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Tolerance Breaks: How to Use Them to Your Advantage

October 30, 2019 05:40 pm ET
Tolerance Breaks: How to Use Them to Your Advantage

Many people use cannabis frequently to treat diseases and conditions, especially if it involves pain. Due to such frequent use, one is bound to develop a tolerance to cannabis. This means that frequent consumers of cannabis eventually need to consume more to feel the same effects as before the development of their tolerance. In relation to cannabis, tolerance is the brain’s adaption to the continued presence of cannabinoids. Consumers, therefore, become resistant to the effects of cannabis resulting in the consumption of larger amounts. Tolerance increases are not limited to cannabis and includes substances such as caffeine and pain killers. 

Tolerance Build-ups Explained

Tolerance build ups are caused by what is called downregulation and desensitization where the receptors, for cannabis, reduce in the brain. It has been proven that frequent users have 20% less CB1 receptors than those who do not consume cannabis frequently. CB1 is the receptor that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds with. However, the receptors that cannabis reacts with, can be regenerated through the effective use of tolerance breaks.

It only takes two days to four weeks of abstinence to regenerate those receptors. A study has shown that it does not matter how much cannabis you consume; the receptors start to grow back after just two days. However, this study was conducted using males only and cannabis is widely believed to affect women differently. 

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The human body makes its own cannabinoids and they are located all over the body. Taking that into account, it should be no surprise that certain parts of the body remain immune to the cannabis tolerance build-up. A study done by Sim-Selly found that the colon is an example of a part of the body that is immune to cannabis tolerance. This means that individuals can still benefit from the medicinal properties of cannabis for those parts of the body that are immune to tolerance build-up. Keep in mind that the research around this is limited and all the parts of the body that may be immune to cannabis tolerance are yet to be found. 

Taking tolerance breaks and taking measures to reduce the tolerance build-up will ensure that you will continue to affect you’re after without increasing your consumption.

Tips On Reducing Tolerance Build-ups:

  • Reduce the frequency and quantity of cannabis through an approach called micro-dosing
  • Examine your current pattern of consumption. This will help you monitor your intake and control the quantity of your intake. Think about improving your pattern of consumption for the most optimal time of consumption to avoid using it too frequently. 
  • Use a variety of strains. You can build up a tolerance to one strain but not to another. Therefore, it will be beneficial in reducing tolerance to alternate between strains. 
  • Self-management is key. Only consume the minimal amount required for your desired effect. The less you buy, the less you consume and the more you must ration. 
  • Try higher potency strains. If the potency is higher, you can smoke less for the same effects. 

Micro-dosing: The consumption of the smallest possible amount for the desired outcome. Individuals consuming cannabis and who need to stay medicated throughout the day will be the biggest beneficiaries of micro-dosing while reducing tolerance build-ups.  An example of how to make use of micro-dosing is taking a few puffs at a time. 

Tips On Taking Effective Tolerance Breaks:

  • Adjust your expectations. Taking a tolerance break can be challenging, as would stopping anything you do daily. Know that taking a break from cannabis entirely will be challenging and you should expect it and prepare for it, especially if you rely on it daily for medicinal purposes. 
  • Out of sight, Out of mind. Keep your stash out of eyesight during tolerance breaks to avoid wanting to interrupt your tolerance break. 
  • Tell your confidants. To avoid being tempted by friends and family, tell them you are on a tolerance break. It appears to be easier, though still challenging, to say no to yourself but saying no to your confidants is even more challenging. 
  • Pick a date. It is important that you stay focused. Set a date for yourself and work towards reaching it. Trust me, that toke you have on your chosen date in celebration of completing your tolerance break will be much like smoking for the first time as your receptors have regenerated. 

Suggestions If You Use Cannabis As A Maintenance Medication:

  • If you rely on cannabis daily for the management of pain or any other illness and condition, it would be beneficial for you to take 2-day breaks every two weeks. For those two days, these individuals can use CDB only products if they cannot go without, for example, pain management. 
  • Change your consumption pattern from larger quantities in one sitting to several smaller quantities throughout the day (micro-dosing). 
  • It would be highly beneficial for you to consult your doctor in producing an effective and appropriate tolerance break plan to ensure that your condition or illness will remain stable and managed. 
  • Educate yourself. The more you know about the powerful partnership between your body and cannabis, the better you will be able to manage your health, consumption, and tolerance on your own terms. 

Always keep the good news in mind: the changes from cannabis to your receptors are reversible through tolerance breaks and effective management of your consumption. Tolerance breaks are important if you find yourself needing to take a larger amount in order to reach the desired effects. Tolerance breaks can seem daunting but are very beneficial and rewarding. Remember moderation is key. Stay lifted and happy consumption.

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