How and when to take a tolerance break

Our bodies are constantly creating chemical reactions in response to the food we eat, our environment, and our feelings. While the body loves to live in a state of balance (homeostasis), sometimes that means we begin to develop tolerances to things we use daily. This includes everyday products like caffeine but also alcohol and cannabis as well. Just like with caffeine, we might not realize we’ve built up a tolerance to cannabis until you find yourself loading up more bowls or hitting your cart more often than before. Our brains adjust to THC just like anything else, and you will simply need more to get the same effect. 

The good news is that this can be fixed by taking a “tolerance break” every once in a while. This is a time to step away from cannabis and allow your THC receptors to normalize again, which should increase your sensitivity to THC products and allow you to reset the amount you need for the same high. 

Let’s take a look at tolerance breaks and how best to use them to improve your relationship with cannabis. 

What does a tolerance break mean? 

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple matter of cutting back on the amount of cannabis you use. While going from 10 hits a day to 5 will eventually help improve your sensitivity, it will take an excruciatingly long amount of time and you will spend all of that time getting less high than you want. In order to fully utilize a tolerance break, you need to go cold turkey, completely stopping cannabis use for an extended period of time. 

How long is that period of time? Well, it’s highly dependent on how much you use, how often, and by which means you consume cannabis. There hasn’t been much scientific study on this particular phenomenon, so we have to rely on self-reported data. 

If you use regularly throughout the day with a large amount of cannabis each time, you’ll probably need a few weeks of zero cannabis to reset your system. This can be pretty unpleasant for many people as cannabis withdrawal can cause mood swings, irritability, and many other negative effects. 

It is, of course, easier to maintain this break when there’s no alternative. If you’re applying for a job or getting an interview and they have a zero-tolerance policy, you’ll want to take a long enough break anyway in order to pass your drug test. This can make the quitting time much more bearable. The same thing can be said for when you simply don’t have access to cannabis for one reason or another. 

Additionally, some people report that if they go from using smoked or vaped cannabis to edibles for a time (or vice-versa), they have improved sensitivity after a few weeks when going back to their preferred method of cannabis consumption. This allows them to still get high but in a slightly different way. 

Preparing for a tolerance break 

The main thing to be considerate of is how you’ll react to a t-break. Though again, cannabis withdrawal is largely psychological, it doesn’t make it any better for high-dose users. You could experience: 

  • Mood swings 
  • Irritability 
  • Headaches 
  • Fatigue 
  • Brain fog 
  • Nausea or diarrhea  
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Depression or anxiety 

Plan for these accordingly – let your loved ones know that you’re taking a break and understand that they might annoy you more during this time. It’s on you to be more mindful of how you’ll react to them, and give them space. Additionally, find a way to occupy yourself during times when you would normally use cannabis, and that will help distract you from feelings of withdrawal. 

Give your cannabis and all of your equipment to someone you can trust to hold for you until the break is done, if necessary. This way you’re not tempted to use even a small amount. 

Learn a new hobby or lean into an old one, as these provide dopamine and serotonin hits that can keep your brain happy while you experience feelings of withdrawal. Exercise is another good way to improve mood and keep you happy during this tolerance break. 

Keeping your tolerance low 

There are ways to prevent this growing tolerance and they’re actually really simple: 

  • Try using a cart for exact dosages, which can help you prevent using too much. Smoking out of a bowl or a rig is fun and it can be tempting to keep hitting them, often just from social cues. If you’re using a cart, you’ll get the same dose with each hit, and this can be very helpful to monitoring your usage and recognizing when you start to need more. 
  • Only use cannabis at certain times or in certain situations. For instance, if you find you’re extremely creative when you’re using cannabis, only use it when you have clear time to write, draw, paint, or make music, rather than all day, every day. Keep your dose in check with HTFSE carts Especially if you’re used to using dabs or flower in unspecified amounts, a cartridge can help you keep your doses in check. DabsLabs offers a line of some of the finest quality high-terpene, full-spectrum cartridges available. We craft our products in small batches, with zero additives or cutting chemicals, so you get the most aromatic, flavorful cannabis products in precise doses with discrete, easy-to-use carts.