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What Is A Tolerance Break, And When Should I Take One?

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 large amount of cannabis and joints on a wooden table with text that reads "the art of the tolerance break" "what they are and when to taake one"

What is a 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. 

Why do you build a tolerance to weed? 

Simply put, your body likes to get used to substances 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 powerful 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. 

When to take a tolerance break

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 achieve the same effects, it's time for a tolerance break. All a tolerance break is is a break from weed, so you'll have to stop using it for a few days. 

Ultimately, building a tolerance to weed can be a massive problem for anyone seeking the therapeutic benefits of the plant and a strain on a recreational user's wallet. If you want to get the most potent effects from your bud and save money, aim to take a tolerance break once every 3-6 months. 

How to take a tolerance break

THC sticks to the fat cells in your body, so you'll want to take between 3-7 days off of weed 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. However, there are a few different ways to take a T-break and still feel the same effects. 

Switch up your cannabinoids. 

If you smoke a lot of THC-dominant strains or use THC-dominant edibles or other products, it may benefit you to switch to a different primary cannabinoid. For example, CBN is a degraded form of THC. It's still psychoactive, so it'll make you feel high and sleepy, but it'll give your body a chance to slow down and adapt to the lack of THC, making it possible for THC to hit as hard as it once did. You can do the same thing with CBD, CBC, or CBG— though those won't make you feel high. 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. 

Switch up your products. 

Switching your consumption method is a good way to prevent building a high tolerance to one method. When you introduce cannabinoids into your system in various ways, your body processes them differently based on how you took them. By changing your consumption method, you can keep your metabolism on its toes since your body won't be going through the repeat action of one method. 

Repeat actions cause tolerances to go up in the first place since the body constantly works to promote balance. If you just smoke every day, your body will become efficient at processing cannabinoids this way, making it harder for you to achieve a powerful high. 

However, if you smoke one day, take edibles the next, and use topicals the day after, smoking again on the last day will feel just as potent as it did on the first day. Alternatively, suppose you smoked all of those days in a row. In that case, you'd start to see less potent effects by the end since your body has had the time and experience to learn how to process the substances, increasing your tolerance most effectively. Switching your consumption method prevents forming a high tolerance to one specific consumption method.  

Additionally, you'll feel different kinds of highs when you switch your consumption methods. The body doesn't process all the cannabinoids it's introduced to in the same way. Depending on how you introduced the cannabinoids into your system, your body will react differently. When you smoke cannabis, the THC is metabolized in your lungs and carried through your blood before hitting your brain, causing a high almost instantly. Edibles, on the other hand, have to be processed in the liver before they make it to your bloodstream and brain and cause you to feel high. 

Switch up your 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 concentrations of terpenes and cannabinoids, so trying something different is a great way to get the body to react again. Sometimes, a new product or strain is all you need to feel weed again.

How to prevent building a tolerance to weed

If you can't take a tolerance break for medical reasons (or you just literally don't want to— totally valid), there are a few things you can do to prevent building a tolerance in the first place. All of the tips we mentioned, while you're in the throws of cannabis tolerance troubles, are valid. So switch up your cannabinoids once in a while, try different products, and avoid smoking the same thing every day. 

If possible, it also helps to take smaller doses of edibles or smoke less often. 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. 

Final Thoughts 

Keeping your body on its toes is one of the best ways to avoid having to take a tolerance break, and trying various cannabinoid combos, products, and strains can help make taking a tolerance break feel easier. The good news is that the name of the game here at Flower Ave is variety. If you're tired of smoking the same old stuff day in and day out, explore over 20 strains of flower, concentrates, edibles, and vape pens and get cannabis delivery in Washington, DC. 

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Eddie Owen
Eddie Owen

Wow, glad someone finally wrote on this subject. switching the strains is great advice. Also if you just got to much of a strain, sometimes mixing it with other strains will bring about the desired effects at times even better.

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