Ask the Elegant Stoner: How do I lower my tolerance?
Welcome back to another edition of our column Ask the Elegant Stoner, in which we answer a question from our readers (or the Internet at large), and provide some insight for you about an aspect of cannabis. Remember, as always, that this is an answer provided by a cannabis expert, not a medical doctor, so definitely talk to a real physician before taking any medical advice. This column is for entertainment purposes only — speak to someone with a medical degree before making any changes to your health!
If you have a question you need answered, feel free to send it along to us, and you might get to read it here in a future column. Today, we’re going back to our friends at r/AskTrees, where JoeStantheIV wants to know about the t-word:
I’ve been smoking daily for roughly the last 4 years now and I think my tolerance is completely saturated. It’s gotten to a point where I’m smoking 3g a day and hardly feel a buzz. The last true head high I got was last year when I took a 2month t-break and it was fucking amazing, but my tolerance shot right back up after a couple days.
I don’t want to take t-breaks bc they only help for a few days, if im lucky. Besides getting stronger product (drools at the thought of moon rocks) or t-breaks, how do I bring my tolerance back down? Or at least feel the effects of it more so I can actually get high again?
Great question! You can indeed build up a tolerance to cannabis if you use it a lot. While overdosing is not a problem most people have to worry about (though the science is still working on clarifying that), using a lot of cannabis can make it less effective, and as JoeStantheIV says, eventually even imbibing large quantities can barely provide a buzz. That’s no fun, and it can eventually be a waste of weed and the money you spent to acquire it.
Enter the t-break. A tolerance break away from the drug can help clear it out of your system, and remind you of what life is like when you’re not high out of your gourd. For more casual stoners, even just a few days’ break can help bring your tolerance back down a bit, but more dedicated stoners might need to stop smoking (or vaping or eating) for at least two weeks, or even a month if you really want to clear the THC out of your system. Taking a break can also just be good for your life — it definitely help you save product, and it allows you to be more mindful about where you’re at in the world.
We take tolerance breaks regularly — travel is usually a good time to schedule a tolerance break, as it helps get you out of your routine (and you might be traveling to states or countries where cannabis isn’t yet legal anyway). Even if you don’t travel often, setting up a t-break can help you accomplish your other goals in life — you might put a date on the calendar for your t-break to end, and then work towards a goal during that time (like losing weight, reading a book, or finishing a big project), allowing yourself to celebrate completing that goal by returning to a great, effective cannabis session.
Unfortunately, to directly answer your question, Joe, there aren’t really any other ways to lower your tolerance rather than stepping away from the drug. As a wise stoner once said, cannabis is the only drug that reminds you not to use it too much. If you find that you need to eat gobs of it or smoke lots of the drug to feel any big effects, then the only way to get back to square one is to step away for a while.
It is true that if you have been using cannabis a lot, even a short t-break might give you some symptoms of withdrawal — you might have some cravings to stick to your same patterns, and not using might make you a little moody, or cause some problems sleeping (depending on how much you have used lately). For those reasons, if you do take a break, make sure to take care of yourself. Pack up your gear and stash and get it out of sight, so you’re not tempted to use it mindlessly. Eat right and drink lots of water, and get as much sleep and exercise as you can manage (which is just plain healthy anyway). And get your mind on other things — work on a goal, like we said, or pick up a new hobby, or spend time with friends (if they’re stoners, tell them you’re on a t-break, and if they’re good friends, they’ll understand and help you out).
And as for your tolerance only lasting a few days when you get back, using less of the drug will help keep your tolerance down. With a low tolerance, even a few puffs can have you feeling good, and if you space your use out correctly, there’s a balance to find where you can enjoy the drug without overusing it. If you find that you’re using it more than you want to consistently, then maybe examine other areas of your life — are there issues that you need to deal with, or problems that you’re trying to avoid? Solving other issues or putting attention on other problems might also help solve your concerns with tolerance as well.
Cannabis is a great way to enhance a life. If you find that it’s ruining yours, or that it just doesn’t have the excitement that it once did, there’s absolutely nothing wrong (and a lot of things right) about taking a short break, or even a long one. That’s part of the beauty of this drug when compared to others — it’s something you can step away from when you need to. When you come back, you’ll get the enjoyment of rediscovering all of the great experiences that cannabis brought to your life in the first place.