This is a question I have often wondered myself. Frequent marijuana use can lead to a building-up of tolerance, where the user needs more of the same drug to get the same effects.  With CBD and THC both being part of the cannabis family, one would have to naturally assume that a tolerance can be built up. But can it?

CBD and tolerance explained

CBD still isn’t heavily researched, but the general consensus on the matter, is “no” CBD usage does not result in building up a tolerance. In fact, the opposite is true. CBD usage often results in reverse tolerance. But, I was able to find one article that mentioned epilepsy patients building up a tolerance, we will get to that in a bit.

The reason why CBD can create a reverse tolerance is that it increases the body’s natural endocannabinoids. This means that over time users might be able to decrease their dose and still achieve the same results. THC, on the other hand, reduces cannabinoid receptors over time. This is why users of THC are encouraged to take tolerance breaks, or even add CBD to their medicating practice.

This is very remarkable from the medical standpoint (and cost) because patients can decrease their dose, rather than having to worry about increasing it.

A Case of Tolerance

I like to try and dive deeper than just reading posts online that are mostly written by other CBD proponents. It’s true little research in the matter exists, but I found one study, that said 1/3 of patients taking CBD for treatment resistant epilepsy developed a tolerance.

The study stated that out of 92 patients being tested 32% of them developed a tolerance during a 19.8 month study. Some of those patients ended up getting back to desired results with an increase in dosage, others did not.

The study is still promising for the effects of CBD on treating epilepsy, and further study is needed to truly understand the reason those patients developed a tolerance.

What to do if you feel like you built up a tolerance

Let’s say you are 7 months into your CBD journey and you feel like you are no longer getting the desired results (the 7 month mark was where patients in the study started seeing tolerance build up). What can you do?

The most obvious answer is to increase your dosage, which will likely work, but there is also another option.

Try taking a tolerance break. The estimated half-life of CBD is 18-32 hours. Try going off CBD for a full 48 hours to give the CBD a chance to get out of your system and your endocannabinoid system a chance to, “reset.”

Tolerance breaks are common amongst THC users, and are considered effective. It stands to reason you might benefit from a tolerance break with CBD as well. The evidence is purely anecdotal, but it can’t hurt to try.

For more information about how to properly dose CBD, check out our article: How much CBD should I take, we also have a helpful video at the bottom of the article.


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