How to Reset Your Cannabis Tolerance
Feel like cannabis isn’t working for you the way it used to? You might be dealing with a high tolerance.
Tolerance refers to your body’s process of getting used to cannabis, which can result in weaker effects.
In other words, you need to ingest more to get the same effects you once did. This can be particularly problematic if you’re using cannabis for medical reasons.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to reset your tolerance.
Cannabis tolerance develops when you use it regularly.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. It works by affecting the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain.
If you ingest THC often, your CB1 receptors are reduced over time. This means the same amount of THC won’t affect the CB1 receptors in the same way, resulting in reduced effects.
There’s no strict timeline for how tolerance develops. It depends on a range of factors, including:
- how often you use cannabis
- how strong the cannabis is
- your personal biology
One of the most common ways to lower your cannabis tolerance is to take a break from using cannabis. These are often called “T breaks.”
Research shows that, while THC can deplete your CB1 receptors, they can recover over time and return to their previous levels.
The length of your T break is up to you. There’s no solid data on exactly how long it takes for CB1 receptors to recover, so you’ll have to experiment a bit.
Some people find that a few days does the trick. Most online forums advise that 2 weeks is the ideal time frame.
If you’re using cannabis for medical reasons, taking a T break might not be feasible. There are a few other strategies you can try.
Use cannabis products with a higher CBD-to-THC ratio
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another chemical found in cannabis. It doesn’t seem to lead to depletion of CB1 receptors, meaning it doesn’t cause you to develop tolerance the way THC does.
CBD won’t give you a “high,” but it does seem to have several potential health benefits, such as reducing pain and inflammation.
At many dispensaries, you can find products ranging from a 1-to-1 ratio to as high as 16-to-1.
Tightly control your doses
The less cannabis you use, the less likely you are to develop a tolerance. Use the minimum you need to feel comfortable, and try not to overindulge.
Use cannabis less often
If possible, use cannabis less frequently. This can help to both reset your tolerance and prevent it from coming back again in the future.
Many people who have developed a high tolerance do go through cannabis withdrawal when taking a T break or using less cannabis than usual.
Cannabis withdrawal isn’t necessarily as intense as withdrawal from alcohol or other substances, but it can still be quite uncomfortable.
You might experience:
- mood swings
- cognitive impairment
- diminished appetite
- stomach problems, including nausea
- intense, vivid dreams
To help with these symptoms, make sure to get plenty of hydration and rest. You can also try using over-the-counter medications to deal with headaches and nausea.
Exercise and fresh air can help you feel alert and reduce any slumps in your mood.
The withdrawal symptoms might make it tempting to continue using cannabis. To keep yourself accountable, tell your loved ones that you’re taking a break.
While the symptoms are uncomfortable, the good news is that cannabis withdrawal symptoms usually only last for 72 hours.
Once you’ve reset your tolerance, keep the following in mind to keep your tolerance in check moving forward:
- Use lower-THC products. Since it’s THC that leads to the depletion of your CB1 receptors, it’s wise to opt for products that are a bit lower in THC.
- Don’t use cannabis too often. The more you use it, the higher your tolerance will be, so try to only use it occasionally or as needed.
- Use a lower dosage. Try consuming less cannabis at a time, and try to wait a bit longer before re-dosing.
- Use CBD instead. You may want to consider giving CBD-only products a try if you’re looking to reap the potential health benefits of cannabis. However, THC does have some benefits that CBD doesn’t seem to have, so this switch isn’t viable for everyone.
Keep in mind that tolerance might be unavoidable for some folks. If you find that you’re prone to developing a high tolerance, consider coming up with a plan to take regular T breaks as needed.
It’s pretty normal to develop a tolerance to cannabis if you use it often. In most cases, taking a T break for a week or two will reset your tolerance.
If that’s not an option, consider switching to products that are lower in THC or reducing your cannabis consumption.
Keep in mind that cannabis tolerance can sometimes be a sign of cannabis use disorder. If you’re concerned about your cannabis use, you have options:
- Have an open and honest conversation with your healthcare provider.
- Call SAMHSA’s national helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357), or use their online treatment locater.
- Find a support group through the Support Group Project.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.
If you've been consuming weed for a while, you've probably developed a high tolerance along the way. Here's how to reset it and keep it from happening again.
Seven easy ways to lower your cannabis tolerance
Everyone needs a reset eventually
Share this Story: Seven easy ways to lower your cannabis tolerance
It happens to just about everybody who enjoys cannabis over a long period of time: The amount needed to feel the psychoactive effect grows and your marijuana tolerance level gets out of whack. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get back to that old feeling you loved when you were a newbie.
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No need to worry. Here are seven simple ways to adjust your cannabis intake to get back in the groove:
Take A Break
Duh. This is the most obvious — and the one many consumers simply don’t want to do.
Some of you may be patients suffering from chronic pain, PTSD or other ailments that require daily consumption. If this is your situation, there are other methods below.
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And there are some out there (studies say it is anywhere between 8-11 percent) that have a physical dependence. If this is your situation, please address the issue. See a doctor. Talk to a healthcare professional. Do NOT simply continue what you are doing.
But if you are like most of us, a tolerance holiday (or T-break) should do the trick. If you have been using cannabis for a prolonged period of time, your system becomes desensitized. When you constantly put THC in your body, the receptors that bind to it become compromised. Give your receptors a chance to recuperate.
Commit to at least a two-week break from marijuana; a month is better. It may sound difficult for some of you. You may become irritable or moody. But it is certainly doable. Try it.
Believe it or not, physical activity can lower your tolerance level. Doing just a little cardiovascular exercise before consuming cannabis will allow you to use less and still feel the effects. In short, exercising will give you more bang for the buck.
And if you are running or hiking, consuming a small amount of cannabis beforehand will make the experience more enjoyable.
Let’s be honest, if you are sitting around listening to music or watching TV, you will be more prone to reach over and take a hit. If you are outside doing physical activity, you’re more likely to enjoy the experience.
Besides, we could all use a little more exercise in our life.
Skip The Wake And Bake Session
For some of you, the wake and bake routine is as common as drinking a cup of coffee. It’s just a habit you are accustomed to. Well, give it a rest.
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If you refrain from consuming cannabis first thing in the morning, your body will slowly begin to adjust. Wait until the afternoon for your first toke of the day. After a few days, wait until the evening for your initial session.
You will enjoy the experience more and you’ll cut back on your tolerance level.
Use Less Per Session
Another obvious suggestion, but it simply works. If you roll joints, go out and buy smaller papers. Or roll pinner joints for a month or two. If you are into blunts, move to joints.
If you dab, give it a break and move to a different form factor. If dabbing is the only method you do, then simply use smaller amounts of wax.
Use A Different Type Of Weed
Often times, simply switching strains will help you adjust your tolerance. If you are buying a high-THC strain, try a lower-THC strain. If a heavy indica strain at night is your thing, go with a hybrid strain or something not as heavy. If sativas are your go-to strain, experiment with something a little more relaxing.
Give your system something new and it will help you cut back. Your receptors will adjust and you will need less cannabis.
Invest In A Chillum
Chillums (or one-hitters or dugouts) are an excellent way to reduce your intake. These devices are designed for on-the-go consumption and allow for only tiny amounts of ground herb.
These are individual tools not meant to be passed around. So you may be consuming by yourself a little more, but you might find you are using much less.
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There are various kinds of cbillums (glass, metal, wood, etc.). Find one that fits your style and give it a go.
Yep. I’m going to throw this one in the mix. Practice mindfulness. Ask yourself a few questions each time you reach for the weed: Do I really need this now? What if I skip on this session and get in touch with what my body is telling me? Will meditating or taking a brisk walk help? Is my pain so severe or can I wait an hour?
If you truly listen to your body and follow what it is telling you, chances are you will use less. Sometimes a difficult situation you are experiencing can be resolved without consuming cannabis. Maybe being in the real world and not feeling euphoric is what is required at the moment.
I know some of you will dismiss this one out of hand. But if you practice mindfulness, you will find an inner peace that will allow you to eschew the piece.
TheFreshToast.com, a U.S. lifestyle site, that contributes lifestyle content and, with their partnership with 600,000 physicians via Skipta, medical marijuana information to The GrowthOp.
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Everyone needs a reset eventually