Is your weed not giving you the same high it used to? Are you a long time or heavy user who just isn’t getting what you used to out of partaking in marijuana? Chances are when you first started consuming marijuana it had pretty strong and noticeable effects on you. But after using it for a while – and definitely for those who have smoked for decades – you just don’t get as high or the positive medical effects could be declining. This means your body is building up a tolerance. Even if you aren’t yet experiencing the declining effects of weed on you, there are steps you can take to keep your body’s tolerance in check.
How marijuana tolerance works
Marijuana interacts with the brain through the endocannabinoid system, namely through the CB1 receptors on the surface of our brain cells. This particular receptor binds with the THC in marijuana and is – in a nutshell – what makes you high. The more marijuana you use, the more the CB1 receptors are activated until a point where the brain puts on the brakes and reduces the CB1 activity. This is marijuana tolerance.
Unlike overusing illegal drugs or alcohol, consuming marijuana doesn’t kill brain cells or hamper the connections between them. Instead, continual or heavy usage of marijuana increases the CB1 receptors’ activity until the brain signals the endocannabinoid system to decrease the CB1 receptors’ response to the THC and even removing some of the receptors from the cells’ surfaces. This is why taking more marijuana might work in the short term, but over time even more marijuana won’t do the trick.
THC isn’t actually what gets you high – it’s the CB1 receptor’s response to the THC. So if the activity and number of receptors is decreased, then so is the response to the THC. Taking more marijuana will likely lead to a point of saturation, where a reset of the endocannabinoid system needs to take place.
Resetting the endocannabinoid system
Again, unlike other drugs and alcohol which can permanently damage or destroy parts of the cell, their connectors, and even other parts of the body, the endocannabinoid system can be reset and will bounce back fairly quickly to lower a user’s tolerance.
Taking a T-break
Taking a marijuana tolerance break is the quick and most effective way to lower your tolerance, especially for heavy users. Once the THC levels have decreased, the brain will signal for the CB1 receptors to resume regular activity, meaning their regular response to THC and other cannabinoids. This can happen in as little as 2-3 days and the longer you take a break, the greater the reset will be. If you can’t break for a long time, perhaps try shorter, more frequent breaks.
The ideal time for a t-break is 3+ weeks. If this is not possible, there are other things you can do to reduce tolerance, and for newer users even help mitigate tolerance before it starts developing.
Change the strain of weed you are using
For recreational users, changing the strain of weed you are taking can revitalize the feeling from weed. This means switching from indica-dominant products to sativa-dominant products, or vice versa. Some sativa-dedicated users have even reported that switching strains gave them an overall boost in feeling without the mellowed-out, more lethargic feelings they had previously associated with indica.
For medical users, be sure to consult with your medical marijuana caregiver or dispensary budtender if you are planning to switch up strains. You don’t want to introduce an unwanted effect that might have nothing to do with the condition you are trying to treat.
Change delivery method
Do you usually smoke marijuana? Maybe try edibles. Do you vape? Maybe try tinctures. Changing the way the cannabinoids are absorbed by your body can change the way your body reacts to it. Each delivery method is absorbed through a bodily system: smoking through the respiratory system; edibles and drinkables through the digestive system; tinctures – if taken sublingually – are absorbed through the oral cavity and delivered almost immediately to the bloodstream.
If you’ve primarily smoked or vaped, maybe try another marijuana product that utilizes a different bodily system to make its way to your bloodstream. Check out our product offering to see the different types of products available; ask one of our budtenders what they think and about their experiences. They are there to help!
Controlling the usage
Even if you can tolerate extremely high doses of marijuana, try cutting back to allow your endocannabinoid system to reset a bit. If you are a “wake ‘n bake” user, then try not smoking in the morning and go for a brisk walk instead. If you’re used to smoking a big fatty, try cutting your king-sized papers in half and rolling smaller, more pencil-like joints. Or opt for a one-hitter to help lower the amount of weed that you smoke at a time.
Longtime recreational users might feel like they have to get “rip-roaring stoned” each time they smoke, but taking a step back with awareness along with usage can have even the heaviest of users enjoying more with less weed.
And as always
A healthy diet and lifestyle along with plenty of rest and water are keys to just about everything in life – keeping your marijuana tolerance in check included. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and raw foods to keep all your bodily systems working well. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated – then drink a couple of glasses more. Exercise keeps the heart-healthy which keeps your blood flowing which delivers everything to your body. It also keeps stress levels at a minimum, which is also helpful for controlling your marijuana tolerance level.
The cleaner and healthier your body is the better feeling you will have from your marijuana usage as well as everything in your life. You may never get back to the super-low tolerance level you had when you first started consuming marijuana but with these steps taken from time to time you can keep a constant tolerance level that will give you the feeling and benefits from weed that you are seeking.