Like other drugs and substances such as caffeine, patients can develop a cbd tolerance over time. This article will discuss tolerance building for THC and CBD… CBD is very different from other cannabinoids, but does prolonged use of CBD oil cause the user to build up a tolerance? Why are some users talking about the reversed tolerance phenomenon? Quick answers on CBD tolerance, its reported reverse tolerance, what happens when you take it every day and what is the maximum daily intake.
Can you build tolerance to CBD?
Is it possible for patients to build up a tolerance to their medical cannabis medication? The answer is both yes and no. The reason being is that tolerance profiles are different for THC and CBD, the two main active components of medical cannabis. While frequent use of medical cannabis will lead to a higher tolerance to THC, the same isn’t necessarily true for CBD.
The aim of this article is to answer some of the following questions for patients:
- Will I build a tolerance for medical cannabis?
- Will I need to take more and more over time to help me manage pain?
- Will I become dependent on large doses of cannabis?
What is Tolerance?
Developing tolerance means having to take increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effects as initially experienced. Please note that building tolerance isn’t to be confused with physical addiction or dependence. People who frequently drink coffee will find that they must drink more to feel the same effects as when they first started drinking. But why does the body build a tolerance to substances in the first place?
Your body’s primary function is keeping itself in a state of homeostasis, or cellular balance. When a foreign substance is introduced, whether it’s drugs, food or even water, the body processes it and immediately tries to restore itself to homeostasis. This explains why frequent consumers of alcohol have built a high tolerance over time because the body gets better at adapting itself to regulating the chemical imbalance to the best of its ability.
Will patients develop CBD tolerance to Medical Cannabis?
Before we answer this question, it’s first important to separate and distinguish medical cannabis into two main active components: THC and CBD, as tolerance-building works differently for each.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive ingredient that is responsible for users feeling “high.” CBD or Cannabidiol is regarded as the medicinal element that has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, chronic pain, depression and nerve pain. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause any intoxicating effects. However, THC does demonstrate clear health benefits for patients suffering from pain, low appetite, insomnia and PTSD.
Will patients develop a tolerance to THC?
Yes, patients can develop a tolerance to THC. Similar to other drugs and chemicals like caffeine, continual and heavy THC use will result in tolerance-building.
When THC is consumed, it binds to CB1 receptors that primarily located in the brain. After heavy THC usage, these CB1 receptors become more resistant and begin to downregulate the effects of THC to maintain balance. In other words, the more THC that you consume, the better and more efficient your body becomes at managing it.
Will patients need to take more THC to feel the same effects?
Yes, as recreational users will confirm, frequent use of THC will result in having to take more THC to attain the same effects. Over time, CB1 receptors become less sensitive to THC. So when you introduce this cannabinoid into your system, only a portion of it triggers those receptors and causes a reaction. This happens due to CB1 receptors adapting to your cannabis consumption. High levels of THC in the body become the new norm, which means you need to start taking more substantial doses to feel the same effects.
How can patients reduce THC tolerance?
The key to reducing THC tolerance is taking periodic breaks. By taking breaks, you allow your receptors time to recover and replenish. Studies have shown that receptors start to rejuvenate in as little as two days. Taking regular breaks every few weeks will help maintain your tolerance at a moderate level. Patients who wish to reset their THC tolerances back to zero should abstain from cannabis for approximately four weeks.
Will patients experience withdrawal from THC?
Ultimately, withdrawal symptoms depend on the length and frequency of use. While many users will not feel withdrawal effects, long-term users with heavy use may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:
- Mild insomnia
- Reduced appetite
- Cannabis cravings
- Mood changes
- Headaches, sweating, chills
The duration of withdrawal symptoms is approximately two weeks, with most symptoms peaking within the first week.
Will patients build a tolerance to CBD?
No. The good news is, CBD doesn’t seem to create a CBD tolerance in regular users. This is because CBD and THC don’t bind to CB1 receptors in the same way. As a result, when CBD binds to these receptors, they don’t become desensitized.
In a 2011 study published by Mateus Machodo Bergamaschi et al. found that “CBD administration did not induce side effects across a wide range of dosages, including acute and chronic dose regimens, and tolerance to CBD did not develop.“
Some researchers even suggest that CBD creates “reverse CBD tolerance,” meaning that patients need to take less and less over time. So for medical cannabis patients that rely mainly on things like CBD oil, or CBD-dominant cannabis strains, CBD tolerance isn’t something to worry about.
The Final Word
Medical cannabis helps thousands of people. But, while it is very safe, it can also create a tolerance to THC. For patients who rely on THC-high products for relief and wish to keep their tolerance in check, it is recommended to take periodic breaks every few weeks.
No matter what you use medical cannabis for, it’s important to remember that it does change the way that your body works. Understanding those mechanisms is crucial to safe and effective cannabis consumption.
CBD Tolerance: Can You Build Up A Resistance Over Time?
Most people taking CBD report consistent effects of the same doses with prolonged use. Does it mean that CBD tolerance is a myth?
Substance tolerance is a familiar concept to all people who take supplements and medications. The human body is very flexible at adapting to different substances — lowering their effectiveness over time.
Considering that CBD is a supplement that people take daily, it’s no wonder they ask questions about the risk of building a tolerance.
So, will you build a tolerance to CBD if you take it often?
Studies conducted on the safety and efficacy of CBD oil hold the answer.
Continue reading to learn more.
Can You Build a Tolerance to CBD?
Like we said, building a tolerance to any substance is a common concept. Many of us experience it in our daily routine. When you drink coffee or tea, you need stronger dose overtime to get the same focus and energy as you did, say, a few months ago — especially if you’re a daily user.
CBD is consumed frequently; for most people, it means taking CBD twice a day; some users, however, use it four times a day because they need more CBD oil in their situation. If CBD actually holds the risk of building a tolerance, it should abide by specific mechanisms that most supplements and medications use.
Let’s elaborate on why people build a tolerance to certain substances.
How Tolerance Works
Tolerance is categorized into three major groups: behavioral, cellular, and metabolic.
Behavioral tolerance is where we become psychologically adapted to the effects of a substance; cellular tolerance involves cells becoming less responsive to a compound, which is why you need more coffee to stimulate the body when you drink it regularly. Metabolic tolerance, in turn, means that lower concentrations of a substance reach the target area.
Tolerance doesn’t have to belong to one of the three aforementioned categories and can show the symptoms of all three mechanisms depending on the interaction between a particular substance and the body.
Tolerance affects every person differently; there are different rates at which we become tolerant to a substance. Our genetic structure, physiology, history of substance abuse, as well as environmental factors, may determine how fast you build up a tolerance to substances. For some people, it may take a bit more time to develop tolerance, while others build it very quickly.
When it comes to cannabinoids, tolerance is noticeable mostly on the cellular level. Over time, the endocannabinoid receptors may become desensitized, meaning they’re less enthusiastic about interacting with the administered compound, and in some cases, will hide inside a cell so they cannot be reached by the cannabinoid.
It appears this isn’t the case with CBD.
What Happens Inside Your Body When You Take CBD?
CBD has a unique fashion of interacting with the endocannabinoid system. Rather than binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, it affects them more indirectly. A study conducted by the Department of Neuropharmacology at Fukuoka University reveals that “the neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol are independent of CB1 blockade,” suggesting that it doesn’t work by binding directly to the receptor and shouldn’t theoretically build a tolerance. (1)
CBD uses a different mechanism, one that allows it to encourage the production of endocannabinoids and improve the binding affinity of specific receptors in the body. Through this mechanism, CBD helps the endocannabinoid system to maintain balance (homeostasis) between all vital processes within the body (2).
So, rather than forcing the endocannabinoid system to become overactive and less responsive to the compound over time, CBD enhances its functioning by modulating the activity of its receptors and ensuring more efficient use of the body’s own cannabinoids.
CBD Tolerance vs THC Tolerance
People who use THC-rich cannabis may build a tolerance to the cannabinoid because it has a direct affinity to the CB1 receptor in the brain. This is why THC gets us high and CBD doesn’t. Daily use of THC causes the user to experience less pronounced effects with the same amount of cannabis.
As mentioned, THC tolerance happens on the cellular level. THC interacts with the brain by binding with CB1 receptors. When this process is repeated regularly, the cells try to maintain normal CB1 activity by reversing the THC’s effects. They trigger this effect either through desensitization, where CB1 receptors make it difficult for THC to bind with them, or through internalization, which is the process by which CB1 receptors hide into the cell’s interior. When internalized, the cells become entirely unresponsive (3).
How Fast Does CBD Tolerance Build?
Although it’s not possible to build a tolerance to CBD, we all have a different tolerance threshold that may change over time. In other words, you may need more CBD after two years of regular use, but it doesn’t necessarily derive from building a tolerance, but rather from the changes in your endocannabinoid system and overall body chemistry.
Tolerance and its fluctuation vary depending on the following factors:
- How much CBD you’re taking
- Experience with CBD
CBD Tolerance vs. CBD Dependence
The term tolerance often has a negative connotation; most people associate it with drug addiction. However, this word is often wrongly used instead of dependence, which is the accurate term to describe what happens to drug users over time.
- Tolerance is what you experience when your body becomes less sensitive to a compound over time. This is how your system builds a tolerance to THC and caffeine, among many other substances.
- Dependence is what happens when you go through withdrawal symptoms, which can be both physical and emotional. The symptoms may range from mild such as headaches, mood swings, to life-threatening, such as depression, vomiting, heart failure, and lethal overdose.
The good news for CBD users is that it doesn’t cause any of the above. CBD has a good safety profile; it comes with a few mild side effects when you take it regularly, including dry mouth, appetite fluctuation, or slight dizziness if you take high doses of CBD oil.
What Is CBD Reverse Tolerance?
Some studies suggest that CBD can cause reverse tolerance, where less of a compound is needed to achieve the desired effects due to long-term use (4). The studies so far have found that CBD can reduce the activation of CB1 without the need to desensitize the endocannabinoid system. This interaction is particularly important for CBD users because it can reduce the side effects and tolerance-forming potential of other cannabinoids, such as THC.
As we pointed out earlier, providing a definite answer to the tolerance-forming effects of CBD is difficult because there are so many factors at play, and there’s not enough research on humans to provide conclusive results.
CBD Tolerance In A Nutshell
It is common knowledge that people build a tolerance to different substances over time. However, research suggests this isn’t the case with CBD. Some studies have even found CBD oil to induce a reverse tolerance phenomenon, causing the user to need less CBD to experience the same results after regular use.
However, CBD’s unique mechanism of interaction with cannabinoid receptors makes it challenging to study the way it affects tolerance. CBD has over 60 molecular targets, so there’s still much we don’t know about this compound.
If your CBD oil isn’t working, it’s unlikely due to an increased intolerance. Although your threshold may change over time due to factors like age, weight, and metabolism, the problem usually lies in the quality of CBD.
To ensure you’re getting a legitimate product with a proven amount of CBD, make sure you’re buying CBD oil from reputable suppliers. There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD.
We hope this article has helped you clear up any confusion regarding CBD tolerance.
Can you build tolerance to CBD?
Current research indicates that you won’t build a tolerance to (cannabidiol) CBD because it doesn’t bind directly with the receptors of your endocannabinoid system.
Cannabinoids, like (tetrahydrocannabinol) THC, that do bind with these receptors have been found to produce increased tolerance to its effects after prolonged use. With THC, this happens because it binds with receptors in a similar way to the endocannabinoids already in your system. Your body responds by producing fewer endocannabinoids. As a result, you need to take more THC to create the same effect that you experienced previously.
Because CBD doesn’t bind directly with the endocannabinoid receptors in your body, it doesn’t produce the same decrease in endocannabinoid production. This means that once you’ve found the daily measure of CBD that works for you, you likely won’t ever need to increase it.
CBD reverse tolerance
Some people believe that CBD produces a reverse tolerance when taken regularly. This is when regular consumption of a substance results in an increased reaction over time. After long term use, this could mean that you don’t need to take as much to produce the same effects.
This could be true for CBD because of how it affects your endocannabinoid system. Instead of binding with receptors, it interacts with enzymes nearby. These enzymes are usually responsible for breaking down the human cannabinoid known as anandamide. Because CBD blocks them, the level of anandamide in your body increases. In time you may build up enough endocannabinoids to be able to use less CBD or not even need it at all.
Is there a limit to how much CBD you should take?
The UK Food Standards Agency recommends that healthy adults should not take more than 70mg of CBD per day. They advise this as a precaution until a broader range of studies are available. They also suggest that if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or taking medication you should not take CBD unless you’re under the supervision of a doctor.
What happens if you take CBD every day?
If you take CBD every day, it will increase the level of endocannabinoids in your body allowing them to keep your many systems in a healthy state of balance. You won’t develop a tolerance and you won’t get addicted.
According to a recent survey, 1.3 million people in the UK use CBD regularly and various studies have investigated its use for periods of up to seven months. Also, the World Health Organization describe CBD as ‘generally well-tolerated’ and report that ‘in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential’.
However, it’s also important to be aware of how you feel when taking any supplement regularly. Look out for any side effects from the CBD and stop taking it if you have any concerns. Some studies have reported a few cases of side effects including dry mouth, gastrointestinal discomfort, changes in appetite, low blood pressure, dizziness, and liver toxicity.
There is still a lot that we don’t know about CBD. Scientists and doctors are continuing to discover exactly how it works, why it benefits us and how best to use it. However, in the meantime, there is growing evidence to suggest that regular use is safe and that you won’t build a tolerance to its effects.
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Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.