From a toxicology standpoint, there are few substances less harmful to the human body than marijuana but as Daily Dabbers, we often test the ability of our bodies to process THC leading to ridiculously high tolerances and a decrease in the benefits we enjoy from dabbing. If you’ve got a tolerance that makes single dabs feel like nothing or that’s affecting your day-to-day life, it’s probably time to start addressing it! In this article, we’ll discuss why tolerance happens and how you can plan a successful Tolerance Break to bring that tolerance down with as few negative side effects as possible!
What is Tolerance?
Tolerance describes the phenomenon of a drug becoming less effective used frequently over time. With regards to a psychoactive substance like THC in marijuana, this occurs on both a physical and mental level:
On the mental side of things, it’s easy to become conditioned to being high for doing daily activities. Eating food? Take a dab. Get home? Take a dab. Do anything? Take a dab. Once you begin to work dabbing into part of your daily routine, it can start to become more of a habit and lose the enjoyable qualities it provides— relaxation, creativity, peace of mind. It can also begin to affect how you spend your time not dabbing; if you’ve ever skipped out on something you would otherwise like doing except you wouldn’t be able to dab for a few hours, that’s not right! It should also be considered that if you spend most of your time high, is consuming marijuana really allowing you to alter your consciousness or is it enabling you to escape reality? It’s hard to notice an altered state of mind if that’s what you’re used to!
On the physical level, THC binds mostly to receptors in the brain called CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. These receptors exist naturally in everyone’s brain and were thought to exist exclusively for THC until the discovery of Anandamide in 1992 (a naturally occurring substance in humans and animals that mediate many of the functions marijuana seems to affect— no surprise there). Like many receptors in the brain, these CB receptors are essentially small molecular structures that stick out of the brain and have puzzle-piece like ends that only fit with specific other molecules (in this case cannabinoids and anandamide). Once a receptor is activated, it tends to recede into the brain so it can recover before being activated again.
Physical tolerance begins to occur when you have fewer and fewer receptors available to bind with THC. If you continue to flood your brain with THC, it can temporarily wear out the receptors and really make dabbing ineffective. The good news is that it’s only temporary— the bad news is that the only cure is to abstain from consuming THC and allow your receptors to recover.
The Keys to a Successful Tolerance Break
While simply “taking a break” sounds simple, it can prove incredibly difficult; especially if you’re a heavier user. Withdrawal is a very real part of almost any marijuana detox and though the severity depends mostly on how much THC was being consumed, there are steps one can take to reduce these negative symptoms and increase the chances of a successful tolerance break.
1. Set a Timeline
Planning is key with a tolerance break and setting a timeline is the first step towards a successful detox! Depending on why you’re taking a T-break, you’ll want to set an endpoint somewhere between 2-8 weeks. A week will help reduce weaker tolerances but if you’re a heavy dabber, you’ll want to take more time especially if you plan on passing a drug test (it usually takes about a month for metabolites to leave your system). It generally takes most people 2-3 weeks before all withdrawal symptoms are completely gone which is why we recommend a 2-week minimum break. You’ll also want to plan for feeling under the weather for the first couple days after taking a break— it might be a good idea to schedule important dates before or a few weeks after you start your break if you have such a luxury.
2. Taper Down Use
You can severely reduce the most disruptive side effects of withdrawal by tapering down your use before stopping completely. Heavy dabbers would be wise to continue smoking moderate amounts of bud after abstaining from dabbing and then taper down on bud before taking a full T-break— the withdrawals from heavy concentrate use can be very unpleasant when stopping cold turkey.
3. Clean Your Rig and Put It Away
Out of sight, out of mind— after you’ve binged your stash away, it’s time to clean the rig and put it somewhere inconvenient to reduce temptation (it’s usually easier to do this immediately after you’ve finished your stash while you still feel good about your decision, lol). If you have a trustworthy friend who you can leave your rig with, there’s no better way to hide your rig than to get it out of your possession.
Your brain generally doesn’t like changes to the usual routine and you might find yourself facing unusual boredom, driving your thoughts back towards marijuana use— the key is to keep yourself busy so you don’t have time for these thoughts! This is your opportunity to be productive. Plan some activities for yourself that you’ve always wanted to do, meet new people who don’t necessarily smoke weed. Getting out and involved with people in the world outside cannabis can be incredibly rewarding and you may find yourself so consumed that you’re barely at home facing temptation.
5. Focus on Health
The first week, in particular, is usually most difficult when it comes to insomnia, lack of appetite and nausea but despite feeling bad, it’s important to stay focused on good health for the most rapid recovery. You need to treat your T-break recovery the same way athletes treat their recovery— professionally. Eat light, high-quality, nutrient-dense rich meals like chicken and rice with steamed vegetables; if you can only stomach a few bites at a time eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and try to keep your calories up so your body can do its work to readjust. Drink lots of water and avoid sugary foods that can make you feel bad. Boiling fresh peeled ginger root makes an excellent tea that fights nausea and settles the stomach.
It’s also incredibly important to exercise. Exercise will help release natural endorphins and release stored THC in fat which will naturally help you taper the cannabinoids in your system while simultaneously detoxing. The calorie burn both helps drive appetite and releases chemicals that help with sleep at night. You don’t need to stick to running but generally, aerobic exercise will be more effective than something like weightlifting (though both are good!). Don’t forget to treat yourself either!
You Can Do It
Nobody is saying it’s easy but if you can rid yourself of temptation and stick to these guidelines, you’re guaranteed to drop that tolerance and have as pain-free a detox as humanly possible. Remember that taking a T-break isn’t a break from happiness, just weed! Be sure to take care of your mental health and treat yourself to some rewards. With all the money you save not buying bud/concentrates, you might get yourself to a massage, start that hobby you’ve always been interested in, buy yourself something nice that will keep you busy… You deserve it! After a few weeks, you won’t even be thinking about weed.
At that point, you’re done! You’ll have a whole new perspective with which to appreciate weed and you’ll get higher than you can remember off your first hit. Get ready for flashbacks of your first time smoking— you’ll probably even wait to lay off the concentrates until you’ve built up some tolerance. And if you find yourself too tempted before you reach your planned end-date don’t fret too much; you can do better next time! It gets easier with practice.
Stay lifted friends.