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How to Take a Tolerance Break So Weed Smacks Again

The tolerance breaks you’ve taken in the past just weren’t long enough

If it takes 10 consecutive bong rips for you to feel something, it may be time for a good ol’ tolerance break (and maybe a new strain, too). 

Before you lock your stash away, however, it’s important that you understand what happens in your body when you smoke bags and bags of weed, then take a tolerance break. “The number of endocannabinoid receptors progressively decreases during prolonged exposure to high levels of THC in cannabis,” says Daniele Piomelli, director of the University of California, Irvine’s Center for the Study of Cannabis. That means your body becomes less receptive to the effects of weed over time. “During a tolerance break, they slowly come back to their normal levels,” Piomelli explains.

But because all bodies are different, a universal tolerance break length is tricky to nail down. “This depends on several factors,” Piomelli explains. “How heavy and how frequent is [your] cannabis use? The heavier and more frequent, the longer the time to return to normality. Age, sex and individual differences are also important.” Women, for instance, develop more of a tolerance to THC, so they may require a longer tolerance break length than men.

How to Take a Tolerance Break for Weed

All of that said, there are some accepted tolerance break length guidelines among 420-friendly communities. “If you need a reset and want to get back to your baseline, take about three weeks off,” says Jake Browne, former strain critic for The Cannabist and founder of the Grow-Off cannabis cultivation competition. Be cognizant of weed withdrawal, too. “I recommend using your phone’s Notes app to keep track of your mood and having a T-buddy you can talk to if you’re feeling stressed out or can’t sleep.”

Piomelli adds, “Physical activity, healthy eating and meditation or mindfulness can help with sleeping difficulties and depressed mood, which are two key problems with cannabis withdrawal.”

Finally, once you make it through, don’t expect your tolerance break to do all the work of making weed glorious again. “If you need a T-break because you’re chasing this concept of how fun it was when you first started getting high, you may need to fundamentally reevaluate your relationship with cannabis and why you crave that feeling so intensely,” Browne says. “Cannabis can be a daily part of your life, but it shouldn’t be your entire life.”

See you on the other, much greener side.