Cannabis Consumption and Tolerance Breaks, Explained

I’m in the middle of T-break, short for tolerance break. 

Every year, I pick 14 – 30 days to take a conscious step back from my cannabis consumption. I do this to evaluate my consumption and re-establish boundaries with plant cannabis. I started doing this a few years ago, when my cannabis consumption migrated from occasional to daily. 

What is a Tolerance Break?

A tolerance break, also called a T-break, is a break from consuming cannabis products for a predetermined amount of time. 

People take a tolerance break because they’re no longer getting the effects they want out of cannabis. Regular consumption of THC for some, can dull the experience and can condition the CB1 receptors to artificially high cannabinoid levels. Taking a t-break resets your system and allows you to experience cannabis “for the first time again” when you come back to it. 

Medically, your CB1 receptors only need 48 hours to reset, but THC takes at least 3 weeks to detox from your system fully. Most t-breaks are between 14 and 30 days, so you can feel the full effects of letting it leave your system (and then coming back again!) But if the idea of taking 30 days away from cannabis is too much to handle, start with just two days.

Why Taking a Tolerance Break May be a Good Idea?

Cannabis brings so much light and joy into my life when I consume it intentionally. But when I fall into habitual consumption instead of intentional consumption, it can become numbing rather than elevating. 

I take a tolerance break because I need it. Not because I want it, or because it’s easy, but because it’s necessary in order for me to have a healthy relationship with this plant. I know myself. I’m the type of person who always wants more: one more video on TikTok, one more bite, and one more hit. 

I know it’s time for a T-break when I’m smoking all the time. If I find myself smoking regardless of what I have to do in a day, or multiple times in a day just out of habit, I know it’s time to take a step back. 

Like I said above, it’s not easy and it’s not fun. Going cold turkey for 30 days on a daily habit is hard. I wake up craving a joint, I want to reach for the bong after a long day, and I stare longingly at the edibles in my pantry. 

The first two weeks are the hardest, when my sleep patterns are disrupted, my brain is cranky, and my fingers itch to hold something smokeable. But the sense of pride I feel at the end – and the rush of getting high for the first time all over again- makes it worth it every time. 

Should you Take a Tolerance Break?

Deciding to take a T-break is a personal decision, and no one can make that choice but you. However, there are signs that it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate your relationship with cannabis. 

Consider this:

  • When was the last time you went more than a day without smoking cannabis? 
  • Have you canceled plans to stay home and smoke? 
  • Can you remember the last time you got through the day without cannabis?
  • Do you wake up at night to smoke? 
  • Are you neglecting work, school, family, or friends for cannabis?
  • Do you rely on cannabis to numb your emotions? 
  • Is habitual weed use stunting progress in your goals? 
  • Does the idea of taking a t-break make your brain freak out?  
  • Are you blowing all of your money on cannabis? 

Only you know if your cannabis consumption is getting out of control. But consider your answers to the above, and ask yourself if you’re truly consuming cannabis to be the best version of yourself or if it’s turning into a crutch. 

I get it- no one likes to admit their cannabis consumption has gotten out of control. But like all medicines, cannabis can be used in the wrong way. It can be a tool to numb instead of feel, deny instead of admit, and cope instead of heal. Only you know if you need to take a T-break. But let me ask you this: if you can’t imagine going one day without cannabis, don’t you think you need to? 

Who Shouldn’t take a Tolerance Break

None of the above applies to people who consume cannabis as a medicine, have a prescription, or consume it as part of a doctor-approved plan. If cannabis treats your PTSD, epilepsy, or other medical condition, a T-break could do you more harm than good. 

Taking a T-break applies to people who consume the plant mainly for recreational purposes. Yes, the plant is medicine, and it helps with stress, anxiety, sleep, and the like. But you know whether or not you’re using the guide of medicine to cover up a problematic dependence. 

Tips For a Successful Tolerance Break 

Nothing lasts forever- not even a 30-day T-break (though it may feel like forever on day 2!) Here are some of the things I do during my t-break.

  • Set boundaries around my cannabis. My T-break means no THC and no smoking. But it doesn’t mean I can’t stimulate my endocannabinoid system in different ways. 
  • Incorporate cannabis in different ways. Using a CBD topical or tincture won’t give you the same results as smoking, which may be cause for using it during your T-break. My CBD topicals keep me from relying too heavily on pain pills for muscle aches, soreness, and stiffness. A daily full-spectrum CBD tincture helps me stay focused without smoking. 
  • Find other ways to reward yourself. Cannabis is an easy way to reward or cope, but there are other choices too. Treat yourself to take out, buy that pair of shoes, or indulge in new skincare to feel rewarded and comforted without lighting up. 
  • Write about it. T-breaks can be hard, and if you can’t examine where your feelings are coming from, you can’t deal with them. When you get angry, stressed, or frustrated, try journaling to examine where these feelings are coming from and how you can deal with them without cannabis.
  • Tell other people. I can’t be accountable for things if no one knows I’m doing it. Telling other people about your T-break gives you a support system to turn to when you need it. 

My T-break ends in February, and you better believe I’m looking forward to that first bong hit. Going 30 days without weed isn’t easy, but making a promise to myself and following through keeps me accountable and helps me maximize all the good that cannabis brings into my life. 

Are you taking a T-break? I’d love to know how it’s going! Comment below.

Jessica Reilly is copywriter, content strategist and cannabis aficionado. She combines her passion for cannabis with her talent for writing at Jessica Reilly, Writer and runs the Cannabis Creative Blog. Connect with her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

Written by: Jessica Riley

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

Sponsored by:

Herb of Life Cultivation, LLC

Peacock/ Wunderkind CBD

The Botanical Joint

Just Bee Kynd 

I Slang Sea Moss   

The Bitchy Hippie

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