What are Tolerance Breaks and are they Necessary?
There comes a time for every regular smoker to confront the reality that they just don’t get as high as they used to. The novelty of the effect has worn off, your pockets are emptying of change at ever-quickening rates and the question arises: should I take a tolerance break? If THC is being consumed too regularly, the cannabinoid receptors in the brain that bind to it will wear out, making it increasingly difficult to reach the sensation of being ‘high’. Acquiring a cannabis tolerance is not a cause for alarm or disillusionment, but rather, an opportunity for intentional abstinence.
The proverbial ‘tolerance break’ involves 5-7 days of complete withdrawal from the plant in order to build back up your brain’s store of CB1 receptors so that THC can find a home in there again. The good news is that research suggests CB1 receptors start to replenish after only two weed-free days. These receptors continue to regenerate for 3-4 more weeks, preparing to respond to and absorb THC like the good old days. So the situation is less dire than it might immediately appear to be. Sure, a week or two devoid of a nightly bong rip or a morning wake and bake may seem like a recipe for unnecessary suffering, but if that’s the case, a break from weed may be more psychologically beneficial that you are initially willing to realize. Most smokers see tolerance breaks as a necessary part of the lifestyle: a chance to reset, not unlike the spontaneous 7-day juice cleanse practiced by health enthusiasts. You owe it to your body, your mind, and your wallet to take a step back and give your system time to recalibrate so it can embrace the blessings of marijuana like it was the first all over again. It seems the only question that remains is simply, how does one spend a week tolerance break?
The best advice is to stay busy. Reconnect with the activities, people, and food you truly love. Stay busy, and yet, don’t busy yourself to the point of avoiding something that may be lurking behind a potential weed dependence or compulsive use. If there is something latent within your mind, emerging in moments of stillness and begging to be analyzed, sit with it and give the phenomena time to be processed and integrated into your true authentic being. Weed tolerance breaks should not be a series of days filled with mindless, banal tasks completed simply for their own sake; these breaks should be a time where you crystalize what it is you want from life, what you expect from yourself, and how you’re going to get there. The nice thing about observing your thoughts and attempting to objectively understand them is that once you are back to smoking weed, sparks of paranoia, doubt, and guilt may cease to haunt you completely. Spend this time aligning your entire being with the goals you have set for yourself.
Other advice: if you use weed to fall asleep, switch to taking melatonin, which will naturally help you sleep without leaving you drowsy in the morning. Eat healthily and eat enough (your appetite may lower at first). Also, cardiovascular exercise is the quickest way to flush out excess THC from your fat cells. If you find you rely on CBD for pain, insomnia or as an appetite stimulant, consider taking high CBD, low THC products throughout your tolerance break; this will not interfere with the regeneration of CB1 receptors. Be grateful that, if perhaps you have installed a manufactured fog over your everyday cognitive processing, you can lift that fog with considerable ease and return to it when the time comes. The point is, know your body and know when enough is enough and also know that you are fully capable of taking action to make improve the situation. Tolerance breaks lie in your midst whether you want to acknowledge it or not, so why not embrace the challenge with the purest of intentions and most ambitious of executions?