How To Take A Weed Tolerance Break

Andrew Ward
July 27, 2021

The information is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve readers of their obligation to obtain qualified medical, legal or other professional advice.

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Regular cannabis consumption helps build up a tolerance to the plant's beneficial effects. At first, this is helpful, as it helps us tolerate more than a little dose. However, in time, our tolerances can lessen the effects we receive from consuming. 

The result can be a drain for consumers in several ways. The tolerance uptick reduces the plant's positive effects while consumers pay more to regain those lost results. 

The good news is that the results can be reversed with a tolerance break or t-break. If you can abstain for a few weeks, you may see your dispensary costs and weed tolerance lessen.

Taking a weed tolerance break can increase the effectiveness of cannabis treatment.

Understanding Weed Tolerance 

We're still in the infancy stages of cannabis clinical studies. As such, we don't have a detailed understanding of every mechanism of the complex cannabis plant. 


Almost everyone who uses cannabis long-term builds up a tolerance to THC.


It's known that chronic THC use causes a reduction in the brain's cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) receptors found in the peripheral and central nervous systems. CB1 receptors are integral in feeling the psychoactive "high" produced from consuming THC. A diminished CB1 presence results in fewer opportunities for THC to bind and create those effects. 

How long it takes to build a tolerance remains uncertain. Tolerance is likely to be impacted by a person's consumption frequency, consumption methods and genetics. 


How To Take A Weed Tolerance Break

There are two common options to consider with a t-break:

Abstain Completely 

This approach calls for complete avoidance of THC--no smoking, dabbing, edibles or otherwise. Those who must consume cannabis, sometimes use CBD-only, which does not show signs of CB1 degradation, or another cannabinoid that won't affect CB1 receptors. 


Complete abstinence isn't the only way to take a weed tolerance break.


Reduce Intake

The best results of t-break come from completely abstaining. For those who are unable or unwilling to do so, cutting back may help. In this scenario, reduce the amount consumed per day. Also, consider lessening the product's potency, like opting for flower over extracts, which can carry triple the THC potency to nugs. 


Some simply reduce their intake during a weed tolerance break.


How Long Should A Tolerance Break Be?

Keep in mind that each person's t-break varies. The wait time depends on a person's weed tolerance heading in and the method they choose to employ. 

Typically, people begin to notice a change around two days after starting a weed tolerance break. At a minimum, a pause should last a week or two to see any changes to your weed tolerance. Other studies have found that a longer wait is required. In some cases, the recommended break should last for about a month to recover CB1 receptor density levels. 


In some cases, people take an entire month to rebuild adequate CB1 receptors.


If your break is for a drug test, it's recommended that a t-break start no later than a month before the test to potentially pass a urine screening. Hair and blood screens will require a much longer break, typically totaling several months. 


Positive T-break Effects

The wait is no fun, that's for sure. But the pause tends to pay off for most t-breakers in several ways:

  1. Your weed tolerance should lessen while improving the response time and onset effects of consumed cannabis
  2. You're going to save money now that you don't need as much pot to feel the desired effects 
  3. You're giving your lungs a break. It's never a bad idea to reduce the amount of smoke or vapor you're inhaling from smoking, vaping and dabbing
  4. You're breaking the cycle of reward system and increasing your tolerance, both of which could help prevent the development of Cannabis Use Disorder
  5. Some cannabis consumers may find themselves doing less and eating unhealthy options after consuming cannabis. If that's you, a t-break could break that cycle and open up room for a return to becoming more active and eating healthier.
Most find cannabis more enjoyable after a weed tolerance break.


Adverse T-break Effects

A t-break is acceptable and safe for just about everyone. That said, some chronic users may experience mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms. Studies suggest that symptoms tend to involve light to moderate changes in mood and behavior. Common examples of the changes withdrawal can induce are:

  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
Don't be surprised if you experience unpleasant symptoms during a weed tolerance break.

In rare cases, chronic users may experience more severe symptoms that may require medical attention. It is wise to speak to a medical professional before embarking on a t-break, especially if a chronic consumer. Be sure to call a physician or medical professional immediately for further assistance. 


Be Cautious When Returning From A Weed Tolerance Break!

The purpose of a t-break is to reduce your weed tolerance. Keep this in mind when returning to consuming cannabis. A successful break almost assures that you'll need less potent products and less of an amount to consume to reach the desired effects. 

A little goes a long way when returning from a weed tolerance break.


The longer the break, the more this point applies. It is believed that a month-long break restores CB1 receptors to normal levels. If true, then a return to cannabis consumption can feel like those first early days of consuming once again. Be sure to proceed with caution or risk going overboard in short order. 

Taking a break for an upcoming drug test? Take a look at our guide on passing a drug test to give you the best possible chance.

Want to learn more about how to take a weed tolerance break or how it might affect your treatment plan? NuggMD's state-licensed doctors are available from 8am till 10pm daily and weekends. No appointment necessary!


Andrew Ward
Andrew is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer with a degree in Creative Writing from Montclair State University in New Jersey. After years of working in freelance and offices, he embraced the future of work and re-entered the independent workforce. Today, he provides creative solutions to Nugg and other respected cannabis companies.

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