Considering taking a break from cannabis to reset your tolerance?
If so, you’re not alone. Tolerance breaks, or T-breaks, are like a rite of passage in the stoner community. The more experienced you are, the more likely you will have been through one.
For those who haven’t had the need, you probably have some questions. Should I take a tolerance break? Will it help me? Is there any reason I shouldn’t take a tolerance break?
Today we’ll take a deep dive into the world of tolerance breaks: when you should take one, if you should take one, and what’ll happen if you do. Let’s get into it.
Note: The information in this blog post is meant to be taken as a suggestion, and is not a substitute for medical advice. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, seek help from a doctor or trusted healthcare professional.
What is a Tolerance Break?
A tolerance break, or T-break, is when someone temporarily stops using cannabis with the aim of lowering their tolerance. People who do this are usually frequent or longtime cannabis users who have built up their tolerance over time.
After heavy or chronic exposure to cannabinoids, changes occur in the brain. The brain’s cannabinoid receptors, or CB1 receptors, become depleted after heavy exposure to THC. As a result, THC’s effects feel diminished, and more is needed to produce the desired results. This can be reversed though, as it has been seen that your CB1 receptors can recover over time.
Experts state that it takes approximately two to three weeks for THC to leave your system. As such, they suggest taking at least 21 days for your tolerance break. However, this is meant to serve as a guideline. Tolerance depends on a variety of factors and can vary from person to person.
What Will Happen If I Take a Tolerance Break?
For many users, taking a tolerance break will have little to no negative effects. Cannabis is not physically addictive, so lowering your usage is less likely to produce undesirable effects than substances like alcohol and nicotine.
However, cannabis can still be psychologically addictive. Heavy or chronic users can still experience withdrawal symptoms, which experts have termed cannabis withdrawal syndrome. It’s estimated that anywhere between 35% to 75% of users will experience CWS.
For those that experience it, CWS symptoms typically start anywhere from a couple of days to a week into your tolerance break. Symptoms can include nausea, anxiety, insomnia, physical weakness, and intense cravings for cannabis to name a few. Experts commonly compare CWS to symptoms to those of caffeine withdrawal.
Fortunately, these symptoms will pass with time, and are far less serious than those of hard drugs. By the end of your tolerance break, you should be feeling back to normal.
Should I Take a Tolerance Break?
The question of whether or not you should take a tolerance break is contingent on your relationship with cannabis. If you’re just an occasional user who has happened to build a high tolerance, a few weeks off can do you some good.
However, if you’re someone who’s been using cannabis for a long time, especially for medical issues, quitting cannabis cold turkey can put you at risk of developing CWS symptoms. And if you’re just switching between heavy usage and full non-usage, you’ll basically be floating between feeling like you need a T-break and experiencing CWS.
Again, this would call for you to examine your relationship with cannabis. Sometimes, your problems can be remedied simply by moderating your usage. Is your tolerance high because you get high early in the day? Are you using obscene amounts of cannabis every time you get high? If this sounds like you, a cold turkey no-cannabis T-break might be counterintuitive. And if you plan on getting back into cannabis, you’ll likely relapse before your self-imposed time limit ends.
The best move here would be to manage your usage. For many people, tolerance can be greatly diminished overnight. This means that if you simply wait until the end of the day to smoke, you’ll have a much more fulfilling high. This is especially true if you’re someone who uses mostly extracts, which will greatly increase your tolerance if you’re using them at the start of your day. Changing your product type might also help. If you’re a big sativa smoker like me, you might want to consider using indica strains for a while, as their balanced ratios will give your brain a bit of a break.
For those who use cannabis to manage anxiety and other issues, many experts suggest products with a mixed ratio of cannabinoids. These include products with equal parts THC and CBD and those with more CBD. One prime example is the Westcoast Teddies by Mary’s Medicinals, which contain an even ratio of THC and CBD.
And if you’re seriously feeling crummy from CWS, but still want to dodge the THC? CBD is your friend! CBD drops are highly effective against CWS symptoms, and are quite effective against anxiety in general (we’ve talked about this in a recent blog post).
Wanna Learn More?
Done with that T-break? Once you’re feeling refreshed and restored, we’ve got just what you need at the Chronic Haze online store. We offer same-day delivery and curbside pickup in several Ontario cities, with products that’ll make your next high worth the break you took.
If you’re looking to buy cannabis online, visit our store, check out our selection, and sign up for our free loyalty program today!
And if you liked this blog post, check out this one about how cannabis can help with a hangover!