When and How to Take a Weed ‘Tolerance Break’
Increasingly permissive laws on cannabis use You may have found yourself consuming far more frequently—even daily—but there are pitfalls to routine use. One of the least serious, but most annoying for you (and your wallet) is the fact that the more weed you consume (whether you smoke it, vape it, or eat it), the more weed you consume. need use to experience the same effects. If you’ve noticed this in yourself, it may be time for a tolerance break.
Heavy cannabis users can often experience a diminished high after months or years of consistent use due to the complex nature of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). While people typically think of THC and CBD as the intoxicating elements of weed, there are dozens of other cannabinoids found in most non-isolated cannabis products, each of which interacts with the ECS in ways that we don’t fully understand. While we lack a standard scientific explanation for how a high tolerance to cannabis develops, finding the “high you once had” has been referred to by Redditors as “chasing the dragon” and breaking tolerance – a temporary but complete abstinence from Cannabis use – perhaps the best way to catch it.
Heavy cannabis use can also have negative physical consequences. although rare, Cannabis use disorder and cannabis hyperemesis syndrome are potential consequences that may require you to take a break for reasons more serious than just wanting to feel a little stoned.
But how do you know when you need a “T-Break” and how long it should be?
The science behind a tolerance break
Taking a break from weed is usually something people do quite naturally, especially recreational people – work or life gets in the way, and pretty soon it will be weeks or months since you last lit up. Heavy or habitual users have a harder time confronting the T-Break, but Peter Grinspoon, a physician and author of the forthcoming book Seeing through the smoke: A cannabis specialist unravels the truth about marijuana, thinks it’s worth considering.
Grinspoon, who is a medical teacher and cannabis specialist at Harvard School of Medicine, recommends that people who want to reset their tolerance levels avoid cannabis on a regular basis. “If you use cannabis heavily and daily,” he said via email, “[the] natural cannabinoid receptors in your brain “down-regulate” and become rarer.”
The good news: Aside from a few ground-level ailments, cannabis is not chemically addictive. The bad news: A weed “detox” can produce some noticeable, albeit temporary, changes for those used to a regular intake of external cannabinoids. “For some people [a T-break] can be mild and manageable, nothing like opioid withdrawal at all,” Grinspoon said. “For others it is quite uncomfortable [and] affects mood, sleep and appetite.”
That’s because, he explained, “when you stop using cannabis, your natural endocannabinoids have fewer receptors to work with, which is why you feel grumpy and have trouble eating and sleeping.” A tolerance break, even if it only lasts two weeks, allows these receptors to repair themselves, allowing your brain to function healthily without the extra THC.”
How long should a weed tolerance break last?
While you think a tolerance break is a good idea, you may be concerned about stopping cannabis use for too long if you rely on it for health or medical reasons. You have some flexibility in that regard: the duration and “rules” of a T-break are up to you, according to cannabis educator Danielle Olivarez, founder of Highlights oasisa community for mindful cannabis use and education.
“T-breaks are personal,” Olivarez said. “[It] can be 30 days or three, it’s up to you and your needs and goals. Everyone’s reason to take one is [personal]and in my experience [it will be] most appreciated when you understand your own “why.”
If your “why” is to wait for all traces of cannabis to completely leave your body, here’s the science: According to HealthlineCannabis can be detected in the body for up to 30 days in occasional users – but this period can extend to several months in heavy users. What does this mean for your T-Break? According to the University of Vermont, if you use regularly, You should abstain for at least 21 days.
Tips for a successful tolerance break
T-breaks can be tough, but members of the cannabis community have some tips to help you make it to the finish line.
To take your mind off your cravings, Oliviarez recommends keeping busy. “Reconnect with old hobbies or activities [that] you love to do it, but you never make time for it,” she said, adding that exercise, breathwork, and meditation are also great ways to channel your nervous energy.
If you need even more techniques to extend your tolerance break, the University of Vermont has created one Wellness Guide with the following tips:
- Stay busy to distract yourself from the fact that you are not consuming.
- Establish a consistent sleep routine if you’ve used cannabis to help you fall asleep.
- Plan your meals after using cannabis to stimulate your appetite.
- Distract yourself when you have cravings by staying physically active.
- Celebrate your victories—even if your break isn’t as long as you’d hoped.
Check out the full guide linked above for more helpful advice on mindfulness and dealing with the emotional fallout of a T-Break, from anxiety to loneliness to anxiety.
Avoid developing a high tolerance in the first place
If you really love your late night hit or gummy bear and never want to face a T-break, or if you’re a medical user and dependent on cannabis for health reasons, there are ways to avoid developing a high tolerance in the first place .
according to dr Grinspoon, consistently avoiding overconsumption is a great start. “Scale down your use a little, and over time you may see some of the impact [of THC] return [without taking a break],” he said. “Bombarding your increasingly scarce cannabinoid receptors with more and more THC is a rabbit hole to avoid.”