T-Breaks: Resetting Marijuana Tolerance
11.02.21 - 4 min read
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If you consume cannabis regularly, you might’ve notice that over time, it can take more and more effort to get the desired effects. (Trust us, we’ve been there.) What you’re feeling is known as cannabis tolerance—basically, your body’s natural ability to grow less responsive to the effects of cannabis over time.
The good news: It’s totally possible to reset your marijuana tolerance by taking a THC tolerance break, aka a T-break.
The short answer is that tolerance develops because of regular use. There is no set timeline for developing tolerance. A range of factors contribute to it, including:
A neurological process called down regulation happens when we’re repeatedly exposed to a substance for a long period of time. Downregulation means the brain reduces the number of receptors for the substance because the body is wired to maintain homeostasis (or stability). So, over time, you’ll tend to find you need a higher dose of cannabis to obtain the familiar effect. [Source]
In other words, you’ll develop THC tolerance. Which means it could be time for a break…a T-break, to be precise.
A T-break is the process of taking a rest from using cannabis products to clear your body’s systems. Simply put, taking a T-break means you don’t consume any products containing THC for a specified time period.
The goal of a T-break is to allow time for your body to reset itself to a pre-cannabis state. If successful, this should result in a decrease in your body’s tolerance to cannabis, allowing you to use lower dosages to obtain the desired effects. (Score!)
Just like cannabis’ effects, this is something that varies with everyone. On average, approximately four weeks of refraining from cannabis use is needed for the receptor function to return to prior levels. However, studies show it takes as little as two days for some individuals to begin demonstrating an initial reversal of cannabis’ influence on brain receptors.
Starting a T-break is typically a personal choice, and in certain cases it’s beneficial to discuss the decision with your regular doctor. When taking a voluntary T-break, the length of time is, of course, up to you. That said, if you’re a regular consumer, you might expect a reset time window of two to five weeks. For less frequent consumers, it could take two to three weeks before noticeable signs of your body’s reset appear.
Those who have developed a high tolerance to any substance, from caffeine to THC, may face withdrawal symptoms when that substance is withheld.
Withdrawal from cannabis is usually not as intense as withdrawal from other substances, such as alcohol, but it may cause some periods of discomfort.
An important part of long-term, sustainable cannabis therapy is managing tolerance. If you’re using marijuana for medical purposes, the symptoms being treated with cannabis may return during a T-break.
Talk to your doctor about whether a temporary switch to another medication or alternative therapies may be helpful during your T-break time. Medical patients are sometimes daily consumers of cannabis products, so their T-break side effects could call for more specific treatment considerations.
If the goal of your marijuana tolerance break is to completely reset your body’s tolerance level by removing all THC from your system, you’re probably going to need a minimum of twenty-one days. It usually takes three weeks or more for your body to cleanse itself because THC is stored in body fat. And it takes longer to get rid of fat than it does retained water.
Thankfully, your T-break will go more smoothly if you do a little planning up-front.
Take these steps to prepare yourself for the next few weeks:
…And our favorite tip: Treat yourself at the end of each T-break week you complete. You’ve probably saved money by cutting back on THC. Why not take that extra cash and spend it on something for yourself?
You’ve got this! Taking T-break (as we’re defining it) means stopping all cannabis consumption for at least two days. The receptors in your brain that develop a tolerance to cannabis can start shifting to their pre-cannabis state after a 36-to-48-hour break. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve beat your tolerance and reset your body’s systems in that time —it means you’re on the road to the reset you’re looking for.
Remember that everyone’s body reacts to and interacts with THC and cannabis products differently. There is no one-size-fits-all for the effects of cannabis use or for the impact a tolerance break will have on any one individual. We can tell you from experience that refining the process takes some experimentation. But stick with it. Once you’ve figured out what works for you individually, resetting your tolerance can have major benefits. (Did we mention we’ve been there?)
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