Building a tolerance to any kind of medication is a hassle. Although, most pharmaceutical drugs have been monitored for years now, and physicians are able to evaluate the tolerance of an individual towards most pill/drug.
With cannabis, on the other hand, the evaluation of and individual tolerance is a bit foggy (pun intended). From experience, most cannabis smokers will agree that the more regularly you smoke the harder it gets to have the psychoactive effect of marijuana (THC).
But what about CBD? How does it interact with our system? And how is this relationship evolving through repeated use?
First, let's dive a little deeper in tolerance, what does it mean? And how you can experience it?
Tolerance is defined by how much cannabis, alcohol, medication, etc. you can handle without being actively affected. Everyone has a different tolerance break regarding the substances listed earlier. Tolerance is usually determined by our gender, height, and weight. Genetics can play a role regarding tolerance as well, it is not a perfect science.
How to know if you have built a tolerance to a substance? If you have a tolerance to a substance you will feel the need to use more of that said substance in order to get the effects you first got, when you started using it. Tolerance is a completely different concept than addiction or dependence. Tolerance only depicts the fact that, over time, your body needs more, to get the expected effect when using a drug / medication.
3 tolerance mechanisms:
- Cellular mechanism, the cells becomes less responsive to the substance
- Metabolic mechanism, less of the substance gets to the site of interaction
- Behavioral mechanism, the user becomes accustomed to the substance effects
Now, we can take a closer look at THC. As mentioned earlier generally individuals with the habit of smoking weed tend to build a tolerance. Moreover, what cannabis users are reporting is an irregular effect. As specified above tolerance is not reflected the same way for everyone. But an interesting thing about marijuana is that switching strains can "reinitiate" your tolerance. Regular smokers also take "T-breaks" to bring their tolerance back to a "lower-level".
How does THC tolerance happen? THC interacts with our cells. It binds with our CB1 receptors located in the brain. When those CB1 receptors enter in contact with THC regularly the cells will attempt to dismiss the effect of THC.
The CB1 receptors have two ways to reverse the effects of THC:
- Sitization, the CB1 receptors are still binding to the cannabinoid but less easily.
- Nalization, the CB1 receptor is "transferred" inside the cell, this way the receptors are completely unresponsive.
CBD seems to act differently on our cells when absorbed. It doesn't bind to our CB1 receptor, on the contrary, it makes them less reactive to other cannabinoids. This phenomenon helps our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to slow down and "relax". Most imbalance in the ECS can be related to overactivity. When it is hyper-active the ECS can be linked to undesired conditions like anxiety and overeating.
Because its intercommunication with CB1 receptors is distinct from THC, we can't build a tolerance to CBD. In fact, because it "slows down" our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) it seems to have a reverse tolerance effect. Meaning you need less of it to feel its original effects. CBD has the ability to stimulate our ECS to produce more cannabinoids in view of this, it clarifies why you would need less and less of it.
To sum up, again and again, more research is needed to have a clear and defined answer. But from what we know today, we cannot create a tolerance to CBD. THC, however, interferes differently with our system and can create a tolerance when used frequently.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are in no way intended to treat or diagnose any physical ailment or disease. Please consult your Doctor before adding CBD or any supplement to your diet. Most workplace and competitive sports drug screens focus on delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and do not screen for Cannabinol (CBD) or other legal and natural hemp-based compounds. Be advised, studies have shown that consuming hemp foods or oils can cause a positive result when screening urine and blood specimens. Therefore, if you are subject to any form of drug testing or screening. We recommended (as does the United States Armed Services) that you DO-NOT ingest CBD or hemp oil before consulting your healthcare practitioner or your drug screening testing company or employer.