Marijuana Tolerance: THC Tolerance Breaks Have Their Advantages
As a regular cannabis consumer since my teenage years, and someone who works in the industry and consistently consumes it for personal use, my tolerance at times is extremely high. Tolerance breaks are an important part of regulating how much THC is required, both for medical benefits and recreational purposes. It has been integrated into and is an important part of many people’s daily routines.
While it can be used responsibly on a regular basis, the fact remains that the effects and experience often tailor off for the heavy medicinal user or experienced cannabis enthusiast.
If your body is clean and clear of cannabis then you can expect THC to hit hard… you don’t even need large quantities of marijuana to feel it. However, as your body acclimates to the chemicals in cannabis, it quickly develops a tolerance to them.
You can fight back against a growing tolerance with higher quantities of cannabis or cannabis products with higher levels of THC such as concentrates or edibles… however, this will ultimately prove to be a losing battle. Not only is it very expensive, but it’s also doomed to fail. Eventually, you will always grow used to the higher quantities you consume, and you’ll be left ever-upping the ante. Fortunately, there are solutions: tolerance breaks can help you get the most out of your weed.
Marijuana Tolerance Levels
Naturally, everyone is going to be a little different. Your experience with cannabis and how you use it should shape how you frame any potential tolerance break. Below, we highlight the different marijuana tolerance levels and give you an idea of how much cannabis you might have to consume at each level to feel the euphoric effects.
Beginner – Very Low Tolerance
People who are venturing into the world of cannabis for the first time usually require very little THC to feel the effects. For some beginners, even a puff or two can get the job done… at Puff, Pass & Paint, and Cannabis Tours, this is probably about 25% of our guests! It is worth mentioning that some people have to experiment with cannabis several times before the THC produces a psychoactive effect. This has nothing to do with tolerance but is rather a combination of poor technique and biology. Once you push through the learning curve, you should find that your tolerance remains in the “very low” stage for about a week, if, during that period, you continue ingesting cannabis regularly.
Some Experience – Low Tolerance
As you begin to acquire some experience with THC you will find that one or two puffs don’t really get the job done anymore. For many people, this is actually a THC “sweet spot”. At this level, you can still have an enjoyable psychoactive experience of relatively modest quantities of cannabis. For these users, a standard serving size (think one normal joint, bowl, etc. of around .3 grams) should be enough to get you feeling pretty darn good.
Experienced – Medium Tolerance
As you drift into the experienced territory, your cannabis habit begins to become a little more difficult to satisfy. You can still enjoy a euphoric experience, but the quantities typically have to be higher. Larger bowls and blunts of between .5-a full gram might do the trick. Experienced users may also consider selecting strains with an above-average potency. The habit becomes more difficult, but at this stage, it’s usually not frustrating yet.
Expert – High Tolerance
Congratulations, you’re an expert! While you probably have a lot of fond (though perhaps somewhat hazy) cannabis memories under your belt, the best THC experiences may feel like they are behind you. Experienced users often take significant, frequent quantities to achieve a euphoric effect. Even with very potent Cannabis, they often have a difficult time getting high.
Chronic use is defined as anyone who ingests 3+ grams a day. This is the equivalent of about six blunts or twelve joints depending on your average serving size.
What Does Having a High Tolerance Mean?
As laid out in the tolerance levels above, having a high marijuana tolerance means you can consume a large amount of cannabis and feel little effect. Some cannabis connoisseurs insist that they still experience the effects and having a high tolerance means you control the high, compared to beginners who tend to “go for a ride”. More scientifically, as you ingest cannabis, THC begins to build up in your body and fat cells. It can remain there in dense concentrations for up to a month—even longer with everyday consumption!
Most users will fall somewhere on the medium to high end of the THC tolerance curve… this is simply for the fact that THC accumulates quickly in your body. Using Cannabis for just one week is enough to build a tolerance. From that point on, you will require more and more THC to feel the relaxing effects.
It’s also worth noting that while THC may filter out of your blood, saliva, and urine relatively quickly, it tends to store in your fat for very long periods of time. This means that unfortunately, it can be very difficult to completely flush your body of cannabis.
Weed Tolerance Break Chart & THC Curve
How you take your tolerance break should depend on the amount of Cannabis you use regularly. For those who are beginners or have minimal experience, a relatively short break, even for only 12 hours, will be good enough. For experienced users, it could be a bit more difficult.
The chart featured here describes how long you should take a break based on the quantity of cannabis that you ingest. However, it’s also important to factor in the potency. .3 grams of very potent cannabis can be much different than that same quantity of a weaker variety.
The following calculator by LA Times here can help you figure out what exactly your body needs to reset to fully feel the effects of this amazing plant.
Tolerance Break Chart
|Average Daily Consumption of Cannabis||Tolerance Break Length of Time|
|0.0 – 0.3 grams a day||12 hours|
|0.3 – 0.6 grams a day||14 Days | 2 Weeks|
|0.6 – 1.2 grams a day||28 Days | 4 Weeks|
|1.2 – 2 grams a day||49 Days | 7 Weeks|
|2+ grams a day||90 Days | 10 Weeks|
The chart above describes high-volume users as anyone who ingests more than three grams of Cannabis daily. For these users, a twelve-week or three-month tolerance break is recommended, yikes!
Individuals who ingest around 1-2 grams daily should break for eight weeks, while half a gram daily users can benefit strongly from holding off for a month.
Individuals who ingest .3-.5 grams daily should take a T-break for three weeks, while people using less than that probably do not require any break at all.
Other Factors For Determining a Tolerance Break
Your metabolism has a significant impact on how your body processes THC. Typically, physically active people who maintain a healthy body weight can reset their tolerance level faster thanks to their heightened metabolism.
While bodyweight itself is not known to contribute either way to the kind of high you experience, you may be able to hasten the speed of your break with a healthy lifestyle.
The 2 Day Tolerance Break
Ah, the two-day tolerance break. After hearing that you might have to abstain for twelve weeks, this option probably sounds too good to be true!
In a way, it kind of is… a two-day tolerance break is not going to dial you back to zero, but while it may not be a fresh start, it does have its advantages.
For one thing, the two-day break is achievable, right?! Regular users may be more likely to commit to this option than one of the longer periods of abstinence. For that same reason, it is also repeatable. You can do this weekly if you wish.
Why is 2 days the minimum you should do for a tolerance break?
So, why 2 days? There is a biological reason for the number. Your brain features sensors called CB1 receptors that help to process cannabis. When someone ingests a lot of THC, these receptors become numb and less effective.
The good news is that they bounce back quickly. After just two days, your CB1 receptors begin to wake back up. While it may be a stretch to say that they are as good as new after this period of time, they will get the job done—especially for people who don’t fall into the “chronic use” category.
While abstinence is all that the 2-day break requires, you can significantly boost the efficacy of the experiment by allowing some lifestyle changes to keep your newfound restraint company.
Q&A on Marijuana Tolerance Breaks with our Cannabis Industry Expert, Heidi Keyes
Should people be taking marijuana tolerance breaks?
There is really no “should or shouldn’t” to how much each individual consumes and if they should abstain from Cannabis at times, we’re not here to shame you. It all depends on how YOU feel in regards to your level of consumption, and if you feel that a break from ingesting would do your body good! According to the Center of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Vermont, “If you use cannabis, at some point you should take a tolerance break. Like anything else, your body builds up a tolerance: you need more to get high. A t-break could help you save money and also keep balance.” Saving money and balance is good!
How often should you take a tolerance break?
There is no single answer to the question “how often should you take a tolerance break?”. Some people like to take micro-breaks in which they abstain for one or two days each week. Other people may opt for “off weeks” in which they rotate throughout the month.
The chart above describes how long it takes to completely reset your tolerance. Naturally, you aren’t going to want to take a twelve-week-long break very often if you can help it… I mean, I wouldn’t want to! These longer breaks can be avoided with regular, lesser periods of abstinence.
Deciding on how often to do a total reset is a personal choice. However, once you find yourself frustrated with your cannabis experience, it may be a good time to step away for a while.
What will you experience during a tolerance break?
A: According to Dr. James Cornell, a General Practitioner, and Naturopath, “it’s always best to start by planning your tolerance break. Some individuals feel strong effects when cutting out THC completely. Make sure you take your T-break when you don’t have too much going on so that you can be mindful of your body and health throughout the process. We recommend doing a T-break on the weekend or when you don’t have too much work to do. The tolerance break itself is simple. Choose a start and end date. And, during that time, do not take any THC-containing cannabis products.”
A T-break might feel stressful and at times not the more pleasant, but that might be an even stronger sign that you truly need to take one!
How do you make a T-break a good experience?
During this time, you should focus on helping your body clear out as much THC as possible. This could mean drinking lots of water to help flush residual THC from your blood and urine.
It should also mean exercising, eating healthy, sleeping well, and just taking care of yourself. As Cannabis drifts ever deeper into the “health and wellness” section of human consideration, it becomes clear that everyone’s favorite plant is more than just a guilty pleasure. When used appropriately, it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. By keeping your body in good shape, you not only prepare it to enjoy Cannabis on a deeper level, but you also help ensure that your habit remains beneficial and sustainable to your overall wellness.
Are there statistics that show how fast your body gets rid of THC?
How long it takes to break down THC depends on how often you use it. For one-time or occasional users, THC may stay in blood, hair, and fat for several days to a couple of weeks. For chronic users, that time frame will be 30+ days.
More Tips on How to Lower Your Weed Tolerance
The benefits of drinking water to lower your tolerance are hotly contested. Historically, high quantities of water have often been used to help people pass drug tests—to very mixed results. There is, however, a degree of truth to the practice. High quantities of water do help you pass THC from your body by way of urine. While chugging a few water bottles before every smoking session probably won’t do anything, getting in the habit of drinking a lot of water every day might make a small difference (and keep you hydrated in the meantime!)
High quantities of water will be most impactful when coupled with a tolerance break. In this scenario, you may be able to shorten the time frame of your t-break by drinking lots of water.
As mentioned above, it’s your metabolism that does much of the leg work when it comes to flushing your body of THC. Those wondering how to lower weed tolerance fast may find success with exercise, particularly of the cardio variety. Regular jogging is a great way to sweat and burn fat—both body functions that help get rid of THC. Plus, it’s good for you! You don’t need to be an expert marathon runner to experience the benefits of a short daily jog in regards to your Cannabis consumption.
Yikes, this can be a scary one! Of course, as this entire article has suggested, the best and most effective way to lower your tolerance is to abstain. If you aren’t interested in taking on weeks or months of abstinence, you can still gradually chip away at your tolerance by taking select days off.
Another way to figure out how to lower weed tolerance is to adopt a healthy diet. Like exercise, healthy eating fires up your metabolism and makes it much easier to burn fat. Lifestyle changes may not produce instant results. However, over time, they will combine to be very impactful!
There are many reasons that someone might wish to avoid abstaining entirely from cannabis. This is particularly true for people who are using it in a medicinal capacity. If a complete tolerance break is not an option, consider weening yourself down to lower doses.
For example, if you usually consume .5 grams a day, consider reducing that number to .3. You can further improve the impact of the weening experience by lessening your doses as well.
This process will be gradual and potentially frustrating. As you lower your potency and dose size, you will likely find that you aren’t achieving the euphoric effects of cannabis at all. However, this will change over time and you’ll succeed in reducing your tolerance.
Like we said earlier, we’re not here to shame you for your cannabis use, as our classes and events see ALL kinds and levels of consumers, and what is right for me may not be right for you, or the next guy! My best recommendation is to listen to your body, and if it’s telling you it needs a little break… listen up!
Appreciate the plant for everything it can do for your physical and mental state, and whether that is daily or occasional consumption is up to what you feel is best.
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