Should You Do a Cannabis Tolerance Cleanse?

Learn about cannabis tolerance, how taking a break works, and tips for making it a positive experience.

There are many times of year that seem to call for a fresh start: New Year’s, of course, but also, the transition between seasons. For some, fall feels much more like a clean slate than the post-holiday slump that follows December. Regardless of when the mood strikes you to make a change, you may wonder if a cannabis tolerance cleanse is worth considering. Read on for more about cannabis tolerance, how taking a break works and tips for making it a positive experience.

How Does Our Tolerance for Cannabis Increase?

Despite limited data, researchers have concluded a few things about cannabis tolerance. The first is that people build up a tolerance to marijuana pretty rapidly, so you’re more immune to the plant’s effects as time (and use) goes on.

It’s now known that genetics play an important role in how immune someone is to cannabis and its effects. Studies have also shown that women build up a tolerance to cannabis faster than men.

According to a 2003 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, chronic cannabis use results in the desensitization of CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and are located throughout the brain; they’re activated by cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The more desensitized these receptors become, the less sensitive you are to THC and its psychoactive effects.

What is a Cannabis Tolerance Cleanse?

While we build up a tolerance to cannabis quickly, we lose that tolerance just as rapidly. Abstaining from cannabis for three to seven days at a time can knock a person’s tolerance level down and help generate more sensitivity in their CB1 receptors. This means a person would feel the psychoactive aspects of cannabis more vividly while consuming a smaller amount of product.

Benefits of a Cleanse

If you’re a daily cannabis user, odds are your tolerance is high, especially if you’re consuming high-quality, high-THC products. Or maybe you’ve noticed it takes a larger dose of cannabis than it used to, to achieve the desired effects.

Completing a three- to seven-day marijuana cleanse every three months can bring all sorts of benefits, including the following:

  • Helping to lower your tolerance level so you can feel all of the effects of cannabis—like pain or anxiety relief—more potently.
  • Saving you money because it will take less cannabis to achieve the effects you’re looking for.
  • Reminding yourself that you’re not physically addicted to cannabis—that you have control over your consumption patterns.

Tips for Successfully Completing a Tolerance Cleanse

Luckily, cannabis is not as addictive as you may have been led to believe. The withdrawal symptoms associated with cannabis are not nearly as intense as they are with alcohol or hard drugs like heroin, methamphetamines or cocaine. So, a cannabis tolerance cleanse may not be as impossible as you imagine.

  • Cut consumption down in the days leading up to the cleanse start date. This can help diminish the shock to your system that going cold turkey can sometimes bring.
  • Try to time it so you are out of cannabis product by the time your cannabis tolerance cleanse starts. Not having weed readily available makes it more inconvenient to break your commitment.
  • Put away all marijuana accessories somewhere you won’t see them on a regular basis—out of sight, out of mind.
  • Expect some mild side effects at the beginning of your cleanse, like trouble sleeping or loss of appetite.
  • Eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated and exercise. Nourishing your body with wholesome foods and an appropriate amount of water will go a long way to making you feel good—plus, exercise is a natural stress reliever. Maintaining healthy habits during your cleanse will help you feel better and more motivated to stay committed to your goals.
  • Substitute your consumption with another activity. This is especially helpful if you use cannabis regularly in your daily schedule. During the times you would be most likely to consume, go for a walk, take a shower, enjoy a coffee or tea or curl up with a good book.
  • Go slow when your cleanse is over. Remember: Your cannabis tolerance goes away as quickly as it comes. For the first few days following your cleanse, consume half of your regular dose or start with a low-THC strain.

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