A Pause On Weed: A Guide Into Cannabis Tolerance Breaks
Feeling like cannabis is just an everyday habit? Feeling like it’s just another mundane activity? Find out below how you can get back to those early highs you felt as a kid!
If you’re an avid cannabis smoker, you should know what a tolerance break is. If you don’t, it’s probably because you don’t need one.
It might be because of a new job or because the court told you to. You might be going to a not-so-cannabis-friendly holiday spot, or you’re travelling with family members who don’t partake on bong rips. Or maybe you’re just looking to enhance your cannabis experience. You miss those original highs. Maybe you’ve been feeling too cloudy for the past few months or even years. Whatever your reason is, we’ll be covering what to do and how to go about this “tolerance break” in the best way possible.
WHY STOP THE BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD?
When you smoke cannabis on a daily basis for months or years, you’ll probably start to feel like you’re not getting as high as you used to. You start reminiscing on those giggly highs you had as a kid, wondering why that doesn’t happen anymore. You’re not afraid of social interaction when you’re high AF. The squad always includes cannabis before any activity without even questioning it. This is a sign that you should probably take a tolerance break.
Most consumers do this because cannabinoid receptors (especially CB1 receptors) start to downregulate the reception of THC upon frequent and heavy use. It’s not just you getting used to the “high” feeling, it’s actually your physiology trying to adapt to your THC consumption and turning it into “normal.” It’s your body’s natural way of saying “well, if this is how it’s going to be, might as well be functional like this.” In a survival sense, your body tries to keep you aware and safe even after consuming THC because it knows this is how you are everyday.
Research  has shown that CB1 receptors begin to replenish themselves just after two days of a cannabis tolerance break. They will continue to do so for 3-4 more weeks until they are ready to accept back all the THC.
HOW TO BEGIN
It’s important that you really want to do this before you actually do.
Remember that time your parents got you into piano lessons for 6 straight years, but now you can barely remember the do-re-mi’s? This is exactly the same!
If deep down you’re doing this because of your girlfriend or because a couple of your friends are also doing it – it won’t work. You need to truly set your intention before you even decide on a time frame.
Choose a date. It’s super important to have a deadline. Don’t set out to take a break from anywhere in-between a few days to a couple of weeks. This will motivate the thought of “yeah, it’s been long enough” to shine through. Without a clear date, there will be nothing in your brain telling you that you haven’t already gone long enough.
Try to get a few friends to do it with you. It’ll be much easier to go through with the break if you don’t have your friends hotboxing the room you’re in. Bet on who’s going to last the longest. Safest to try it out with your roommate(s). This way, you’ll be keener into keeping the bet, rather than blazing when you get home. This would mean deviating from the main purpose of the bet.
IT WON’T BE EASY
It will be a hard task, but you need to commit. Commitment is the most important factor here. Be honest with yourself 100% of the way and always remember why you’re doing this. The last thing you want is to go a couple of days THC-free, then end up taking the strongest hits of your life with an overwhelming sense of guilt. Oh boy, you don’t want that. Worse than a super-high you can’t control is a super-high you can’t control filled with existential self-doubt.
Your body will have to adjust to the lack of THC it used to be supplied with. It won’t come close to an alcohol or heroin addiction recovery. You won’t feel physical pain. Because there are no addictive compounds to cannabis, all that you’ll feel will be psychological. You might experience some circumstantial depression and feel like stuff isn’t fun anymore, but after 10 days, you’ll be good as new.
TAKING A BREAK ISN’T THE ONLY WAY TO LOWER YOUR TOLERANCE
You’ll face difficulties, no doubt about that! But being prepared is half the way to success. Taking a break can be challenging, but sometimes total abstinence isn’t needed to give your body a chance to lower its tolerance to THC. Sure, nothing beats the high after a four-week break, but at least with these methods, you get to minimise the heartache of not smoking.
• Cannabidiol (CBD) can help
All this tolerance talk about THC, but what about CBD? For those of you who don’t know, CBD is a cannabinoid, just like THC. The difference between these is that while THC causes a “high”, CBD does not. Cannabidiol has numerous applications in the medical field for this same reason. It gives users a relaxed feeling with its anti-anxiety benefits, while still keeping the mind functional. Even better, a study  suggests that CBD can help limit the rate at which THC binds to CB1 receptors. As a result, CBD can potentially reduce the high and support a quicker recovery.
Thankfully, there are a ton of options when it comes to consuming CBD over THC. CBD oils are the most popular, but if you miss the sensation of smoking, then CBD e-liquids are a fantastic substitute. If you truly want to replicate the feeling of rolling a joint while still benefiting from a reduction in THC, then the following CBD strains are a must-buy.
Both Solomatic CBD and Medical Mass feature high levels of CBD; 21% and 10% respectively. Even better, THC levels in both strains remain low, ideal for those looking to lower their tolerance without giving up on cannabis entirely.
• Use exercise to take your mind off of not smoking
The benefits of putting in some extra exercise when trying to lower your tolerance are twofold. Firstly, it is a welcome distraction for when you get a craving to roll a joint. Every time you are tempted, go for a run or take the dog for a walk.
Secondly, researchers have suggested  that exercise might help your body shift the THC it stores in fat cells. Less build-up means a better high when you do decide to pick up where you left off. If you really don’t want to give up cannabis entirely, try doing exercise after you smoke to help shift the THC that little bit quicker. Regular exercise can go some of the way in keeping your tolerance down.
• Cutting down goes a long way
It might sound simple, but if you usually have a joint when you wake up in the morning, and another before bed at night, try cutting one of them out of your routine. Reducing your intake by just one joint a day can have a dramatic effect on your tolerance to THC. Another handy tip is to change the size of the rolling papers you use. Smaller papers mean less weed can be packed into your joint. When it comes to actually lighting up, you’ll barely notice the difference, at least on the outside—on the inside, however, your CB1 receptors will be thanking you.
• Try vaping instead of smoking
There is another way that your tolerance can be lowered, but it doesn’t involve consuming less or choosing an alternative strain. Instead, we can change the way that cannabis is consumed to improve its effectiveness. Vaped marijuana has a higher bioavailability than smoking, which means more of the THC can reach your bloodstream without needing to smoke more.
Changing up the way you consume your weed means you can stick to your favourite strain; just be warned that there will come a point when even vaping won’t be enough anymore. Once you reach this stage, sometimes a complete break is the only way to reset your tolerance.
ONLY YOU WILL KNOW HOW BEST TO LOWER YOUR TOLERANCE
Ultimately, the decision to take a break from cannabis will come down to willpower. We have already discussed that after smoking every day, giving up weed for a few weeks can be tough. Hopefully, by using some of the advice above, we can make that transition into a total T-break a little bit easier. You will find out which method works best for you, but don’t be afraid to give them all a try if you find yourself going back to your usual habits.
Just remember that the whole reason behind a tolerance break is to rekindle that magical moment of toking for the first time. Once your tolerance has been lowered, you can enjoy the journey all over again!
USE SOLOMATIC DURING YOUR TOLERANCE BREAK
If you miss the taste and smell of weed, as well as the physical rituals of your regular smoke sessions, why give up a good thing? With Solomatic, you can light-up or vape to your heart’s content, and still take a tolerance break. This groundbreaking strain contains practically no THC, so it’s a good ally during your pause on more potent cannabis.
Solomatic is a fast automatic strain with generous yields that can be harvested within two months of germination. Play your cards right, and you could have plenty of citrus-scented buds in your stash by the time you’re ready for a break. The flavour? It’s filled with the taste of candied lemon, spicy ginger, and fresh pine. You’ll barely miss your normal smoke!
Have you ever felt that weed is not getting you as high as it did before? Missing those giggly highs? Maybe you need a tolerance break.
How Long Should a Marijuana Tolerance Break Be?
Monday March 16, 2020
O ver time, cannabis consumers develop a tolerance to cannabis, making the effects of marijuana diminished to a certain degree. This happens to just about anyone who consumes frequently enough. As you consume more cannabis, your brain needs more THC to produce the desired effects you seek. This is due to the diminished effects that occur when THC cannabinoids bind with the body’s CB1 receptors.
However, sporadic breaks from consuming have been known to reduce one’s tolerance to cannabis by making the receptors sensitive to THC once again. This is called a tolerance break, or a T-Break, or “I want to, but I can’t smoke” syndrome (or in current global pandemic times, you might be wondering what you’ll do in case your stash runs out). Few, if any, lab studies have explored the subject. Though, there has been more than enough anecdotal evidence collected over the decades. Today, the general cannabis community consensus on tolerance breaks are as such:
When a Tolerance Break is Needed
Tolerance breaks serve a purpose in two scenarios. In one case, they can be self-imposed. The other may be out of one’s control and instead be a necessity for the moment – such as a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
A self-imposed tolerance break can last as long as you see fit. That is, considering the amount you consume. In an ideal scenario, you’d take a day off and that half ounce a day tolerance would be gone, right? That isn’t the case, unfortunately. So, there is some adherence to your body and how much you’ve consumed as of late.
Typical responses suggest that two to five weeks is often sufficient for a marijuana tolerance break. Semi frequent consumers may be able to see the effects of a T-break in two or three weeks. More substantial, regular consumers might need to hold out a month or so to see the same results.
Some have found success doing partial breaks, where they scale back their use instead of an outright stoppage. This may work but is not as reliable as a full-fledged break. In other cases, the T-break is thrust upon us. This can be in the case with job applications, parental rights cases, probation terms and several different instances. In these cases, breaks can last for months, even years.
Tips for a Successful Marijuana Tolerance Break
There are numerous tips and tricks to succeeding with a tolerance break. Depending on who you ask, you may find yourself taking up new activities. Often, you are recommended to toss your stash. Some might suggest discussing your break with your cannabis community so no one will tempt you.
Like most aspects of pot, a tolerance break has to be catered to you for its ideal effects. That said, as cannabis becomes more mainstream, concrete information is welcomed and often needed to advance the validity of the plant. One of the most official looks into tolerance breaks comes from Tom Fontana and the University of Vermont’s Center for Health and Wellbeing. Going off the premise that a break should last for at least three weeks, Fontana created a thorough 21-day guide walking abstainers through the process.
Acknowledging that a break is trying on the individual, the guide aims to help people push through the adversity of a cannabis pause so they can re-evaluate themselves. Each week focuses on a theme with daily practices. The first week centers on the physical, ranging from preparation to our routines. The second week delves into the emotional, ranging from withdrawal to a person’s creativity. Lastly, the final week explores spiritual and existential themes, from crediting yourself, not the substance, to what comes after the break is completed.
What About CBD?
The rise of CBD is the cannabis community inevitably found its ways into the tolerance break discussion as well. While not a hot topic of discussion in comparison to other subjects with the cannabis community online, some have weighed in on the matter. In most cases, they suggest that CBD is adequate, if not recommended, during a break.
Some point towards science in the plant and our bodies. They point out that CBD lacks the psychoactive effects of THC, noting that CBD does not bind to the same receptors as THC. Not only does that mean CBD won’t get you high, consuming it shouldn’t disrupt the re-sensitizing process undertaken by a tolerance break.
Others offered similar sentiments in regards to the non-psychoactive benefits of the cannabinoid. In several cases, consumers self-reported feeling calmer, while others say CBD helped when desires to consume THC came on.
While consuming CBD seems to have its supporters, some caution that full spectrum and distillate products can still contain trace amounts of THC. If a person wants to altogether avoid THC when consuming, they might want to look into an isolate for pure CBD or a distillate that is void of any THC traces.
All in all, finding your ideal tolerance break duration might take a little trial and error. Once you dial it in however, you should see noticeable results and feel stronger effects from your normal cannabis consumption habits.
How long do you take tolerance breaks for? Do you have any tips or tricks for maximizing results? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Andrew Ward is a Brooklyn-based cannabis writer and creative. His work has appeared on Benzinga, High Times, PROHBTD and several other publications and brand blogs. He has covered the cannabis space for over three years, and has written professionally since 2011. His first book, “Cannabis Jobs,” was released in October 2019. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn to stay up to date.
Considering taking a tolerance break from cannabis? Learn more about how long a proper marijuana tolerance break should be, as well as helpful tips to guide you through the process.