Cannabis Tolerance: All You Need to Know

Everyone consumes cannabis for some reason: wish to relax, stress out, get high, relieve pain, and so on. So, once you sit there waiting for the desired effects and... nothing. Hem, what went wrong? It seems to be a cannabis tolerance. Don’t know what a hell is that? Here we are to answer all your whats, whys, hows.

Cannabis Tolerance: What Is It?

Before we go any further, let’s define what cannabis tolerance is. Simply put, cannabis tolerance is the adaptation of the brain to cannabinoids. When someone uses cannabis regularly, his or her body and brain become intolerant to the active components of cannabis, such as THC. Therefore, you have to steadily increase the dosage to get the same effects as you had before. Thus, the consumption of weed every day results in high tolerance. And that’s the biggest problem.

How Does It Work?

The neurological phenomenon of downregulation can develop an adaptation to the effects of marijuana. This applies not only to marijuana, though but also to other products such as coffee. When you consume marijuana, you get a "high" feeling because CB1 and CB2 (type 1 and type 2 cannabinoid receptors) in your brain respond to the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the psychoactive compound in cannabis) that comes with its consumption. When this potent cannabinoid attaches to CB1 and CB2, it triggers the appropriate effects.

With frequent or prolonged consumption of THC, the body seeks to maintain balance and avoid overload. Therefore, the body limits and reduces the effects of THC. For this purpose, the brain desensitizes and then internalizes the CB1 receptors. This is how your brain reduces the intensity of your overall experience, and you develop a "tolerance".

How Long Does Tolerance Take to Build/Reset?

Well, now you know what changes happen to your brain and body when you consume cannabis products. However, how quickly does tolerance develop? What do you need to do to reduce or even reset your receptors and experience the desired effects without consuming large cannabinoid doses?

Development of Cannabis Tolerance

Consumers who use cannabis frequently and regularly are at higher risk. A recent study found that regular but moderate daily cannabis users had 20 percent fewer CB1 receptors compared to the results of participants in a control group who did not use cannabis substances at all. So, if you intake cannabis every day and/or have several sessions a day, you may soon develop THC tolerance.

Of course, there are many factors such as individual susceptibility, the variety used, overall health and so on that are important when it comes to cannabis tolerance and the time it takes to develop it. Nevertheless, according to the results of the study, one week of frequent weed usage is enough to develop sufficient tolerance and, accordingly, the need to increase the dose to experience the desired effects. Moreover, the higher the ratio of THC, the faster the tolerance to cannabis develops.

How To Reset Weed Tolerance?

Cannabis T-break is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reset or at least lower cannabis tolerance. The research found that over time, CB1 receptors can recover and return to their previous levels. Furthermore, it can happen fairly quickly in case CB1 receptors have been desensitized not internalized. The latter scenario requires much more time to recover. Thus, you should take short breaks from cannabis consumption to reduce/lower tolerance. Depending on certain factors such as duration and frequency of consumption as well as your personal biology, it can take several days up to 2-4 weeks to fully emerge from cannabis tolerance.

How to Prevent Building a Cannabis Tolerance?

While it doesn't take much to overcome cannabis tolerance, it also might not be that easy. Everything depends on how long you consume cannabis, your individual susceptibility/well-being, and other aspects. So, consuming smaller doses or having a cannabis T-break, you may even experience weed withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • mood swings;
  • headaches;
  • fatigue;
  • insomnia;
  • cognitive issues;
  • decreased appetite;
  • nausea, etc.

It's definitely not a deadly experience, but it's not the most pleasant one either. It is always better to prevent than to pursue a solution.

So, how to manage weed tolerance? Here are 3 effective tips on how to prevent cannabis tolerance:

  1. Prefer a higher CBD-to-THC ratio;
  2. Control doses and frequency;
  3. Try another method of consumption.


Cannabis tolerance is a quite unique and deeply individual thing. In contrast to alcohol or other drugs, marijuana neither destroys brain cells nor causes a breakdown of the connections between them. However, repetitive consumption of cannabis does lead to resistance to its important and active compounds, such as THC. In order to prevent a decrease in effects, consume cannabis smartly and responsibly, taking breaks and experimenting with dosage, CBD-to-THC ratio, etc.