We hear about it all the time in our head shop. Regular cannabis users developing an increase in tolerance and having to consume ever larger amounts of weed in order to achieve the same psychotropic effects.

By taking time off from cannabis the accumulated THC in the person’s body is able to dissipate and the body’s cannabinoid system returns to a more sensitive state. It is not unusual for people to experience the effects of cannabis far more strongly in the wake of a tolerance break.

Weed tolerance breaks, also known as T-breaks, are not a new idea. As far back as the 1960s and 70s people understood the value of taking a break from cannabis consumption now and then to reset their system.

A Personal Choice

Whether or not a person takes a cannabis break is entirely up to them. If they don’t they will still get high when they smoke but, as we mentioned, they will need greater and greater amounts to achieve the same effects.

The length of the cannabis break is also up to the individual, although experts strongly suggest that if you want to make the most of the experience that the break lasts at least a few weeks.

The Positive Effects of a Tolerance Break

The effectiveness of a tolerance break will rely in large part on the duration of the break. Shorter breaks are less effective, longer breaks more effective. But exactly what are the effects of a cannabis break?

  1. Enhanced sensitivity: After a tolerance break of several weeks most people report that their sensitivity to cannabis is greatly increased. In fact, many have to make a point to use less in order to avoid feelings of emotional discomfort and paranoia that were not there before the break.

  2. Greater mental acuity: Whether we like to admit it or not numerous studies have confirmed the hypothesis that smoking weed on a regular basis can negatively impact mental function. In the wake of a tolerance break many people report they are more mentally sharp and have enhanced short term memory.
  3. Savings: Cannabis is expensive. If you smoke on a regular basis you know the kind of bite it can take out of your finances. Once your tolerance break is over it’s likely you will enjoy some significant savings because you’ll achieve the effects you’re after with less herb.

While the effects we list here are typical of most people’s experience it should be noted that they are not guaranteed in every case. Factors such as the individual’s physiology, how long and how much they have been smoking and the length of the break they take can all impact the final outcome of the T-break.

Some people may experience little change (especially true if they take a short break) while others may need to take a break of 2 or 3 months in order to effectively reset their cannabinoid system. That said, the consensus among our headshop staff is that a break of at least 4 weeks is optimal.

What About Withdrawal Symptoms?

People who have been smoking a lot for a long time are often concerned that by going off weed ‘cold-turkey’ they will experience a slew of negative withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, this is not the case. Marijuana is non-addictive and will not produce the type of withdrawal symptoms a heavy drinker or heroin addict who suddenly quits would experience.

Does that mean there will not be any withdrawal symptoms? No. It is possible that the person may become irritable, they may have heightened feelings of anxiety and they may have a difficult time getting to sleep (at least over the first week or so). They may also experience headaches, a loss of appetite and strange or unsettling dreams.

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms a person experiences will depend in large part on how long they have been smoking and how much. But it is also possible a person will experience none of those effects.

You Get Out What You Put In

As is the case with most things in life the benefits you enjoy from your cannabis break will depend on how committed you are to seeing it through. If you are sneaking hits off your glass pipes on the side you’re not likely to experience any benefits. And then you will have gone through a several-week-long charade for no good reason.

That said, here’s what the average person can expect from a 4 week cannabis break.

Week 1

Week 1 is going to be the toughest. Even though herb is not addictive the fact is it’s been a big part of your life for some time. So you’re bound to feel a bit disoriented and anxious. And you may encounter some of those other withdrawal symptoms we talked about earlier. You’ll be tempted to spark up your heady glass in order to make the uncomfortable feelings go away. Don’t.

Week 2

If you’ve made it through week 1 without sneaking bowls on the side give yourself a pat on the back because the worst is behind you. It’s usually during week 2 that people start to feel more mentally clear and more physically capable, because they’re not gorging on junk food all the time. Typically, during week 2 people also start to sleep better and feel less anxious.

Week 3

By week 3 you will start feeling more like yourself. You’ll be sleeping better, you’ll lose the urge to go hang around the headshop, your appetite for good food will have returned and you’ll probably find it easier to do your job. You’re also likely to notice that by not spending hundreds of dollars a week on weed that you have money for other things.

Week 4

By week 4 you’ve become accustomed to life without weed. It’s during week 4 that some people look at their buddies sparking up their glass pipes all the time and start asking “What’s the point?” They then resolve to extend their marijuana break indefinitely. But that’s not a requirement.

The goal after all was not to quit for good, but to reset your system so that you get more from each bowl. If you want to quit, great! If you are excited to get back to enjoying one of your favorite pastimes, equally great! It’s entirely up to you.

A Word of Caution

If you are using cannabis to help treat an underlying medical condition make sure you talk to your doctor before taking a break. Even a 4 week break could have some unexpected and unwelcome effects and complicate your treatment going forward.

Trust the Smoking Buddha Head Shop in Parker for All Your Cannabis Needs

Most people who undertake a weed tolerance break are happy that they did. Some use it as a springboard to quitting weed altogether while others enjoy the physical, mental and financial benefits that come with taking a break, including the fact that they have more money to buy that custom bong they’ve had their eye on in our Parker head shop.