates. For instance, the mice were quicker to have diminishing sedative effects compared to THC’s pain-relieving effects. 

Though more research is needed on human subjects, this data suggests that we, too, may also be susceptible to building a tolerance to certain aspects of cannabis compared to others. In other words, it could explain why some long-time smokers no longer get the munchies, for instance, but still feel the relaxing benefits of cannabis.  

How the brain bounces back

Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for our bodies to return to complete normalcy. 

In a study done on human participants, researchers found that CB1 upregulation starts within 2 days of abstinence and continues over a 4 week period. So even though cannabis smokers have fewer CB1 receptors than their sober counterparts, they can return to an almost identical state after a month of abstinence. 

Interestingly, the amount of cannabis use did not correlate with CB1 internalization. Meaning that regardless of how much cannabis a person consumed, the upregulation still took place after two days of abstaining. PET scans performed at the end of the study found no significant difference between past cannabis smokers and sober participants.

While this study has its drawbacks, such as the lack of female participants due to ECS differences, it also gives us a greater understanding of cannabis tolerance. 

Compared to other recreational substances, cannabis is unique in how quickly our brains recover following a period of abstained use. At its worst, the body internalizes the CB1 receptors, which can recover and return to normalcy regardless of prolonged exposure.

Should I take a cannabis tolerance break? 

Though prolonged cannabis use doesn’t seem to have long-term negative impacts on our CB1 receptors, some may still choose to take a cannabis tolerance break. Maybe you’re looking to lower your threshold for cannabinoids, or you’re traveling to a state that’s not recreationally legal yet. Whether you choose to spark up or not, Green Cannabis Co. will be here for you when you need. 

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