The activation of CB1 receptors by THC initiates these processes. As CB1 receptors get frequently activated, they become less associated with the components that carry out the receptors effects. CB1 receptors are like a baseball pitcher who throws a lot of pitches. Eventually, the pitcherвЂ™s muscles canвЂ™t carry out the task of throwing the ball as hard as it once could. This weakening strength is observed by the coach who then pulls the pitcher out of the game.
But hereвЂ™s the thing: if you stop, the brain can recover. And it does so impressively quickly, generally within weeks.
Compared to other recreational drugs, cannabis is unique in the speed at which the brain вЂњrecoversвЂќ following a period of abstinence. Recovery is notably difficult to measure, but we can look at changes in behavior, brain function, and brain chemical receptor levels as a proxy.
As a result, if you continue to consume THC, it will have less of an effect on brain functioning because there are fewer receptors for it to act on.
The difference between the two is that desensitized receptors are still available for THC to bind, but when it does bind, its impact is lower than it once was. Internalized receptors are no longer available for THC to bind since theyвЂ™re brought into the brain cell from the surface where they stay or get broken down into smaller parts.
After a week of THC exposure, the THC injections stopped, and the rate of recovery was measured. Behavior normalized in less than two weeks, and tolerance to THCвЂ™s sedative effect recovered quicker than its effect on pain. So the brain mechanisms that promote quicker tolerance are also most resilient and recover quicker from a period of abstinence.
Similarly, there are proteins in the cell that act like the coach to detect weak receptors and pull them from the game. Desensitized CB1 receptors are detected by components within the cell that tag the receptor with a phosphate group. This is like the pitcher telling the coach to take them out of the game. This phosphate group signals to В additional components within the cell to remove the receptor from the cellвЂ™s surface. At this point, both the pitcher and the CB1 receptor are no longer active players.
If youвЂ™re a regular cannabis user, how quickly you become tolerant to THC (which reflects CB1 receptor internalization) depends on the dose and frequency you consume, your use history, and your DNA. Obviously, these factors vary greatly across individuals, so our best understanding of the time course for tolerance development comes from studies in mice.
But if you repeatedly expose the brain to THC over a couple days or weeks, the brain takes action to minimize the increase in CB1 receptor activity; the brain fights back so that normal CB1 activation patterns are preserved. To do so, CB1 receptors are reduced, their effects weakened, or genetic expression altered. These mechanisms work to dampen the impact of THC so that in order to achieve the initial high, one must consume more. This is tolerance.
Learn about how THC tolerance develops and why your tolerance to cannabis recovers quickly once you take a break.
If that’s not an option, consider switching to products that are lower in THC or reducing your cannabis consumption.
It’s pretty normal to develop a tolerance to cannabis if you use it often. In most cases, taking a T break for a week or two will reset your tolerance.
The less cannabis you use, the less likely you are to develop a tolerance. Use the minimum you need to feel comfortable, and try not to overindulge.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another chemical found in cannabis. It doesn’t seem to lead to depletion of CB1 receptors, meaning it doesn’t cause you to develop tolerance the way THC does.
If possible, use cannabis less frequently. This can help to both reset your tolerance and prevent it from coming back again in the future.
- mood swings
- cognitive impairment
- diminished appetite
- stomach problems, including nausea
- intense, vivid dreams
Some people find that a few days does the trick. Most online forums advise that 2 weeks is the ideal time frame.
- Have an open and honest conversation with your healthcare provider.
- Call SAMHSA’s national helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357), or use their online treatment locater.
- Find a support group through the Support Group Project.
Tolerance refers to your body’s process of getting used to cannabis, which can result in weaker effects.
If you've been consuming weed for a while, you've probably developed a high tolerance along the way. Here's how to reset it and keep it from happening again.