What is a Cannabis Tolerance?

Do you ever feel that cannabis is not working for you as well as it did in the past? Are you no longer experiencing the same effects of cannabis that you’re used to, or do you feel like you’re having to smoke more than you’d like? If so, then you might be dealing with a built-up cannabis tolerance. This term refers to when the body gets used to cannabis and does not respond to it the same way as when someone first starts consuming the plant.

When this happens, you may end up consuming more cannabis to achieve the desired results. This can be a problem for those using cannabis for therapeutic or medicinal reasons, and it can be very cost-prohibitive for many people. High cannabis tolerances can also be a problem for recreational users.

How Does Cannabis Tolerance Develop?

The development of tolerance and its level depends on the consumer, as different people respond differently to cannabis. Mainly, it’s the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system that are responsible for developing a higher tolerance.

When you consume cannabis, the psychoactive component (THC) affects CB1 receptors in the brain and Central Nervous System. As a result, these receptor types may reduce in both number and functionality. This change can happen as a result of repetitive or consistent use over time.

The same general action mechanism influences people’s tolerance for CBD and is also dependent on the individual’s use of CBD-rich cannabis. Building a tolerance to any cannabinoid is also dependent on the strength of strains someone consumes. However, a big difference between a high THC tolerance and one for CBD is that CBD is not necessarily going to stop being effective. Instead, its effects will level off or “plateau” at a certain point of tolerance.

All these factors, when combined, give rise to individual cannabis tolerance. While there are some general guidelines for how long it may take someone to develop a higher tolerance to cannabis, it can be challenging to nail down a guaranteed timeline. This is due to the fact that every person has their own unique Endocannabinoid System and processes cannabinoids differently.  

How to Break a Cannabis Tolerance

If you are also facing a high cannabis tolerance, there’s no need to worry! There are some tips and tricks that could be helpful for reducing your tolerance.

A few things that might help:

  1. Take a break: Pausing your cannabis intake for a little while is typically the most effective route for reducing a built-up tolerance as it allows for the recovery of CB1 receptors. The required length of time for what’s commonly referred to as a “T break” or “tolerance break” can range anywhere from just a few days to a couple of weeks.
  1. Strict control of dosage: Restricting your dosage or consumption amount can also help, especially for those who cannot or don’t wish to totally discontinue use due to medical reasons. In this way, you might not be able to totally prevent the buildup of tolerance, but you can help to reduce it.
  1. Avoiding overuse: For recreational consumers, avoiding superfluous consumption of cannabis can be greatly helpful. This can definitely require a healthy dose of self-control. In cases like this, you may not need to put a complete hold on smoking or other consumption methods – for some, simply being aware of how and when they consume can be enough to do the trick.

How Can You Build or Maintain a Certain Tolerance Level?

Once you achieve a certain low tolerance level after using the aforementioned techniques, you can take steps to help stay consistent with it. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Low THC products: THC is the main “culprit” behind the depletion of CB1 receptors. By reducing its concentration in your cannabis intake, you can save your CB1 receptors. Check out some low THC products our parent company, Fairwinds Cannabis has to offer.
  1. Improving CBD intake: If you’re primarily consuming products that contain only (or mostly) THC, you can help to balance out your tolerance by consuming cannabis products that contain more CBD. Unlike THC, CBD has several benefits for the receptors of the Endocannabinoid system. Plus, accessing the Entourage Effect through the consumption of a variety of cannabinoids can help to keep your tolerance fresh! Check out this whole line of CBD products offered by our family at Fairwinds Wellness.
  1. Avoiding overconsumption: Avoiding overconsumption and reducing how much you smoke at once can have a considerably positive effect on the receptors. It also allows for the regeneration of depleted receptors.

Bottom line

Lowering your cannabis tolerance is a different experience for every individual. After discontinuing cannabis consumption, some people may face mild withdrawal symptoms including mood swings, fatigue, headache, elevated cannabis craving, etc. While this is not common and is often very mild in most consumers, it can make it difficult to stick to your plan of taking a tolerance break. However, it’s important to remember that lowering your tolerance is an achievable target with consistency and the proper technique – you’ll be back to feeling all of cannabis’ varied effects in no time!

Thanks for reading,


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