It happens to every stoner. Once you've been smoking cannabis for a while, you develop a tolerance. In the early stages it's great: you can smoke more, it's easier to control your highs, and you can even keep up with friends. After that point, you tolerance level will exceed to a point where you just can't get high. You then smoke more, spend more money, and before you know it, you're going through bags a day.
The worst part about this is the dependency point. Be very cautious on your use as if this plateau continues, the negative effects of not smoking the same quantity threshold you've become adapted to become apparent: difficulty sleeping, restlessness, irritability, and frankly – boredom. Thankfully, unlike other nefarious substances, these side effects of cannabis withdrawal don't last forever and can be overcome.
To avoid reaching this point, here are six ways to reduce your marijuana and THC tolerance in order to save you money, better your high, and reduce your dependancy:
1. Take a tolerance break
For daily smoker and stoners, this may seem unrealistic at first glance – you might even scroll past this suggestion. Some may say it sucks. The reality is, the core way to reduce your tolerance is to put distance between you and cannabis and take control of your desires. The idea of a tolerance break may seem daugnting at first, but there are two rules of thumbs to keep in mind to make this process easy and to give you clear objectives to work towards
The Four Day Rule
After four days of no cannabis consumption, your body will have lost most psychological dependencies on consistent cannabis use. From our experience and long-time stoners we've interviewed, always give yourself at least four days. After the four day mark, you'll notice your daily thoughts about smoking, or hankering to blaze up will continue to diminish day by day.
That being said, these four days can be tough. If you make it through to the other side and bite down the urge, exceeding four days will feel like a breeze for each day that follows. Give yourself four days. If you can't, be mindful of how that dependancy affects you.
The 21-Day Sprint
Once you've surpassed four days, every day gets easier and easier. But when should you stop? A second rule of thumb, often followed by ex-cigarette smokers, nicotine users, and especially fitness enthusiasts, is setting the marker at 21 days.
After 21 days, your body will have adapted to the complete lack of cannabis. You may not pass a drug test at this stage, but you'll hit a point where your daily thoughts about cannabis will have subsided to minimal levels. Ex-cigarette smokers give themselves 21 days because you will have replaced an undesirable habit with a good one, and the good habit (not smoking) will have become the norm. Your new habits are a routine and your old ones are an after thought – and that's a good thing.
To help in this period, replacing your physical actions of reaching for a bong, joint, or vape with another action like drinking water, playing with a fidget spinner, or even exercise helps mitigate any distress.
Remember: always, always give yourself four days. After that point, assess how you feel. If you feel yourself coming out of the haze, do yourself a favour and give yourself a 21-day sprint.
Exercising not only enhances your high right after consuming cannabis, it also brings down your tolerance as well. The science behind this is that THC is fat soluble. If you've ever made edibles, you'll know fat is a key ingredient in enabling your body to feel the effects THC consumed by eating.
When you're exercising, you burn fat cells. Some who try and pass a drug test may even exercise directly before. Try and get at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day and watch the effects. Break the stereotype that cannabis makes you lazy! Long distance runners, powerlifters, and swimmers like Michael Phelps all use cannabis to help them recover faster and enter a flow state when performing.
3. Smoke less throughout the day
If you're the type that smokes 20 bowls a day, you should definitely cut back. Some reading this may think that's an absurd amount, others may find that's exactly on par with their daily consumption. The more you smoke during the day, the more you'll need to smoke to maintain that high. Have you ever felt that the first hit you have in a day is always the strongest? Save that for when it matters most – like relaxing after work, before a moving, or ending the day. The more you smoke in a day, the more diminishing returns you'll get from each bowl.
4. Don't wake and bake
You might be thinking, waking and baking is the favourite part of your morning routine. Some may feel it's what makes you ready to face the day and increases your mood. The disappointing fact about the wake and bake is that smoking early in the day makes it so you have to smoke more through the day to maintain that first high. Try waiting until the afternoon, after you've eaten lunch or a large amount of food. That will prolong the effects and not rattle your empty stomach. It's like drinking alcohol on an empty stomach: it'll hit you harder and faster, but expect a crash unless you keep drinks (or bowls) flowing. This tip really works. After smoking that first bowl, your high can last 2-3+ rather than 30-40 minutes of consistent bowl smoking.
5. Smoke smaller amounts
If you don't want to cut down on the number of times you smoke in a day, reducing the quantity of each smoke can provide a similar effect – although not as strong as reducing the frequency. If you normally smoke bong bowls, save that for the evening and smoke a pipe instead. Those who use vaporizers know that they get the most value out of a tiny bowl – almost cutting in half the amount of weed you'll need to get the same high. Change up your smoking method, and smoke less!
Smoking dabs increases your tolerance the highest out of any method because of the high concentration of THC. If you're a dabber, cut back the number or size of your dabs. Better yet, smoke flower in the day and dab at night.
6. Change the times that you smoke
There is psychology behind this last tip on reducing your cannabis and THC tolerance. If you're used to smoking after a meal or on the dot at 4:20 every day, try changing the times you smoke. When you smoke at the same time every day or after a specific activity like eating or sleeping, then your brain becomes conditioned to that stimulus. If you've taken a psychology class, you'll recognize this from Pavlov's experiments with ringing a bell before feeding dogs – triggering them to salivate and anticipate what's to come. When that bell is rung or the clock strikes 4:20, your body will have the same conditioned response like Pavlov's dogs – unless you take control and adjust your routines.
This results in again, smoking more and more to achieve the same high your body is anticipating. When you smoke at different times and your body clock isn't expecting it, you'll get higher. Give it a try!
After diving in to each of these above, we've found the most effective by a long shot is taking a tolerance break. If this doesn't suit your routine, cut out the waking and baking next. These two combined will save you money and make smoking far more enjoyable. If you can't describe the way cannabis makes you feel, or why you choose to smoke and smoke out of habit instead, then perhaps it is time to take a break. Reflect on the way cannabis makes you feel the first time again, and this will shape and bring control to your favourite activity!