Just how much time should pass for a solid tolerance break? I’ve heard this question many a time in my days of stonering, and as with all things drug, there’s no concrete answer. Naturally, the variance will be vast between a daily wake-and-baker and the weekend warrior. But that’s not to say we can’t have a general rule of thumb to follow…
For most people, about a week will suffice to accomplish the majority of the intended task. While cannabis does not entirely leave the system for multiple weeks, a majority of it will be gone in just 7 days. In this time, any residual effects from daily smoking should have passed, and you’ll feel fresh and alert.
*Note for the lazy: scroll to the bottom of the page to check out a handy little quick reference list
Not all, but most smokers report feeling lethargic and their minds somewhat clouded after chronic use of the chronic. I’m not going to pretend to know exactly how the chemicals interact with the complex system of synapses, cells and neurons within the brain. But suffice it to say that with consistent use, you will experience a “stacking effect” of sorts.
If you do not allow your brain sufficient recharge time, cannabinoid receptors will be unable to return to normal between your smokes (or preferred method of ingestion). They become conditioned to the chemical, much like your hands will build callouses after being conditioned to certain activities. This means your baseline will become higher and higher, forcing you to intake more and more of the substance to achieve your desired high. As many have already learned, this can take a hefty toll on the wallet and lungs.
This effect is not permanent, of course, or there would be a static progression of tolerance. This is not the case, and the solution to tolerance is as easy as avoiding cannabis for a short time. As mentioned, a week is the minimum to expel the majority of tolerance. To return entirely to baseline, however, is a much different story.
If you ask any smoker to recall their first experience with marijuana, you’ll likely be treated to a nostalgic recollection of an event not unlike a psychedelic trip. They’ll describe intense physical sensations, time dilation, vibrant closed or open eye visuals, etc. Many of them will also recognize that the experience was never repeated, and that subsequent use simply could not hold a candle to that virgin smoke.
There seems to be a deeper tolerance built up within users, far beyond the simple saturation of receptors. Even taking year-long breaks won’t allow for that visceral experience they had their first few times. So, is it even possible to achieve that experience again?
Yes and no. Taking a hefty break from cannabis will essentially reset your brain, allowing you to experience the full effects of the drug. However, since you’ve already opened those neural pathways in the past, you won’t be breaking into any new territory. So while you might be able to feel the same quality of high, that initial “magic” won’t ever return.
More intense experiences can be had by eating prepared weed, which allows the transformation of THC into a compound approximately 3-5 times stronger than the one produced when smoked. But while a couple of mom’s famous hash brownies might have you on the floor in a psychedelic wonderland, it’s still not exactly the same as that first high. You’ve been conditioned to the subjective effects of the drug, which means that as soon as you are aware you’ve ingested cannabis, your experience will be tainted.
The best you can hope for in a post-doobie noobie world is to reduce your natural tolerance down to zero. This won’t allow you to forget entirely what smoking was like (which would be necessary for a repeat of the first time), but it will allow you get as high as you possibly can right now.
Much disagreement is had on how long, exactly, that waiting period should be. I submit that you should look at the topic something like this:
- 1-4 day break – very minimal difference. If you’re a heavy smoker you’ll likely notice subtle effects, but nothing particularly noteworthy. It will be tantamount to changing strain, if that.
- 5-10 day break – Tangible difference. You’ll notice becoming much higher on a smaller amount of weed. Some of the more nuanced effects will return (temporarily), and you’ll probably stay higher for a considerably longer period of time.
- 20-30 day break – Significant difference. Your physical tolerance is effectively at zero. Since you’ve smoked fairly recently, you’ll still remember most of the effects but they will still be novel and exciting.
- 9-12 month break – Monumental difference. Not only will your physical tolerance have returned to zero long ago, you’ll have forgotten all but most prominent effects of the drug. This will allow you to experience the drug fully, with minimal pre-conceived notions about what will take place.
- Multiple years – I’ve never taken such a break, so I cannot speak on it. It will be as close as you can get to smoking for the first time all over again. Though I’ve heard reports that it’s still just not quite the same…