Cannabis is widely used recreationally and medicinally with various psychoactive
and healing effects on the human body. When consumed, it interacts with the
endocannabinoid system which regulates mood, pain perception, and other
physiological processes. However, over time, some individuals may experience a
phenomenon called “cannabis tolerance”, where the body becomes less
responsive to the plant's psychoactive effects. Therefore, you need to consume
more to get the same effect as before.
Cannabis has several immediate effects including euphoria, relaxation, altered
perception, and increased appetite. These effects are primarily attributed to the
interaction of cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), with specific
receptors in the brain. As the frequency of cannabis use increases, the brain's
receptors can become less sensitive to these cannabinoids, leading to reduced
There are several factors that contribute to the development of cannabis
tolerance. First, individual differences in genetics and metabolism play a role.
Additionally, the method of consumption, potency of the product, and frequency
of use can also impact tolerance levels. Long-term cannabis use can lead to the
need for higher doses to achieve the desired effects, which may increase the risk
of adverse reactions and psychological dependency.
Remedies for cannabis tolerance vary and depend on the individual's
circumstances. One approach is to take a tolerance break: refraining from
cannabis use for a period to allow the body's receptors to reset (two weeks is
efficient for most consumers). This can help restore sensitivity to cannabinoids,
reducing the need for higher doses.
Another strategy involves alternating between different strains or product types
(vapes vs edibles vs flower, etc.) with varying cannabinoid profiles – especially
higher CBD. By rotating strains and/or products, individuals may mitigate the
development of tolerance to THC.
Combining cannabis with other substances, such as black pepper (containing
beta-caryophyllene) or lemon (containing limonene), may also enhance the
effects due to their interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
Some high frequency/high tolerance consumers may go through a cannabis
withdrawal when reducing THC consumption (similar to the effect frequent
caffeine drinkers experience when tailoring their consumption). While not
intense, it may feel uncomfortable for a few days.
When taking a break, you may experience mood swings, fatigue, diminished
appetite/nausea, insomnia and headaches. Hydration, rest and exercise are the
first lines of defense to combat any negative effects, and over-the-counter
medications can reduce associated headaches or nausea. The good news is all
these will subside in about 72 hours.
To prevent or minimize cannabis tolerance in the future, just try to use lower-THC
products or increase CBD use – or consume less frequently. THC-CBD ratio edibles
are a great way to keep some THC in your system while balancing and resetting
your receptors. Several brands offer great alternatives to full-THC such as Camino,
CANN, Care By Design and Drops. All of your cannabis experiences should be good
In conclusion, cannabis tolerance is a natural response of the body to prolonged
cannabis use. Understanding the factors that contribute to tolerance can help
individuals use cannabis responsibly. Moderation and responsible consumption
are key to avoiding the negative consequences of tolerance. Taking breaks,
rotating strains and products, and considering complementary substances are
some strategies to manage tolerance effectively.