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? If you've recently found your CBD oil ineffective or you've never had any luck with CBD oils, your dose may be to blame. However, there can also be other factors at play, including poor quality CBD oils or how you're taking CBD. Over time, as we introduce either plant-based or synthetic compounds into our bodies, we be
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 CBD Tolerance?
If you’ve recently found your CBD oil ineffective or you’ve never had any luck with CBD oils, your dose may be to blame. However, there can also be other factors at play, including poor quality CBD oils or how you’re taking CBD.
Over time, as we introduce either plant-based or synthetic compounds into our bodies, we begin to develop tolerance. Due to this phenomenon, you may need higher doses of the substance to get the same level of desired effect unlike THC.
We’ll break down everything you need to know about CBD tolerance, safety, and how to source quality CBD products in this article.
Can You Take Too Much CBD?
Yes, you can take too much CBD.
That being said, CBD has been proven safe, even in high quantities, and won’t lead to lethal overdose . But this isn’t to say you won’t experience any discomfort if you take too much. Any compound that alters the way you feel has the potential for adverse side-effects — though some much more severe than others.
Here are some common side effects of CBD overdose:
Thankfully, the aftermath of taking too much CBD wears off as soon as it’s out of your system, within 2–3 hours. However, to avoid any chances of discomfort, you should start with lower doses and build up gradually over time until you reach your desired effects.
Keep in mind, CBD can create undesired outcomes when taken with other medications, which is why you must speak with your doctor before using CBD oil to treat a condition.
5 Reasons Why CBD is Not Working for You
It can be frustrating to try numerous CBD products, only to find nothing but wasted money and disappointment in your purchases. There can be several contributing factors as to why your CBD is not working and here we’ll go over the common problems while offering solutions for each.
1. You’re Using Low-Quality CBD Products
The CBD industry is relatively new and poorly regulated. Unfortunately, there are companies out there selling fake CBD oil that contains very little CBD or harvesting CBD from contaminated hemp sources.
Before you purchase a CBD product, check for third-party lab tests and read online consumer reviews.
Reputable brands send samples of their products to non-biased, third-party labs to ensure quality control measures are met. These labs test for CBD content and potential contamination from harmful solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, or mycotoxins (mold).
You want to verify that the CBD content on the test matches and fewer cannabinoid receptors what’s labeled on the bottle and that the extract is free from contamination that can render the CBD ineffective or potentially dangerous.
2. You Need To Find The Right Dose
If you’re just getting started with CBD and you’re not getting the desired effects, chances are you haven’t found the right dose. The tricky thing about dosing is that everyone responds to CBD differently. Your ideal dose will depend on various factors, including genetics, experience with medical cannabis, metabolism, and health conditions.
You can expect to experiment with your CBD doses, but start with smaller amounts and build up gradually over a few days until you find your Goldilocks zone. It may help to make note of your doses in a journal or your notes app on your phone to track how much CBD you’re taking.
3. You Need To Use CBD Consistently
While CBD has been proven effective for many health benefits, it’s not an overnight fix-all compound.
People will often buy CBD oil thinking it works like Tylenol for instant pain relief — but it just doesn’t work that way. Aside from finding the appropriate dose unique to you, it can take CBD days or several weeks of THC tolerance before you experience a noticeable difference in how you feel.
CBD isn’t particularly good at binding to receptors that activate an immediate response. Consistent use of CBD oil maintains the body’s endocannabinoid system function by making the receptors more sensitive to stimulation from internal cannabinoids.
In addition to giving prescription medications CBD some time to work, we recommend taking your CBD at the same time each day with your vitamins for overall health support or an hour before bed as part of your winding down routine if you’re looking to use CBD to improve sleep quality.
4. You’re Using The Wrong Delivery Method
Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, which allows CBD users to enjoy different delivery methods for consuming CBD from CBD oils, capsules, sprays, gummies, and skincare.
However, the effects you’re looking to experience with CBD can depend on the delivery method you choose. For example, topical CBD formulas like lotions and salves work well for relieving localized muscle aches from a strenuous gym session, but it won’t help support a normal digestive process or mood because it doesn’t enter the bloodstream.
Do you find vaping CBD products to work well initially, but it seems to taper off quickly? This is because CBD inhalation is the fastest delivery method as it bypasses the digestive system that can breakdown the active compounds before entering the bloodstream. However, the effects of smoking CBD also wear off faster.
If this is the issue, consider taking a break from smokable products and use edible forms of CBD instead such as capsules, oils, or gummies.
5. You’ve Built A Tolerance To CBD
It’s possible that you’ve built a tolerance to CBD when you feel like your CBD product isn’t working as well as it used to.
Long term CBD users are likely to experience tolerance and have to increase their doses to get the same level of effects. A high tolerance can make CBD use expensive. However, it’s possible to reduce your threshold if you take a CBD tolerance break.
A tolerance break means you stop taking the substance you’ve built a tolerance to in order to let it completely run its course from your system. There isn’t a scientific rule for how long you should take a break from CBD — but many people report 3-7 days seems to do the trick to reset their system.
Tolerance breaks, much like dosing CBD, is an individual affair that requires experimentation and observation. It may be helpful to record your doses before you go on a tolerance break so you can have a reference to look back on for future dosing with a more accurate assessment of your condition before, during, and after you temporarily abstain from CBD use.
Here’s what to record if you should decide to take a CBD tolerance break: how long you’ve been using CBD, your doses before the break, symptoms, how many days of tolerance break, symptoms during break, doses after the break, increasing doses gradually, note any changes in symptoms or side-effects.
How Fast Does CBD Tolerance Build?
It’s difficult to say how quickly CBD oil tolerance builds because it’s different for every individual and your CBD doses may fluctuate depending on the state of your health and your current lifestyle.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating homeostasis (balance) in the body, which means you may need more or less CBD at any given time. Dosing CBD oil that’s right for you comes with a lot of trial and practice — so there’s no one size fits all approach to dosing.
Tolerance depends on a variety of factors, including:
CBD Tolerance vs. CBD Dependence
Defining Substance Tolerance
The word tolerance is often associated with drug addiction and the negative consequences of a condition called dependence that can be dangerous. Let’s quickly run through the differences of substance tolerance and dependence.
Tolerance is what occurs when your body loses sensitivity to a compound to elicit the desired outcome. Just as you can build a tolerance to caffeine, your system can build a tolerance to CBD.
The effect of tolerance makes users consume more of the substance to achieve the same level of impact because their body has lost sensitivity to the active compound.
Defining Substance Dependence & Withdrawals
Dependence is what happens when a user goes through withdrawal symptoms, which can include both physical and emotional disruption.
Withdrawal symptoms can be as mild as headaches, moodiness, or fatigue due to caffeine withdrawals, or more life-threatening, such as a fast heart rate, muscle pain, depression, and vomiting from withdrawals.
These severe withdrawals create a dependence on the substance in order to avoid adverse symptoms. The body becomes dependent on the compound and now needs it to reach a level of homeostasis (balance).
When it comes to CBD, you can build a tolerance. However, severe withdrawal symptoms are highly unlikely to develop, even for long term users . The most discomfort felt in a randomized CBD trial that investigated what happens when users take an abrupt break from regular use included headaches and diarrhea.
You’re not likely to experience a CBD dependence because it doesn’t produce withdrawal symptoms when you’re not using it.
What Is Reverse Tolerance?
Reverse tolerance is when you require less of a compound to reach the desired effects — opposite to building tolerance. You become more sensitive to the compound, which can be a positive or negative, depending on the compound.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD has this reverse tolerance effect with long-term use, but there’s still a lot of medical research needed to confirm this. It’s more likely that it takes a long time to develop a tolerance to CBD in general because of it’s unique interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
Our body’s receptors rely on chemical messengers to send signals for actions within the body. Most compounds that build tolerance in the body bind with these receptors to elicit a specific action. With prolonged exposure to the chemical messenger, the receptors lose their sensitivity.
CBD isn’t efficient at binding to CB1 or CB2 receptors, like its famous psychoactive counterpart, THC is.
Continued use of THC has been shown to increase the body’s tolerance . However, consuming CBD with THC has shown to improve THC interactions, which is one of the reasons that have lead researchers to believe that CBD tolerance either isn’t real or there is a reverse tolerance occurring.
CBD doesn’t directly unlock actions on the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Rather, CBD promotes receptor activity, which helps facilitate the binding of the cannabinoids to receptors, and CBD prevents the breakdown of internally produced cannabinoids.
To Wrap Up: CBD Tolerance
Can you build a tolerance to CBD? Yes, it’s possible.
However, CBD’s unique interaction with cannabinoid receptors makes it difficult to study the mechanisms for tolerance. CBD has such varied effects on individuals long term that people may experience the phenomenon of reverse tolerance, but there’s still more research to be done to substantiate this.
What do you do if your CBD product is no longer working as well as it should or if you’ve never had any luck with CBD?
Make sure you’re buying CBD from reputable brands. There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD — steer clear from brands offering too-good-to-be-true medical claims.
Look for brands that opt for non-biased third-party lab testing to prove the product’s CBD content and safety.
Additionally, you should experiment with your doses and delivery methods (as your needs may change over time), and if you’ve built a tolerance to CBD, it’s a good idea to take a break once in a while.
Luckily, CBD is a well-tolerated compound, and there are many different delivery methods you can experiment with to help you find the most desired outcome. If you’re interested in learning more about CBD, visit our blog for more resources.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.