Marijuana Tolerance, Withdrawal Symptoms, and 5 Tips to Take a T-Break

August 04, 2021

Remember the first time you were high? It felt like nothing else before it, but maybe as you’ve grown as a smoker, you’ve noticed that you need more and more weed to feel high. If that’s the case, most stoners recommend a tolerance break--it’s not necessarily much fun, but it can help you to use less cannabis while still enjoying your highs. 

If it's hard for you to get properly high without consuming a gram or two, or dabbing, that means it's about time to take your tolerance break (or t-break). Without taking a t-break, smoking can get expensive, not to mention bad for your health and well-being. Taking a break can be helpful to analyze your relationship with marijuana, why you smoke it, and what the correct daily dose is for you. A wise man once said, “the key to enjoying without abusing the herb is to enjoy being sober, too.”

In this blog piece we will be covering the following topics/questions:

  • How Does Cannabis Tolerance Work in Terms of Neurology?
  • Why Take a Tolerance Break?
  • What Are Some Common T-Break Symptoms?
  • What's The Optimal T-Break Length? (Includes A T-Break Duration Chart)
  • 5 Helpful T-Break Tips
  • How To Get Over a Sleepless Night

Related article: Fight your High Tolerance Without Taking a Break

One quick note: I found it very useful to get a vaporizer after you're done with your weed tolerance break. There is a difference between a vaping-high and a smoking-high, and after the t-break, your lungs will be semi-clean from the toxins that come from smoking real bud. Starting again with a vaporizer is safer, not to mention cleaner for your lungs.

Related article: How to Choose a Vaporizer: Vaporizer high or Smoking high?

How Does Cannabis Tolerance Work in Terms of Neurology?

A recently published study on marijuana suggests that cannabis can change how our brains produce and release dopamine. The research only describes the effects on people who were treated as "dependent on cannabis" after using marijuana daily for many years. As you probably know, marijuana tolerance can be a problem even for someone who recently started smoking regularly. But, since marijuana isn’t exactly legal everywhere, there aren’t a lot of studies on it… yet. With more legalization will come more numerous, proficient, and reliable research projects (so if legalization is on the ballot in your home state next election year… you know how to vote!).

What we do know, however, is how to deal with increased tolerance. The best way to lower your tolerance and regain the ability to get incredibly high is having t-breaks. It is a known method, it works for everyone, and it does not require buying any detox sets or taking a day off work. The only action that needs to be taken by you to begin your t-break is to stop consuming cannabis. I know it’s easier said than done, but it is possible!

Why Take a Tolerance Break?

Regular smokers probably don’t want to see the value in reducing their cannabis intake. To some cannabis smokers, it is their daily medicine. There’s more than one reason why a cannabis consumer might want or even need to take a t-break, including the following:

  1. Lowering cannabinoids threshold. With a lower cannabinoid threshold, you can get a stronger high on less product. This will help your wallet out, too, since we all know weed can be pricey. 

Related article: The ultimate guide on how long a high can last

  1. Professional reasons. People looking for a new job might want to get THC out of their systems, especially if they face mandatory drug testing, such as one performed by MedSignals. The process of flushing THC out of your system naturally may take some time, especially for frequent smokers and people who participate in vaping THC concentrates, so your t-break might have to be pretty lengthy (see the chart below).

Related article: How to Pass a Drug Test for Marijuana?

  1. Court orders, probation, or other legal issues. These are some other (arguably less fun) reasons that you might need to take a t-break. If you plan to travel to places where cannabis is hard to find, or prohibited (like in Thailand, for example), you’re going to have to take a t-break whether you like it or not. Remember, just because you are from somewhere that allows recreational or medical cannabis use does not mean it is permitted everywhere. 
  2. Saving money. I'm a frugal person by nature (I inherited this from my dad) but I like to smoke weed. Although I smoke every day, I manage to smoke only about 3 grams a month, and I want to keep it this way. Don't let your cannabis lifestyle take over your finances--if anything, it should be treated as a hobby and not a utility.

Above all, a t-break offers you and other consumers a new outlook on this healing plant. This shift in perspective will help serve as a reminder that cannabis is an enhancement to life’s adventures, not the adventure itself. With a clear head, consumers can gain, or regain, respect for the power that this plant holds. Once you resume consumption and the familiar effects of euphoria, creativity, and general wellness return, you’ll appreciate this amazing plant even more.

How Long Should Your T-Break Be?

I know exactly what you're looking for: a tolerance break calculator. You want to know the exact time that you need to get your tolerance back, and I don’t blame you. The perfect length of a tolerance break is one of the most discussed problems in the cannabis community. 

There are two prominent methods people use to determine whether or not THC is still in their system. Some try to calculate it based on a THC half-life chart, which is not an accurate way to figure your residual THC levels. Others use store-bought drug tests to determine if they can pass it--an expensive and unreliable method. Just because you pass a drug test does not necessarily mean that you have removed all of the THC from your body. It could still be stored in your fat cells, but not show up on a test that may have a high threshold. Not all tests are created equal, especially not ones that you buy and perform yourself.

There is no scientifically proven algorithm for determining the right tolerance break length (sorry!). With your own unique metabolism, lifestyle, body composition, and possible dependence on marijuana, your THC levels are as individual as your fingerprint. If there is ever a scientific algorithm created, I assure you, there will be dozens of apps that will calculate your t-break and motivate you through it, and I would be the first to download one.

But since there isn’t a handy-dancy t-break app, we have to rely on personal experience and friendly advice, be it from a stoner friend or the internet. You may take a one-day t-break, two-day t-break, four days, one week, a month, maybe even a year--it all depends on what you need.

With that being said, based on my personal observations and my fellow stoner’s anecdotes, I created this chart. Your feedback is highly appreciated.


And after you're done with your t-break, we’d love your help with making this chart more accurate! We’d appreciate your insight in the comment section below by answering the following questions:

  • What's your average daily consumption BEFORE the t-break?
  • How long was your t-break?
  • What's your average daily consumption AFTER the t-break?

    Cannabis Withdrawal Symptoms

    Withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, based on that individual's level of dependency and personality. A smoker with mild dependency may experience mild physical and psychological discomfort, such as headaches or restlessness.

    However, smokers with severe dependency on cannabis may experience intense withdrawal symptoms, including sweating, a low-grade fever, chills, and even hallucinations. Although cannabis is a plant, it can take a toll on your mind and body if abused over time, just like any other substance. Making your body dependent on a substance avidly and then taking it is always going to throw your body out of whack, but it’s important that you take t-breaks to assess your dependency. 

    Here are the most common cannabis withdrawal symptoms that you may or may not experience, depending on how often you smoke:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Mood changes
    • Irritability and boredom
    • Headaches
    • Stomach pains
    • Loss of appetite
    • Nausea
    • Vivid dreams, not necessarily nightmares (they can even be fun!)
    • Insomnia

    If you are used to smoking before bedtime, you may experience some difficulties with going to sleep. This is because THC helps the body to release melatonin, aka our sleep hormone. Insomnia is usually mild enough to be treated with an OTC sleep aid product from your local drugstore. I’ve found that a 2-mg over-the-counter melatonin vitamin helps, especially when paired with a relaxing, guided meditation. 

    I know, at this point, you find yourself shaking your head. You’re probably thinking, ‘that's going to suck! Where’s the upside?’

    Don’t stress--many of us have accomplished this milestone, and so can you. Take a break completely, or just slow down on your intake significantly! Drink a lot of water, workout, eat healthy, and stay busy. Your receptors are going to scream at you a couple of times a day, wondering where the weed is, but you will come out of your t-break stronger and ready to get back to your "old" favorite habit.

    Related article: 9 Tips to Fight your High Marijuana Tolerance Without Taking a T-Break

    5 Helpful t-break Tips

    The t-break tips below will definitely help you--they certainly helped me! Whether you will get close to reliving that first high experience or not is dependent on how long your t-break will be. The proper length varies from person to person, although there is that handy chart if you scroll up. There are hundreds of strains of marijuana out there, so each high has the potential to be totally unique. Also, since the effects of marijuana will differ from person to person, the side effects you get from a t-break will be unique, too. Here are some helpful tips to get you through it:

    1. Track and gradually wean yourself off. Track your consumption behavior, and don’t go cold turkey! Keep track of your marijuana consumption so that when it’s time to take a break, you know how to gradually wean yourself off. There is no reason to cold-turkey it, since it’ll just make for a crappy experience and might not work. Cut your consumption in half a few times, over a couple of weeks, before you start your cannabis break.
    2. Put your glass away. This one is pretty self-explanatory--give your glass or vaporizer to one of your friends to hold on to during the duration of your break. Make it a challenge for you to smoke, since having your devices easily accessible will be tempting. We want to believe we are strong, but in, the beginning it can be hard to resist temptation. Out of sight, out of mind!
    3. Stay busy and get off your couch. Experience sober life again--it’s not as bad as you think. Here are some suggestions for you:
    • Go to the gym.
    • Hang out with interesting individuals, family, or friends. I can't emphasize "interesting individuals," enough. Someone boring will make you itch for a smoke. Remember, one of the main withdrawal symptoms is boredom and irritability, so hang out with interesting people that you genuinely enjoy.
    • Go on a refreshing hike and meditate in nature. 
    • Invest more time into work-related projects (this is my favorite way to stay busy).
    • If you want to stay at home and keep yourself busy, that’s fine. Read a thrilling book or watch an interesting documentary, or even better, one of those mind-bending psychological movies that you have to watch twice to truly understand. Discover a complicated and deep movie or TV show that you wouldn't be able to follow when you’re high, and enjoy it.
    • Pick an inviting book or a challenging video game, start a personal creative project, or an educational online course - something that will keep you distracted from not using cannabis.
    • And finally, a very important tolerance break tip: go to bed early and wake up early. Don't submit to those free couple of hours you have in the evening when you used to smoke weed--just go to bed!

    Beware… Be smart about what you will substitute your regular everyday high session activities with. When you start taking your tolerance break, for many people it can be easy to substitute one vice with another. Stay away from alcohol or running to your fridge every few minutes to snack out of boredom.

    1. Exercise! Of course, exercise is the best possible pastime. It’s a great routine to have in general, not just when you’re trying to wean yourself off of weed, but your t-break is a great way to either ramp up your workouts, or start visiting the gym for the first time. It has been shown that intense cardio workouts will flush excess THC out of your system by boosting your body's metabolic rate. Jogging, hiking, biking, and physically intense sports are great ways to keep you in shape while you cleanse your system. 

    Unless, you’re like me, and prefer to exercise high. Please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions on how to get over this--I just don’t enjoy my workouts as much when I’m sober. I just try to remember: the more fat you lose, the more THC that goes with it!

    1. Enjoy other herbs… Kratom, for instance. Advocates say the natural growing herb, kratom, offers relief from pain, depression, and anxiety. Scientists say it may hold the key to treating chronic pain and may even be a tool to combat addiction to opioid medications. It is legal in the United States, coming in tea, powder, and capsules.

    Also, look into smoking/consuming CBD oil. CBD oil is a non-psychoactive and non-addictive substance that can help you relax, which makes it great if your t-break is making you moody.

    One last thing, some dietary advice. There's a lot of fruits that help your body metabolize the THC stored in your fat, as well as foods that may cause it to take longer. For instance, blueberries and cranberries are great due to their antioxidants, on the other hand, milk is bad because it has a good bit of fattiness, which THC can bind to.

    Related article: Epilepsy and CBD: How the Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid Helps Patients

    How to get over the sleepless night

    The way a dream hits so vividly is my absolute favorite part of being on a tolerance break. Sometimes I write them down, and I even embrace the nightmares. On the other hand, when it comes to sleeping, one of the main symptoms a stoner suffers from when she or he starts a t-break is insomnia.

    There are lots of ways to get some rest when taking a t-break. Most people reach for the melatonin gummies right away, but I recommend trying these tactics first:

    1. Stop thinking--you control what goes or doesn’t go through your mind. I know, easier said than done, which is why I recommend guided meditations as an introduction to the practice. I have found meditation before bed can be very helpful to put me in a relaxing, sleepy mode. I know it's hard, but it definitely helps to take your mind off your craving. I find it best to use a guided meditation that is specifically for sleeping. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, simply meditate again to fall back to sleep.
    • Avoid screens such as TV or your phone. I know it’s nice to watch your favorite show before bed, but that stimulation can actually keep you up.
    • Exercising can help. Try going for a short run or a hike a few hours before bedtime. Endorphins kick the craving and the physical exhaustion will help you sleep.
    • Find your sleeping pattern and stick with it. Go to bed at exactly the same time every evening, and stick with the same number of sleeping hours. Consistency is key! 


      T-breaks can be beneficial to the mind, body, and soul when performed properly. Naturally cleansing your body is going to take time, and your job is to nourish yourself during this process. Be patient and trust that it’ll work--that’s the only way to see results. 

      It’s important to make yourself knowledgeable about your body so that you can know when it's time for a t-break. Remember, this is supposed to be a refreshing and energizing break from THC, so make it just that by following the tips listed above.

      Switch up your strains. Drink water. Take a deep breath, and think about the end result: a high very similar to your first ever. You got this!

      Also, check the Dr Dustin Sulak The Resensitization Process

      Here is a bonus t-break tip, it is crucial to keep your nutrient levels up as well as your water levels, by eating nourishing food and drinking plenty of water