The main downside to smoking cannabis daily is developing a tolerance, which means you’ll need more of it to feel the same effect and/or the effects will be weaker.
Is it possible to avoid the buildup of tolerance? Or is there a way to consume cannabis so that its effects are maximized each time?
It is possible. In this article, we discuss a few ways you can reduce the tolerance you develop from consuming marijuana every day. If you only smoke occasionally, don’t worry – unless you’ve been smoking daily for at least a month or two, it’s unlikely that tolerance will be an issue. However, if you use marijuana regularly for medical purposes, this might be something worth paying attention to.
Can’t I Just Quit Cannabis for a Week to Get Rid of My Tolerance?
If you want to break the effects of tolerance, it’s best to go cold turkey and abstain from cannabis for a given amount of time. Most people who use cannabis frequently (smoking up to a gram or more per day) will notice a significant decrease in tolerance if they stop using it for one week at a time.
Though this is easier said than done, what about medical users? They depend on cannabis daily for conditions like pain, anxiety, and depression. Consequently, they can’t afford to quit abruptly for extended periods of time even if they wanted to.
How can cannabis users maintain a low tolerance and still reap all of the medical benefits if they use it multiple times a day?
It seems that the answer may have to do with different cannabinoids present in each strain, and how those molecules interact with your body. If you understand this basic concept, you might be able to switch strains at strategic times so that your internal cannabinoid receptors are affected positively. Knowing which receptors to target and when to change strains could prove crucial in preventing tolerance from developing.
Understanding the Difference Between CBD and THC-Dominant Cannabis Strains
Although CBD is commonly known for its ability to provide therapeutic health benefits, THC shouldn’t be forgotten either because it also has many medical uses. Both cannabinoids can offer relief from pain and appetite issues as well as cognitive problems such as anxiety and depression.
In other words, if you regularly switch between THC- and CBD-heavy strains, you might be able to avoid developing a high tolerance for marijuana. The science behind this potential solution lies in the way that cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
For example, when THC enters the bloodstream, it interacts with CB-1 receptors in the brain. These receptors are only attracted to certain shapes and forms of THC molecules. The function happens when THC bind itself onto physical sites on top of the receptor. Over time though, too much THC causes “receptor fatigue.” This is because the body’s endocannabinoid system becomes used to the high level of overload and creates fewer CB-1 receptors to be available.
When you’re high, it may feel good, but it’s not something that your body is used to.
Homeostasis is our body’s way of maintaining internal continuity, and when we overload the central nervous system with THC, we’re basically causing the brain to work harder to reduce the psychoactive effects of cannabis. In other words, as much as getting high might be enjoyable, our central nervous system doesn’t view it that way – it sees being high as a deviation from homeostasis, and actively works to bring us back down.
CBD operates by both binding to physical sites on endocannabinoid receptors and influencing pathways that are receptor-independent. Additionally, CBD works to stimulate the production and release of new endocannabinoids in the body.
Here is a brief overview of the functional differences between THC and CBD:
- THC increases your high by binding to receptor molecules in the central nervous system.
- The CNS (central nervous system) responds to THC by making fewer receptors available.
- By stimulating the production of new endocannabinoids, CBD is effective.
In other words, cannabis users may be able to swap between THC and CBD in order to give their body’s ECS a break and avoid developing a tolerance to THC.
But how do you “swap” between THC and CBD, you might be wondering?
If you reside in a state where medical or recreational cannabis is legal, you should be able to find CBD-dominant strains of high quality at a local dispensary. Since these strains are rich in CBD and low in THC, they may enable the ECS system within your body to produce more CB1 receptors both when CBD is present and not. Then, once you revert back to using a strain with higher levels of THC, the newfound abundance of receptors will (potentially) intensify the psychoactive effects—as well as any medicinal benefits—that are experienced.
Please keep in mind that there is no scientific evidence currently available to support this claim. Although rotated use of high-CBD and high-THC strains might help prevent the development of tolerance to THC, we cannot be sure from a clinical standpoint.
ow Do You Know When to Switch From THC to CBD-dominant strains?
A key question is how to identify when it’s time to switch from a THC-dominant cannabis strain to one that is CBD-dominant (or vice versa). Also, once you’ve made the decision to switch, another issue becomes deciding for how long to stick with each type of plant.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any definitive answers to either one of these questions. Cycling between THC and CBD can be a personal and individualistic process; it requires an exquisite ability to listen to the body and be keen on the changes and effects that take place within.
For example, one person may take four or six months to become tolerant to a certain THC-dominant strain, while another person might develop a tolerance in only two weeks. This all comes down to individual biochemistry – we all respond differently to substances. We need to be able check in with our bodies and see how they change so that we can eliminate any negative reactions.
In short, you’ll want to identify the precise moment when you start developing tolerance to a particular strain. As soon as you notice that it is taking more of the same strain to produce the desired effect, switch to a CBD-dominant strain.
How Do I Know Whether My Weed is THC or CBD-Dominant?
Unless you buy from a dispensary that provides cannabinoid profiles, you likely won’t know the answer to this question.
You can easily access and pick between strains of THC and CBD-dominant cannabis from a dispensary, depending on which ratio you want. For instance, if you want to medicate with a THC-dominant strain, Sour Diesel has up to 20% THCa and less than 1% CBDa. Or, if you would prefer ACDC—a CBD- dominant strain—it has up to 24% CBDa and less than 1% THC.
You don’t have to make a drastic change to improve your cannabinoid intake. Sometimes, just shifting the focus of cannabinoids can help reduce tolerance.
For instance, you might see better results if you switch from a 17% THC/4% CBD strain to a 12% CBD/7% THC strain. Ultimately, it depends on your individual biochemistry and how well you can listen to and respond to your body’s signals. Of course, this process takes time, patience, and focus.
Lastly, I must remind readers that none of the information in this article should be taken as medical advice.
It’s essential to remember that the cannabis industry is still very new, without many standardized guidelines surrounding dosing or cannabinoid profiles.
Whenever possible, speak with a physician or healthcare professional, and if you live in a medical state, make sure to get an official MMJ card. This way, you can take advantage of new resources as they develop. Always keep in mind that not everyone will have the same experiences or effects from different cannabis strains—be sure to do your own research too.