5 min

Can You Build A Tolerance To CBD?

5 min

CBD bears a lot of benefits to the mind and body. But, like other substances, is it possible to build a tolerance to it?

The human body is very good at adapting to different substances over time. One of the ways it does this is by building tolerance to frequently ingested substances. When it comes to THC, this often leads people to consume more of it in order to achieve the same "high", or to reset their system with a tolerance break. But does the same apply to CBD?


What Is Tolerance And How Does It Work?

Tolerance is a phenomenon whereby one must consume more of a specific substance in order to feel the same effect as last time. It is where the term "chasing the high" comes from. Tolerance is complex because it occurs at different levels of physiology, and because it can work differently from person to person.

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Cannabis Tolerance: What It Is And How To Bring It Down

Tolerance functions on three major levels: cellular, metabolic, and behavioural. Cellular tolerance is where tolerance to specific compounds is built at a cellular level inside the body. Metabolic tolerance occurs when less of a compound is metabolised or processed over time. And behavioural tolerance occurs at a behavioural level when people choose or choose not to engage in specific behaviour. Of course, tolerance can also manifest as a combination of all three levels at once.

Tolerance can also be experienced differently by different people. Because everybody’s physiology is different, some individuals may build tolerance more quickly or hold onto it for longer than others.

Can You Build a Tolerance to CBD?

Can You Build A Tolerance To CBD?

If you take any chemical or substance often enough, you'll build an immune response to it. That’s what science and common knowledge tell us, whether it’s alcohol or THC. However, this is not the case with CBD.

Unlike THC, CBD does not bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) responsible for producing psychotropic effects or developing tolerance. It actually gives these receptors a “break” from these processes, and supports the overall function of the ECS.

This indirect approach makes CBD a versatile substance that doesn’t lose its impact as you continue to take it.


Reverse-Tolerance CBD

With the current buzz surrounding CBD, you’ll find people in one of two camps. One group will agree with the hype, while the other may doubt everything about it. You’ll hear them say things like, “I can’t feel anything, why is that?”, or, “Why isn’t it working for me?”. You’ll even have those who will question its legitimacy and think CBD “is a scam”.

Well, there could be a few reasons why CBD isn’t working for you. It could be that you’re using an inferior product, or you’re not taking the right dose. Or, maybe, it’s really just not for you.

We already know that you can’t really build a tolerance to CBD, but there’s another theory at work here: reverse-tolerance. This simply means that, to feel its full effects, you need to take less of it.

Dose is key when taking CBD. If you’re a first-time user, you’re better off taking a low initial dose, then ramping it up over time. In some instances, you may find its effects increase even without upping your dose. If that’s the case, you may want to consider taking it down a notch or two.

How to Enhance the Effects of CBD?

How To Enhance The Effects Of CBD?

With reverse-tolerance at play, it may create the impression that CBD’s effects have somewhat of a ceiling. As a result, you may wonder if you’ll be able to get your money’s worth out of these products. Luckily, there's no need to worry. On the contrary, you can actually enhance the CBD experience for optimal results, and this doesn’t just involve changing your dose.

Keep a Daily Log

Keep A Daily Log CBD

As mentioned, CBD’s effects are somewhat dependent on the amount you take; but, unlike other substances, the results may intensify even without increasing the dose. This is why taking the correct dose is essential.

One way to manage this is by keeping a daily log. This is a method used by those who take different kinds of medication on a daily basis. Especially when using CBD oil, this log will serve as a helpful tracker of how much you’ve taken, and at what time.

It’s also helpful to include the sensations you felt after taking your CBD product, and how these effects progress or change over time. Did it make you sleepy or drowsy? Or did it give you a clear head to proceed with your work?

Keeping a log should help you identify that dosing sweet spot that will maximise the effects of a given product. That way, you get the most out of the advantages that CBD brings, and the biggest bang for your buck.

Try Different Consumption Methods

Try Different CBD Consumption Methods

How do you usually consume CBD? Do you firmly adhere to oils? Perhaps you prefer CBD e-liquid used in a vape pen? Maybe you’re old-school and you favour CBD-rich buds that can be smoked as you choose…

All of those methods are well and good, but you must first have a decent understanding of what each variant brings to the table to optimise your results.

  • Inhalation

Vape pens and other inhalable methods (including smoking) will produce effects almost instantly, which can be useful for those looking to quickly reduce tension or centre the mind. The effects of this method won’t last as long as some of the others, but it gets to work immediately.

  • Topical

Topical creams exert localised effects on the skin, meaning the CBD won’t reach your bloodstream. However, it can help with skin sensitivity, redness, etc. By combining topical creams with other methods of CBD intake, such as oils, you can stimulate your ECS from the inside and outside.

  • Oral

Swallowing your CBD takes the cannabinoid on a different pathway than other methods. This results in a longer waiting time for the CBD to take effect, but, once it does, the effects last significantly longer than most other intake methods. You can make CBD edibles, swallow CBD capsules, or drop CBD oil onto food or drink to take advantage of this pathway.

  • Sublingual

Perhaps the most popular dosing method is taking sublingual oils or tinctures. Simply enough, this involves dropping the solution under the tongue and holding it there for about a minute before swallowing. This allows the CBD to be rapidly absorbed by the oral mucosa, leading to a fast onset of effects.

If you feel limited by any of these methods, consider switching things up a bit to see what works best for you. And again, consider combining different intake methods to experience CBD's benefits from all angles. Just make sure you’re logging how much CBD you’re taking (in milligrams) to track your progress.

Ultimately, your best recourse is to consult your doctor. Show them your daily log to give a clearer idea of how CBD affects you. They will also inform you about any possible interactions between CBD and existing medications, helping you determine which avenue is right for you.

Test Different Brands

Test Different CBD Brands

Try typing in “Best CBD oil brands” on Google. It will yield a ton of results that will give you the same option paralysis you get when trying to pick out which Netflix title to watch.

To refine your search, you’ll need to consider the calibre of CBD you’re planning to purchase. Low-quality brands won’t give you the same benefits as industry-leading brands. If you really neglect quality, you might even come across a product with harmful additives in it. These days, scammers have smartened up in terms of their methods, and, unfortunately, many people fall for the trickery.

Always remember: Do your due diligence to help you make a more informed decision. With the advice of your doctor and your personal assessment based on the daily log you’ve created, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for and where to start searching.

Look to highly rated and transparent CBD brands and do some experimentation! Try out different products, and different options within their ranges. Look for verified third-party testing as a sign of quality. Prefer CBD bud over oils or capsules? Experiment with CBD strains featuring different CBD:THC ratios to see how much THC is the right amount for your needs.

Finding the right brand or strain of CBD can be a long process of trial and error. But, once you find the products that give you the perfect combination of effects you’re looking for, you’ll be all set!

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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