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By Ayad Maher
Marijuana tolerance, something that was good to get when you used to pass out and get paranoid but now is costing you more time, money, and bud to get to your ideal high. Building up a tolerance is easy, you simply consume more cannabis. But what if you want to decrease your tolerance so you can enjoy your medicine more fully again without spending a fortune. Below are some tips to reduce your tolerance and get you closer to that first high that you experienced so long ago.
I said the tips below will get you CLOSER to that first high you experienced. You will most likely never get as high as you first did when you started consuming, especially if you are a regular smoker. The biggest reason for that is marijuana is a natural and native plant to our soil, unlike pharmaceuticals. Therefore it's not going to have the same effects on you every time. Also, the effects will differ from person to person, as will tolerance and tolerance breaks.
Damn you, marijuana tolerance!! (Check out the video below too).
Most likely we have all heard many myths about different methods stoners can use to lower their tolerance level and improve their high. Based on my observation, which is not based on any scientific study, the only one that worked for me so far is eating mango. Another unproven way, but one that works for some, is to increase the intensity of my workouts while drinking as much water as possible. This is because the THC is stored in your body fat and removing as much of that as possible can lead to a better high. I know people who claim their tolerance has not gone up as quickly due to their intense and regular workout schedule. That being said, there's only one proven scientific way, consuming more Omega-3. The online magazine, Civilized, has reported that researchers found that a lack of Omega-3 fats in a person's body lowers the medical effects of cannabis. Without Omega-3 fats, the receptors in a person's brain that absorb the compounds (cannabinoids such as THC and CBD) in cannabis won’t function properly. Therefore, a lack of Omega-3 fats means a person won't receive the full effects from marijuana.
Although American diet is not high on Omega-3 (mainly Omega-6 fat), the good news is that you can get Omega-3 from many sources such as fish oil, flax seeds, ground up hemp seeds and more.
Other than controlling your tolerance to cannabinoid, even if you weren't a cannabis user and you don't care about your marijuana tolerance, increasing your Omega-3 intake is still a great idea to improve overall brain health. Check those 17 science-based benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids.
A recently published study suggests that the symptoms we experience may be determined by the change in our brain’s ability to release dopamine. The research only describes the reaction of heavy or frequent users, 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, of course, there is next to no research on this matter. Not yet, anyway. With more legalization comes more and better research.
The good news is that we know how to deal with cannabis tolerance. The best way to lower your cannabis tolerance and regain the ability to get incredibly high is having marijuana tolerance breaks, also known as t-breaks. It is a well-known method, it works for everyone, and it does not require buying expensive detox sets or taking a day off work.
The only action that needs to be taken by you to begin your tolerance break is to stop consuming cannabis altogether. For some of us, like myself, it will be more of a challenge as a long-term and frequent smoker; it can be a habit and it can be your medicine that you don’t want to go without.
Regular smokers won't see value with reducing their cannabis intake. To some cannabis smokers, it is their daily medicine. There is more than one reason why a cannabis consumer might want, or sometimes need to take a tolerance break, t-break, from marijuana.
1. Lowering cannabinoids threshold. For the same reason we talked about earlier, regaining the ability to obtain a high easier and with using less plant material thus saving money and getting more out of your smoking sessions.
2. Professional reasons. For those who are looking for new jobs might want to get THC out of their systems as they face a mandatory drug testing. The process of flushing the THC out of your system naturally may take some time especially for frequent smokers and people who participate in vaping THC concentrates.
3. Court orders, probation, and other legal issues. These are other reasons to take a tolerance break, obviously not for marijuana tolerance reasons. If you were traveling in places where cannabis is hard to find, or sometimes extremely prohibited (like in Thailand), you’re gonna have to take this tolerance 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.
4. Saving money. I'm a frugal person by nature, but I like to smoke weed every day, especially when I work out. I only consume an ounce every 6 months and I want to keep it this way. I think more than that would be extravagant. This is just me, and each one of us has different standards. Don't let smoking weed take over your finances, if anything it should be treated as a hobby and not a utility. I have a friend who smokes a quarter of an ounce every six months, usually having a smoke session a couple of times a month, and only when he feels he needs it for stress. That works for him and his situation and he will have a much easier time with lowering his tolerance than a regular smoker such as myself.
Above all, a marijuana tolerance break offers you and other consumers a new outlook on the 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. Especially, once you resume consumption and the familiar effects of euphoria, creativity, and general wellness return with full force.
The perfect length of a tolerance break is one of the most discussed problems on 420-themed forums. There are two prominent methods people use to determine whether or not THC is still in their system. Some try to calculate it basing on a THC half-life chart, which is not an accurate way to figure your residual THC levels. Others use 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 of what a positive test would be.
Unfortunately, there is no scientifically-proven algorithm for determining a right tolerance break length for you. With your metabolism, your lifestyle, your body disposition, and your psychological dependence on marijuana, your THC levels are as unique and diverse as your fingerprint, there are no two identical. 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. I will download one myself.
For now, we have to rely on our personal experience and on friendly advice we receive. I have taken one-day t-breaks, two days t-breaks, four days, one week, two weeks, a month, a year - yes, I really did it. In fact, the friend I mentioned earlier went almost 5 years without consuming! Counting days is not the best idea - you will feel miserable and have a higher possibility of failing the entire t-break.
The best thing to do is to keep yourself busy and distracted. It is crucial to keep your nutrient levels up as well as your H2O levels, by eating nourishing food and drinking plenty of water. 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. Also if your friends are still active smokers try not to hang out with them at their house where they might feel more inclined to smoke in front of you.
Withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person, based on that individual's level of dependency and their 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, fever, chills, and hallucinations. Although cannabis is a plant, it can take a toll on your mind and body if abused over time. Just like with any other substance. Making your body dependent on a substance avidly and then taking away the substance is always going to throw your body out of whack.
The most common cannabis withdrawal symptoms include:
If you are used to toking before bedtime, you may experience some difficulties with going to sleep. As THC helps our body to release melatonin, a 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 sometimes helps.
I know, at this point, you find yourself shaking your head. Thinking, that's gonna suck! The upside? 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 couple of times a day, but you will come out on the other side stronger and ready to get back to your "old" favorite habit.
1. Track and gradually wean yourself off. Track your consumption behavior and don’t go cold turkey! First off, keep track on your marijuana consumption. So when it’s the time to take a break you know how to wean yourself off, gradually. There is no reason to cold-turkey it, it may not be as effective if done so. Cut your consumption in half for a couple of weeks before you start your cannabis break.
2. Put your glass away: This one is pretty obvious and self-explanatory – give your glass or vaporizer to any of your friends to hold on to during the duration of your break, just keep your smoking devices away. Make it a challenge for you to smoke, having them around will be tempting. We want to believe we are strong, but at the beginning, it will be hard to resist temptation. Especially, against the herb and your pipes, a lost battle if those are easily accessible.
3. Stay busy: G
et off your couch. Go to the gym. Hangout with family or friends. Go on a refreshing hike and meditate in nature, often. Invest more time into work related projects and promotions, to better your career. If you wanna stay at home and keep yourself busy, that’s fine. Read a thrilling book, watch an interesting documentary. Even better, one of those mind bending psychological movies that you have to watch it twice to understand the plot. Discover a complicated and deep movie or tv show that you wouldn't be able to follow when you’re high. Experience the sober life again, it’s not as bad as you may think.
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 out of boredom.
4. Exercise! Of course, exercise is the best possible substitute past time. It’s a great routine to have in general, not only when you’re trying to wean yourself off of weed. 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 physical sports are a great way to keep you in shape while you cleanse your system. Unless, exercise was one of your activities that you enjoy while you were high, which is my problem and I haven’t figured it out yet. Please leave a comment below if you have any suggestions. The same friend from earlier is heavy into weight lifting and muscle building. He’s found that the heavier he lifts in a session, the “cleaner” he feels after. Where there evidence to support the cardio exercise, the only evidence to support the weight lifting is that he swears by it. It’s what works for him. Find what works for you and get in the gym and sweat. The more fat you lose, the more THC that goes with it!
5. 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 forms of tea, powder, and capsules.
Tolerance breaks are 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 your temple while it is going through this change. Be patient with the process; that’s how you will receive the most optimal results.
Make yourself knowledgeable about your body and knowing when it is time to take a t-break. Stay smart while shifting your lifestyle and don't burn yourself out too quickly. Remember, this is supposed to be a refreshing and energizing break from THC, so make it just that.
Switch up your strains. Drink water. Take breaks. That's the gist of it.
What will you get after your t-break? The effect of cannabis will be rejuvenated, it will take less plant matter to achieve the desired euphoria. Ah, and the first time you consume after a marijuana tolerance break, you will probably get too high. Now you'll need to build up your tolerance!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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