Any well-seasoned smoker can tell you that using too much marijuana will have diminishing returns. But why is that? Well, your body is going to build-up tolerance to the THC, but is the same true for CBD and its medical benefits? Although CBD and THC are both cannabinoids present in cannabis, there are many differences between the two.
The first and most known difference is that THC will get you high, and CBD won’t. But did you know that there’s also a difference in how the body develops a tolerance to each compound? Let’s take a look and see what goes on here.
Tolerance, in a nutshell, is the body’s need for more and more of a substance to achieve the same desired effects. Whether it’s THC, alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine, we will need more the next time to reach the same level as before. It can even get to the point where you don’t feel anything anymore. But don’t confuse a high tolerance with addiction – that’s more when you need the drug to feel “normal”, or you suffer adversely from lack of it.
Tolerance comes in a few forms. Cellular tolerance occurs when the cells themselves are desensitized to the substance and don’t react and bind the same as before. Next up is behavioral tolerance. This is the type of tolerance that accustoms you to something or drug such that it becomes ordinary or “boring.” Finally, there is metabolic tolerance. Essentially, the route of ingestion isn’t as effective at absorbing the chemical anymore so the effects aren’t as potent. Thus, you will need to use it differently to reach those earlier levels.
THC and Tolerance
With THC, it’s well-documented that repeated use raises your tolerance levels. Think back to that first joint and how everything was mind-blowing and hilarious. (We surely remember our first one!) But, how about now? That’s the sure sign of a novice smoker who can’t “handle” their weed. In reality, that’s due to a very low tolerance level.
THC tolerance comes in the cellular flavor because the high you get from cannabis is detected by the endocannabinoid system. What’s that? The simple and sweet answer is that it’s a system of cannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes located throughout the nervous system and the brain. Its main function is to help the body maintain homeostasis.
One of those receptors is called CB1, and it is found in the brain. THC binds with CB1 receptors on the neurons, giving the feeling of euphoria or being “high.” The body reacts to this in two different ways. The first way is desensitization. The CB1 receptors don’t accept the THC as easily anymore so its effects are less.
The second way the cells react is through internalization. This is like “Code 1 Lockdown” for the receptors. The cell pulls the CB1 receptors inside the cell, making it unable to bind at all with the THC. That’s how tolerance builds-up. To reverse the effects of tolerance, you need to take a “T-break” – tolerance break or THC break. It brings the body back to a regular level, allowing the THC to bind normally to the CB1 receptors.
Can you Build a Tolerance to CBD?
While THC and CBD are cannabinoids from the same place, as stated above, they behave in very different ways. CBD is not going to get you high, but it does help with fighting anxiety and promoting relaxed feelings. Likewise, while THC does get you high and builds a tolerance quickly, CBD appears to not have a tolerance build-up. It appears to be reverse tolerance, meaning you need less CBD the more you use it.
CBD works by binding to the CB1 receptors as well. However, it lowers the binding affinity between those CB1s and other cannabinoids, causing them to be less stimulated. Whereas, THC works oppositely—overstimulating the receptors, which leads to desensitization and internalization. The studies on CBD (and cannabis in general) are still in their infancy, the evidence suggests that you don’t have to worry about CBD tolerance build-up.
Nonetheless, there is still anecdotal evidence that implies the inverse and CBD tolerance does happen. There are countless stories and posts on Reddit, YouTube videos, and a plethora of forums of people stating how they have CBD tolerance build-up and that CBD isn’t working as well as before. What should you do if you feel the effects of your medicine waning? Share your story with us by going to our official Facebook page for more CBD content.
How to Lower Your CDB Tolerance Build-up (A “C-break”)
Everyone is different and will handle substances in a variety of ways. I need three cups of coffee before I’m bouncing off the walls. My girlfriend only needs half of a cup. So, it might be true that some people never build a tolerance, but if you aren’t one of those people, you will simply need to take a break from using or switch your preferred strain for a little bit. Similar to a T-break, we’ll call this a CBD break or C-break. The amount of time it takes will vary from person to person, but the heavier the use, the longer the break you will need.
More research still needs to be done to fully understand CBD tolerance build-up and how it works. But, right now, it appears that you don’t have to worry about building a tolerance.
Thank you for reading with us today! Let us know in the comments below what you use your CBD oil for and for what benefits, we would love to see the community around us. Want your hands on some CBD oil as well, check this amazing bottle we found, or this one.