Is your cannabis just not working as well as it used to? A little less euphoric, a little less inspired, always needing to take just a wee bit more to get back to the same sweet spot?
Don’t worry: it’s not you, it’s not your bud, it’s not poor quality.
You’re likely experiencing something common to many regular cannabis users: tolerance.
How Does Marijuana Tolerance Happen?
Tolerance is a biological phenomenon. Your body likes to keep things in balance, and it has incredibly complex and sensitive means of accomplishing this. With many drugs — pharmaceutical or recreational — your body becomes accustomed to its presence.
It starts noticing that this one chemical seems to be here pretty often, so it reasons that it could safely turn down the sensitivity. The baseline gets reset, that way it can measure and respond to changes in the baseline.
Studies have found the brain does this by down-regulating CB1 receptor — a cannabinoid receptor located primarily in the central and peripheral nervous system — density in the brain. With fewer receptors to be triggered, cannabis has fewer places act on. With fewer buttons to push, the same hit that got you to a great place a month ago does almost nothing with regular, repeated use.
You need more and more and more to elicit the same effect.
And in our age of dabs and ultra-high potency strains, tolerance can set in surprisingly fast.
The Good News
The beauty of our brain is that it responds to changes in both directions. Therefore, if you take a break from cannabis, your sensitivity will return.
That’s right; cannabis tolerance is reversible.
Another study from 2016 found that CB1 receptor density began to recover in as little as two days after cessation from cannabis, continuing to improve after 28 days.
Given that for most users, marijuana only stays in your system no longer than a month, it is conceivable that with even a little more time your tolerance could completely reset back to zero.
3 Surprising Benefits of Taking an Herbal Holiday
- Reconnect with reality. Cannabis is an enhancement; it is a boost, an accent to our experience of life. It is not life itself. While some things may be more pleasurable or more vivid, cannabis is not the experience. Taking a break will put you back in touch with the reality of your experience. You may find you have actually been missing something in the luscious haze of marijuana.
- Less is more. When you reset your tolerance, you can get the same effect with a small amount of weed. This, of course, can be incredibly economical, allowing you to go further with less. It may even make micro-dosing an attractive option, something pretty much meaningless to someone with a strong tolerance.
- Change your habits, change your life. For many of us who love cannabis, it can become ingrained into particular rituals, habits, and patterns of activity. Creative people, for example, may use marijuana to stoke their creative fires and get into the zone. But if you predicate creativity on consuming cannabis, it can become a conditioned experience. Your creativity may end up dependent upon marijuana. Taking a break can shake things up, give you a new perspective, and decondition yourself, all of which will give you more freedom to create the life you want to live.