If you’re finding yourself needing to smoke more or more often to reach the same effects that you used to, here’s a quick intro to the art of the tolerance break.
Using cannabis comes with a ton of therapeutic and medicinal benefits, but if you’ve been using it for a while, you’ve probably noticed that you don’t get as high as you used to. That’s because like most substances, we can form a tolerance to the cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis. If you’re finding yourself needing to smoke more or more often to reach the same effects that you used to, here’s a quick intro to the art of the tolerance break.
A tolerance break is exactly what you think it is — a break from weed that allows you to lower your tolerance and get the same effects you used to have without having to smoke, dab, or eat so much of it. They’re useful if you’re trying to save some money on herb, or if you’d just like to go back to the glorious days of old when all you needed was a puff from a joint to be put on the couch. Typically a tolerance break requires a few days without using cannabis, and when you come back to it, it’ll feel just as strong as it used to.
Simply put, your body really likes to get used to substances in an attempt to keep the body regular. This is the number one goal of the body, to keep it balanced and operating regularly. When you introduce substances to your body (think cannabis, nicotine, and even caffeine), you’ll notice that the effects are very strong at first. However, with consistent use you’ll start to develop a tolerance to it that requires you to consume more and more of the substance to feel the same effects you felt when you first started.
If you introduce cannabinoids like THC to your body regularly, your body will become better and faster at processing them to get your body back to normal, requiring you to use more of it to get the same effects that you had when you first started using it.
If you’re starting to feel like weed isn’t affecting you as much as it used to or you need to smoke a lot more than you used to to achieve the same effects, it’s time for a tolerance break. All a tolerance break is a break from weed, so you’ll have to stop using it for a few days. THC sticks to the fat cells in your body, so you’ll want to take between 3-7 days to get the majority of it out of your system. Then the next time you smoke or eat edibles, you’ll have that first-time high experience again.
If you can’t take a tolerance break for medical reasons, there are a few things you can do to prevent building a tolerance in the first place.
Reduce your dose or smoke less: If possible, take smaller doses of edibles or smoke less. With less THC in your body to process, your body will be more reactive to a larger dose after a few days. If you’re an all-day smoker, try limiting your sessions to nighttime only or vice versa.
Smoke different strains: Our bodies don’t form a tolerance to cannabis as a whole, but to its cannabinoids and terpenes. If you’ve been smoking the same strain or the same gram of concentrates for a long time, you may have built a tolerance to its specific formulation. Each strain contains over a hundred different concentrations of terpenes and cannabinoids, so trying something different is a great way to get the body to react again. Sometimes a new flavor is just what the doctor ordered.
Try different cannabinoids: If you smoke a lot of THC-dominant strains, switch to delta-8 THC strains or try CBN or CBD. You’ll still get the medicinal benefits of cannabis, though the cerebral effect won’t be as strong. This gives your body some time to reduce its tolerance to THC after a few days without having to quit cold turkey.
Ultimately, building a tolerance to weed can be a huge problem for medical patients needing the therapeutic benefits of the plant and a strain on a recreational user's wallet. If you want to get the strongest effects from your bud and save money, aim to take a tolerance break once every 3-6 months.
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