It might come as a surprise to new smokers, but sometimes the answer to the quandary of when your usual bud isn’t getting you as high as you want to be is taking a tolerance break. So what exactly is a tolerance break? It’s the last thing anyone wants to hear, but no one wants to throw money away smoking more cannabis for less return. As with many different substances, after long-term cannabis use, cannabinoid 1 receptors require more THC to activate and this translates into needing to consume more cannabis to achieve the same level of high.
Tolerance breaks (also called T-breaks) allow time for receptors to return to baseline. In two days, receptors begin returning to normal function. It can take anywhere from one week to 21 days for THC to clear the body entirely, but one or two weeks should be plenty of time to reset your baseline. Afterwards, you’ll find you need much less cannabis to achieve your desired high. Cutting back is one option if you don’t want to stop using completely, but the best and quickest way to reset is to take a tolerance break.
The basics of a tolerance break
Other factors determining how long your body may need to reset include level of usage and age. Someone who only smokes one gram a day would not need as long of a tolerance break as someone who smokes four grams or more. Typically, those smoking larger quantities have likely been smoking for a longer period, but this isn’t always the case. The amount of THC received varies widely on which form of it is used.
Someone who smokes shatter may smoke less product than someone who smokes flowers, yet receive more THC per dab when compared to a joint. Metabolism is also a factor but ultimately, it’s not an exact science. If you want to cut back and improve tolerance, try changing your intake method. For dabbers, shake things up and roll a joint or pack a bong with flowers. If you prefer a good old-fashioned joint, try switching to smoking a bowl with half of your regular joint. Little things like this are a great way to lower tolerance coupled with willpower.
Since smoking is a ritual for most people, finding ways to break the habit can be hard even if only temporarily. If you usually watch TV and spark up, it can be incredibly frustrating trying to enjoy your usual routine with your smoke missing. I find putting all my gear away and trying to avoid those smoking triggers makes it a lot easier to deal with. With a tolerance break quitting permanently isn’t the plan. Reminding yourself of this can also make the temporary break easier. Keeping your hands and mind busy is the trick to stopping any habit, but this can be more complicated especially if you smoke for medical reasons.
Tips to cut back
Those who use cannabis for medicinal purposes have many different options to cut back while maintaining quality of life. Different cannabis-infused tinctures, creams and even patches can help deal with muscle or nerve pain. Ingesting oils or edibles is another way to combat pain, ingesting cannabis is an entirely different experience for some compared to smoking. Some smokers simply don’t get high when eating herb products in any form or dosage. Many companies have strains that contain little to no THC, but have CBD which can help with pain but does not get a person “high.”
For myself, a smoker of over fifteen years, I like to wean down my intake before taking a tolerance break. When I find myself needing more than 3 grams a day to combat my chronic pain I start to become more mindful of my intake. First, I take a solid stock of the number of joints I smoke in a day or two. After that, it’s a simple game of finding that balance between too much and too little.
Switching to a bong helps too, I suggest going with a bowl of half my usual joint and try to maintain that level for as long as possible. Everyone knows his or her own body best, sometimes simply cutting back is enough to find the path you want to follow. It’s not uncommon, however, to have to stop for a while, and again due to chronic pain for myself, that is always a last resort. Many of us medicinal users choose to smoke because we do not want to use man-made painkillers or narcotics. Stopping smoking just to fall into another pain maintenance system is never anyone’s goal.