T Breaks – What they are and why you need them
Medical Cannabis is a life changing medicinal for millions of people. It is safe, all natural, non-addictive, and effective. But sometimes patients might notice that they are needing more to get the same effect as before, others think they must need to try a new product, and sometimes they feel like it just isn’t working any more. The truth is if your medical marijuana is not working like it used to, it is probably time for a tolerance break, or T break.
Why isn’t my marijuana working anymore?
Daily use of marijuana results in our body becoming resistant to the effects. More marijuana becomes necessary in order to maintain the desired results. This is because our body’s cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are saturated thus limiting the ability to absorb the cannabinoids in marijuana such as THC and CBD. For example, when the THC runs out of CB1 receptors to bind to it becomes less effective.
There is nowhere for it to bind so no more receptors are activated to initiate the wanted response. Furthermore, while not completely understood, the brain adapts to the presence of cannabinoids so that to feel the same, higher doses are required.
What is a Tolerance Break (T break)?
A T break is when you stop using marijuana in order to open up your endocannabinoid receptors in an attempt to reset your system and decrease your tolerance. As marijuana is metabolized (eliminated) by your body, the receptors it was bound to open up.
However, when you use it again, they are instantly bound again. AS you use more, there is nowhere for the THC to bind to making it less effective. If you stop using marijuana, each day more of those receptors will become available as the marijuana that is still in your system is metabolized or eliminated from your body.
Let’s say you take 30 days off, the time it takes for your body to eliminate marajuana completely from your system, all of your endocannabinoid receptors would be open. This means you are a marijuana virgin once again, a newbie to marijuana.
You will likely need less product to get your desired effect. Marijuana will now be more effective and you will need less. Your tolerance will be gone. Let’s say you take two weeks off from using marijuana, half or more of your receptors will be open now and receptive to marijuana. Even this shorter break can make marijuana more effective and often at lower doses.
How Do I Take a T Break?
There is no clear evidence what amount of time abstaining from marijuana use makes for the most effective T Break. One research article found that endocannabinoid receptors started to reset after 48 hours leading some to say 2 days is enough. However, if you have been using marrijuana for a long time or consume large amounts of THC, you likely need to take a longer break. Ideally, 21-28 days will provide the most noticeable effect.
Think about it, if it takes 30 days to clear, it will take that long to reset the entire system and open up all of those receptors. Some people think that cutting back will do the job or taking off one day a week. But really that is not going to reset the system and open those receptors for the marijuana to bind to.
This can be really really hard, especially for medicinal users who rely on marijuana to get through their day. The best way is to plan your break. Set a date and time frame. Choose a time that will be less stressful. For heavy users starting with a wean before stopping completely can be helpful. If you can make it 21 days, you will definitely feel the benefit, but if you can only make it a week, some break is better than none.
Don’t get discouraged. Some have found using CBD during a T Break can help mitigate the symptoms and help them through. Others find meditation, acupuncture, exercise, and other alternative therapies helpful. For medicinal patients, you may need to switch to another medication during your marijuana abstinence. Your medical marijuana doctor in conjunction with your primary treating doctor should also be able to help you.
Every individual’s response to both marijuana therapy as well as marijuana withdrawal is different. So talk to your doctor. At Cannabis Care Consultants, I am always available to my patients especially with medical questions regarding symptoms, tolerance build up, or T Breaks. This is one of the many benefits of having a relationship with your marijuana medicine doctor and why it is important to choose a legitimate medical practice for your marijuana certification.
A Word of Caution
During a T break, you may become irritable, anxious, restless – symptoms similar to a nicotine withdrawal. This is not anything like opioid withdrawal. It is not dangerous like stopping benzodiazepines or alcohol cold turkey. It is safe, but sometimes annoying for you and your loved ones that have to deal with you. These effects vary among users but are generally not severe and are manageable.
After a T Break, use extra caution when returning to marijuana. A lower dose may produce the same or stronger response so don’t plan on driving or any other activity that might be danger while experiencing the psychogenic (high) effects of marijuana. Start low and find your happy place again. Depending on the duration of your break, you will not only find the product to be more effective but also that you might need less to achieve the desired effect.
Tags: Medical Marijuana, Why Doesn’t My Medical Marijuana Work Like It Used To