CBD Tolerance: Can you build a tolerance to CBD?
Much like other substances we ingest in our everyday lives, CBD users can build up a tolerance to the cannabinoid compound over time.
So, just as you might need more coffee to get the same energy boost after drinking it every day for a week, you might need to take more CBD to experience the effects to which you are accustomed.
This doesn't mean that CBD isn't working anymore or that you're doing something wrong – it's just a natural process that happens when our bodies get used to something.
If you are experiencing lessened effects of CBD, or are interested in adjusting your body's tolerance level, check out this guide covering everything there is to know about CBD tolerance.
The science behind CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in cannabis or hemp plants. Also known as a phytocannabinoid, CBD interacts with our bodies through endocannabinoid system receptors. These receptors are found throughout our entire body, including our brain, organs, and central nervous system.
According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), CBD activates several receptor types throughout our body: CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system and brain, CB2 receptors found in the peripheral nervous system, enzymes involved with metabolism, muscle and joint function, fertility, and more.
It's worth noting that while the use of the more well-known cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) also interacts with our endocannabinoid receptors, it does so in a way that causes psychoactive effects or the "high" associated with marijuana use. On the other hand, CBD is non-psychoactive and won't get you high.
Different types of tolerance
Tolerance can be classified into two different types: metabolic tolerance and functional tolerance.
Metabolic tolerance occurs when the human body loses efficiency in breaking down and metabolizing a substance. For example, if you're drinking alcohol every day, your liver will eventually become less effective at metabolizing it, resulting in lower blood alcohol concentration.
Functional tolerance is when our body becomes less responsive to the effects of a substance. So, if you're taking CBD every day, your body may eventually become less responsive to its effects, and you'll need more of it to experience the same health benefits.
While both types of tolerances could be the culprit for reduced CBD efficacy, it's more likely that functional tolerance is the culprit for reduced CBD effects because CBD hasn't been shown to decrease the efficiency of our metabolic and receptor systems. In other words, our bodies just get used to having it in our system – we need more of it because we simply become less sensitive to its presence.
How can CBD tolerance increase?
CBD tolerance is unavoidable if you engage in regular use of the cannabinoid regularly whether to relieve sore muscles and joints after regular workouts or to help with more serious issues like chronic pain or epilepsy. Just like with any other substance, our bodies will get used to it and eventually require more of the cannabinoid to experience the same effects.
This is because when CBD enters our system, it interacts with enzymes in our liver that are responsible for metabolizing drugs. CBD is a "fat-soluble" compound, which means it's metabolized differently than other substances like alcohol or caffeine. When we consume CBD, it's stored in our fatty tissues and liver before being slowly released into our system.
This extended-release is why CBD tends to have long-lasting effects, but it also means that our body has more time to build up a tolerance to the cannabinoid.
Factors that indicate a tolerance to CBD
If you are unsure whether the lessened effects of the CBD you consume for health and wellness are a result of higher tolerance or inferior quality hemp CBD oil extracts, here are some factors to take into account:
- You find that you need to use more CBD products than before to achieve the desired effects
- CBD effects aren't as strong as they used to be
- It takes longer for CBD effects to kick in
While it's not uncommon to develop a higher tolerance to CBD over time, it's important to ensure that the products you're using are high quality and potent. Inferior quality CBD products might not be giving you the effects you want because they contain a lower concentration of cannabinoids or have not been extracted using the best method.
How to fix a tolerance to CBD
If you're interested in reducing your tolerance to CBD, there are some things you can do. Changing how you use CBD products is a great place to start, especially if you've been using it in the same form for a while.
For example, if you usually take edibles or other CBD gummies, try using a topical CBD product or vape oil instead. You can also switch between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and pure CBD isolate products.
If you're using CBD for medical purposes and have developed a tolerance to it, talk to your doctor about other treatment options. They might be able to recommend a different dosage or form of CBD that would be more effective for you.
It's also important to take a break from CBD every now and then, especially if you're using it daily. This will give your body a chance to reset and could help reduce your tolerance to the cannabinoid.
Will I have high CBD tolerance if I have a high THC tolerance?
If you consume marijuana regularly, you might be wondering if your tolerance to THC will affect your tolerance to CBD.
The answer is - not necessarily. While they are both cannabinoids found in cannabis, they interact with our bodies differently. This means that you could have a high tolerance to THC but not CBD, or vice versa.
Furthermore, even though both marijuana and hemp are members of the Cannabis sativa plant family, the CBD content in THC-rich marijuana cannabis plants is much lower than the CBD concentration found in the hemp cannabis plants used to make CBD products in the UK. Therefore, it's unlikely that your THC tolerance would significantly affect your CBD tolerance.
Why do I feel weird when stopping CBD to reset my tolerance?
Withdrawal symptoms after stopping CBD are infrequent, but they can happen. These side effects are usually mild and include headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Often, this can indicate a CBD dependence, which is different from tolerance to CBD.
A dependence on CBD can occur after long-term use when your body has relied on the cannabinoid for so long that it has grown accustomed to using it, just as it would to caffeine. This means that you will experience mild withdrawal symptoms if you stop using CBD completely, even if you have a high tolerance to it.
Fortunately, it's easy to reset your sensitivity to CBD and avoid dependence on it if you use the cannabinoid regularly. Simply stop using the cannabinoid for a few days or weeks, then start again with a lower dose than before. You could also swap between full-spectrum CBD oil tinctures and isolate products, as these contain a varying amount of CBD and other hemp compounds.
Does high Endocannabinoid System (ECS) tolerance affect CBD use?
Technically, you can develop a tolerance to any substance that interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is because your body naturally produces endocannabinoids - endogenous cannabinoids - which bind to cannabinoid receptors and help regulate various bodily functions.
If you use CBD or THC on a regular basis, your body might start producing less endocannabinoids. This is because it assumes that you're already getting enough cannabinoids from external sources, so it doesn't need to produce as many of its own.
Over time, this can decrease sensitivity to cannabinoids, which means you will need to consume more of them to experience the same effects. However, it's worth noting that this is different from developing a tolerance to CBD or THC specifically.
Natural tolerance factors
Some people may feel like they need more CBD than others to experience the same effects, even if they haven't been using cannabidiol for a long enough period of time to build a tolerance.
This natural tolerance has less to do with CBD consumption and more with your body's ability to absorb it. Factors like age, metabolism, weight, height, hydration levels, and genetics are just some of the things that can affect how quickly you feel the effects of cannabidiol.
Time-specific tolerances can also be a factor. For example, you may feel cannabidiol's effects more in the morning than at night because your body is naturally more receptive to cannabinoids when you first wake up. Or you may feel like you feel the effects more when you don't eat before taking CBD, as food can also affect how quickly cannabidiol is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Don't worry, CBD tolerance is normal
While you may feel frustrated that you need more and more CBD to experience the same effects, it's important to remember that this is perfectly normal. In fact, it's not just CBD - tolerance can occur with any type of medication or supplement, whether it's over-the-counter or prescription medications.
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to avoid tolerance build-up, such as taking regular breaks from CBD or using a higher potency product. By understanding how CBD tolerance works, you can make sure you're using the cannabinoid in the most effective way possible.
You can now buy CBD oil products by clicking here, or read our buyer’s guides to the best CBD oils and best CBD gummies in the UK.
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