Is your favorite strain just not hitting like it used to? Are you filling the bowl twice as often and only getting half as stoned? Are you finding it harder and harder to reach the highs of yesteryear?
You might be suffering from increased cannabis tolerance—known colloquially as “the bummers.” But fear not! There is a simple answer to your problem (although you might not be super keen on it). Read on, dear reader.
What is Cannabis Tolerance?
Simply put, cannabis tolerance is how much your body can resist the intoxicating effects of marijuana. The higher a user’s tolerance, the harder it is for them to get high. Tolerance is a problem with most drugs. As a person continues to take the drug regularly, their body stops responding and the dosage must be raised.
With repeated and regular cannabis use, CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain degrade and become less available to cannabinoid molecules. According to a study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, as more of these receptors “downregulate,” tolerance goes up and higher doses must be consumed to reach previous highs.
If you are experiencing a higher cannabis tolerance, then your CB1 receptors are experiencing downregulation. But don’t get too worried. It’s not irreversible, and there’s an a way to turn it all around.
How To Lower Tolerance
The answer to your conundrum is simple, and you probably have already figured it out. But it might not sound too appealing to some medical cannabis users.
If you want to lower your tolerance, take a break from using cannabis.
Each person will be different, but a 2020 study published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology found that CB1 receptors bounced back after four weeks. It noted that “knowledge on frequency, dose and duration of cannabis use that is needed to achieve, maintain or lessen tolerance however is very limited.” More research must be done before we’ll know how long tolerance breaks should last.
But you can start experimenting now. Take a day or a week or a month off from using cannabis and see if it affects how high you get the next time you use it. Make sure to keep notes and see if you can pinpoint the exact amount of time it takes to rejuvenate your CB1 receptors. Doing so will help save you money and make for a better time.
Tolerance and Dependence
Experiencing a drop in tolerance can also be a sign that you’re developing a dependence. The only real way to test if a user is suffering from dependence is to completely halt all use of the drug and monitor for withdrawal symptoms. The good news is, physical dependence on cannabis—known as cannabis use disorder—is rare and doesn’t have the same health impact that dependence on other drugs can cause. Withdrawal symptoms are very mild and include anxiety, irritability, depression and sleeplessness. These symptoms disappear after a few days and are not life-threatening.