cannabis leaf with red circle and slash

Taking a Cannabis Tolerance Break

Tolerance refers to your body’s process of getting acclimated to cannabis, and, over time, you may find that the plant’s effects are lessened. That means that you need to consume more to obtain the same results. How does this happen? Although there hasn’t been much research done on tolerance, scientists do know that continuous use of cannabis can decrease the number of CB1 receptors in the brain which allows for fewer receptors for THC to bind to. Essentially, your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is being overwhelmed by THC and thus becomes less sensitive to it. So what is a cannabis tolerance break?

Why take a cannabis tolerance break?

There are several reasons why someone would want or even need to take a tolerance break. The most common reason is to reset the endocannabinoid system so less cannabis is required for the relief being sought. Other reasons may include an upcoming drug test for a job, probation or other legal issues, traveling to a place where cannabis is illegal, or to simply just save money. No matter what the reason, when you resume consuming cannabis you will find that the effectiveness is increased almost exponentially. You will have a more potent high and greater symptom relief. Just remember to slowly reintroduce cannabis as it will be much more effective again.

Things to consider

If you decide to take a tolerance break there are several factors to consider including frequency of cannabis use, potency, routes of consumption, and personal biology/genetic makeup. You also have to choose how you would like to take the break… Will you taper down or stop cold turkey? Are you stopping all cannabis products or just the really high THC products like RSO, edibles, shatter, or distillates? Are you going to stop for two or three days, two weeks, or a month? (Most tolerance breaks can range from two days to two weeks). Do you have any stressful events coming up that may challenge your tolerance break? There is no correct answer to these questions. You should do what feels right for you.


You smoke flower and also use concentrates. You decide to reduce your concentrate consumption (or stop at once) and take a few days off while still consuming flower.

What you will noticeYou may feel like the flower is doing more than it has been and when you add concentrates back into your regimen you will have to consume much less to gain the desired effect.

It can be challenging

Taking a break from cannabis can be beneficial but it can also be challenging for some. Most people will have a few side effects from stopping cannabis, but it should only be mildly disrupting. Side effects may be similar to quitting smoking/nicotine and may include irritability, restlessness, very vivid dreams, decreased appetite, mood swings, depression, anxiety, or insomnia.

Again, none of these side effects will actually harm you… they will just annoy you. However, you may want to let loved ones or people close to you know about your canna-hiatus so they can support you (and understand if you may be a little irritable).

Completely removing cannabis from your daily regimen may be difficult for some people, especially those with debilitating medical conditions. Reducing cannabis consumption while increasing other herbal medicines could be a viable option. For instance, if you are using cannabis for pain and need a tolerance break, consider reducing your cannabis consumption and supplementing with kratom or wild lettuce. If you suffer from anxiety, you can decrease THC and try adding kava and/or CBD. And just remember, it’s just a break…



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