Pandemics have a way of making people take a good look at themselves. Because COVID-19 hits the respiratory system so viciously, that’s reason enough to look at your cannabis usage. It could be time to take a tolerance break.
A “tolerance break” — at least from smoking — will support your respiration, soothe any irritation, and restore the damage in some cases. A tolerance break is a clean, cold-turkey break from inhaling cannabis smoke.
What’s the problem?
There are several layers to the problem of regular cannabis use:
Like cigarette smoke, cannabis smoke comes from the combustion of carbon elements. While cannabis lacks the addictive tar and nicotine in tobacco, it does introduce foreign elements to your mouth, nose, throat, and lungs.
The irritation triggers a response from other physical systems. On the positive side, it deploys beneficial hormones, reduces inflammation, eases involuntary spasms, and other physical benefits. However, it also tests the physical systems differently in different people. Depending on your size, weight, gender, and predisposition to physical problems, those influences can be risky.
The THC content in cannabis will activate psychological experiences. In moderate users, that reduces stress and anxiety and/or spurs focus and creativity. Recreational use of potent THC will exacerbate the psychoactivity. While that may provide occasional relief and pleasure, repeated and heavy use of high-potency cannabis can lead to psychological issues.
Cannabis does produce a psychological escape for many. However, reliance on that escape also keeps users from daily responsibilities. While advocates insist that cannabis may not be addictive in the sense that tobacco, alcohol, hard drugs, and other escapes are addictive. However, repeated heavy use can produce Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) in those predisposed to dependency.
Chronic use may also diminish the pleasure and medicinal effects sought after. A break should restore your level of tolerance allowing you to return to your full experience.
More about CUD
The 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders includes CUD among substance abuse disorders described as occurring when the recurrent use leads to impairment. In the case of CUD, the impairment may appear in loss of physical control, increased social detachment, decreased interest in work or school, and significant health risks.
People who begin use of cannabis before 18, those given to using other intoxicants, and those predisposed to dependency are significantly more likely to develop CUD for which hundreds of thousands seek some therapeutic attention each year.
Those experiencing CUD may be beyond the respite offered by a tolerance break. But your ability to manage occasional breaks may indicate your degree of dependency.
10 tips on taking cannabis tolerance breaks:
To wean or not to wean? Some recommend slowly weaning off your cannabis use. This uses up the stash you have on hand. However, heavy users find this difficult and unreliable.
Make a plan! Change is never easy. However, if you admit the difficulty and layout a strategy for your tolerance break. This is not skipping your morning coffee or switching from whiskey to beer. There will be changes in your brain and body, so you should prepare to avoid temptation.
Put it away! You should start by putting your stuff away. Clean and sanitize your equipment — bongs, pipes, rigs, and so on. Store it safely but out of tempting sight.
Get off the couch! Chronic cannabis use often manifests itself as passive enjoyment of television, music, and video games. This break offers time to get outside where you can enjoy the air and natural surroundings.
Pump it up! Regular and programmed physical exercise will prove a distraction. More important, it will energize, heal, and provide physical gains. The exercise will also clean out systems affected by cannabis reliance.
Pursue meaningfulness! Prayer and meditation will focus your attention and experience. You might read a book, join a yoga class, practice Tai Chi, or make a spiritual retreat.
Invest the savings! A move away from cannabis use puts money in your pocket. Cost is the ugly secret to cannabis use. Taking a break offers savings you might spend on yourself or the family.
Find a friend! It helps to have a friend when you take a break. You might find that friend at the gym where you are exercising or among the smoking circle you frequent. But teaming up with a buddy will help fight the good fight.
Use another way! You can take a break from smoking cannabis and still enjoy its benefits if you change your method of consumption. Edibles and high-potency CBD products may prove good options.
Change your mind! There are alternatives to smoking alone in your room. You might pursue entirely new interests like travel, music lessons, shop work, and more, anything you find relaxing and evolving.
Own your tolerance break!
Various people react to cannabis in multiple ways. There is no “typical” user and no standard approach to a tolerance break. However, cannabis users can and should make the most of it. You might even link them to a change in the seasons.
There are benefits in addition to balancing your psychological and physical health with regularly scheduled cannabis tolerance breaks. Chronic use of the same strain or the cannabis strains in the same family will lock your brain and body systems into a certain pattern. Over time, that pattern will no longer produce the effects you originally sought.
To restore the desired effects, you must either switch to a stronger strain of cannabis or take a break until the brain and body return to their original condition allowing you to resume usage. In short, taking a tolerance break makes cannabis use richer and more enjoyable when you get back to it.