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Cannabis 101

7 Signs It May Be Time to Take a Cannabis Tolerance Break

January 12, 2018

There are a lot of reasons to take a break from getting high, and you might currently be considering stepping away for a bit but feel weird because cannabis has been your best friend since Day 1. You’re not alone; it’s perfectly normal for cannabis consumers to give up their favorite product for a stretch. If you’re wondering whether you should bench your bud, take a look at some of these reasons why you may want to abstain.

You’re Spending Too Much Money on Cannabis

A one-time-buy isn’t that expensive, but those one-times turn into 12-times and then your ATM card’s looking at you like this isn’t the relationship that y’all agreed to. It’s very easy to spend hundreds on a few grams and a few edibles or concentrates, then look up at the end of the month and see that you could’ve bought a plane ticket to Hawaii or, even better, a delicious amount of mozzarella sticks.


23 Dispensaries With Fantastic Cannabis Prices and Deals

It’s Taking Priority Over Your Responsibilities

You said after work was Day 1 of Operation Back in the Gym, but instead you go home, smoke, and pass out for the night. You said tonight was the night that you’d write out that business plan, but that one hit for a little inspiration turned into 87 hits for procrastination and now you’re watching the basketball episode of The Office for the 832nd time. You were going to pay off that credit card, but you’ll get it next month because you got the munchies and ordered a delicious amount of mozzarella sticks delivered straight to your mouth.

While cannabis may not be entirely responsible for your laziness, you may want to cut back on it for a while so you eliminate the temptation and can focus on establishing good habits and being more productive.


Cannabis isn’t making you lazy, your bad habits are

All Your Free Time Is Spent Inside

You need a social life to stay sane. Your friends are important, and seeing other humans in the wild matters. Spending all your time with your dab rig is cool, but so is fresh air and some time with your loved ones. If your motivation to go out and do things with others is being zapped, try tucking away your stash box for a bit so you can get out of your comfort zone and reestablish some social connections.


The 13 best cannabis strains for parties

You Rely on It Too Much for Creativity

You’re either creative or you’re not. If you are, it’s not because you smoke, it’s because you’re talented and special. I think the connection between cannabis and art is so strong that some creatives believe they can’t create the latter without the former. If you’ve become so reliant on it that you can’t create without it, you should chill on it for a while so you can see what you’re truly capable of with a clear head.


Does Cannabis Help or Hinder Creativity?

Either You’re Getting Too High…

There was a period in college where I couldn’t even smell a blunt without passing out for the next six hours. Imagine being that friend: every time you get high, you pass out on the couch, and now the sitting area is closed for the next 360 minutes.

If you’re getting way too high and it’s leaving you feeling stuck too consistently, you may need a less-potent strain or product, or at least admit that your body isn’t built for war and you need to retreat for a bit to get your soldiers in order.

…Or Your Cannabis Tolerance Has Gotten Too High

Sometimes you smoke so much that you feel like you’re not feeling the effects as strongly as you used to. The only way to power through is to take a little break to reset your tolerance a bit. Even just 24 hours will help, but a full month? Oooohweee, that will make a big difference.


Can a Tolerance Break Rejuvenate the Effects of Cannabis?

You Feel Guilty About It

You’ve been wanting to take a break, or even quit, for so long that getting high makes you feel extremely guilty because it feels like you’re running from a challenge. Anyone who has felt like they needed to stop smoking and rearrange their priorities knows all about that feeling.

There’s no shame in walking away from a bit. You can still support the mission of normalizing the use of cannabis and advancing the legalization of medical marijuana without actually indulging in the product. Do whatever’s best for you, my friend.


Lead image: LPETTET/iStock

Dante Jordan's Bio Image

Dante Jordan

Dante Jordan is an Associate Subject Matter Expert for Leafly, where he specializes in informational and lifestyle content pertaining to cannabis strains and products. He also manages the Leafly strain database.

View Dante Jordan's articles

3 part series

  • Tyler Durden

    This is some b.s. You just need to smoke thru it.

    • Dominic Pessagno

      a lot of this is very true, i take breaks from smoking regulary. i stopped smoking for 6 months, when i started smoking again it was like i was smoking for the first time again. took me over a week to smoke through a gram

      • Tyler Durden

        I’ve enjoyed myself much more with a higher tolerance. I read things like this and I just think.. What would a real pro like Marley, Snoop or Berner say? Not take a break I’m guessing.

        • Steve Thomas

          Bob Marley and George Harrison died of cancer – smoke away!!!

          • Jesse Warren

            Wait. If your suggesting that Bob and Goerges’ cancer was in ANY way connected to cannabis consumption I would love to see some proof… a link even. Otherwise your full of shit and GTFO

    • afish

      I’m 61 years old. I smoked when I was in high school and then just every once in a while. I just started smoking again for my chronic pain a little over a year ago. When I started a year ago I would get a buzz, especially with taking the pain pills I was taking. That buzz didn’t last long each time I smoked, now I very seldom get even the slightest buzz, after 4 bowls I’m perfectly fine. And I only smoke at night, usually just 2 bowls. So tonight and for the next week I’m going to try to “reset” and see what happens after taking a week off.

      • Highway 69

        If you’re using cannabis for medical reasons, could it be that the strain(s) you are using for pain relief are higher in CBD, which doesn’t get you high?

        • afish

          Nope, not that, Highway. And speaking of that, my dispensary gives you a free CBD dab with a purchase. I did a decent sized hit the last time I was there and holy crap, that got me high. There are some medications that work the opposite on me such as Nyquil. I’m wondering if I should try a straight CBD flower and see what happens. I can’t imagine weed working the opposite on me though, on anyone for that matter. Worth a shot to try you think maybe?

          • Highway 69

            Definitely… you never know!

            I’m not sure if I completely understood you… you didn’t mention if you were purchasing a particular strain. Do you have favorites, or do you disclose to the bud tender that you want something for pain?

          • afish

            Sorry, I don’t really have favorites, I do tell them I need it for pain. I’ve just been trying different ones until I can find one that I really like. I had two Wally Ranchers earlier and not feeling a thing, no buzz and no pain relief from them. Haven’t had those in quite a while. For the next week I will go without and try it again, see what happens.

          • Highway 69

            I’m still wondering if they are steering you towards a high CBD strain once you inform them of your pain? Check out the helpful strain guide on this site to help you select a product for future purchases.
            Good luck, afish!

          • afish

            Hi there, Highway. I have been buying flower from my neighbor also and it’s pretty much the same. I will sometimes get a little high from the flower I get from him but it’s always a very short lived high. It’s nice while it lasts though. 🙂
            I really appreciate you talking with me about this and hanging in there with me, most people will just put in their 2 cents then bolt. Thanks so much, Highway!

          • Highway 69

            You’re welcome.
            I really would like to hear how you do after your break from it. Just post a reply here, and I’ll see it.
            There could be other explanations for this mystery!

          • afish

            Do share what other mysterious explanations you think this could be, I’m all ears! And FYI, I cheated last night and smoked one bowl. I unfortuanately had to see my son in-law last night so I had to so I could relax some.

          • afish

            Hey there, Highway. Thought I would give you an update. This past week I’ve been doing every other night and I’ve actually noticed a little difference in the effects. Maybe I’ll go with every other night or even maybe two nights.

          • Highway 69

            I’m glad to hear that. Whatever works best for you!
            I re-read our conversation and wondered if you were still taking pills for your pain? You know, there are so many variables here that could affect your high… diet, medication, metabolism, etc.

            My own use led to certain beliefs (I am not claiming any truth in them — just personal theory) that have guided my cannabis experience. For example, I don’t drink alcohol any more because to me, the two experiences are polar opposite in their effects. I also avoid sugary drinks and snacks that are typically described as “munchies”, because I think they affect your high too.
            I know that sounds over the top, but I’m fine with it.

          • afish

            Thanks, Highway! I’m not taking any pain meds at all anymore. I do take a few others that I have to take. My matabolism is on the slower side. I was always a social drinker. I can’t drink any kind of alcohol as I have celiac disease and chronic gastritis. I don’t miss it one bit either.

          • dixiedragon

            Oddly, I agree with the sugar theory — I am pretty much high all day on two bowls and get everything done that needs to be done, still live my life and I have friends who toke, snack and their buzz is gone … and sometimes when smoking for pain it’s a better idea to be minimalist … just suppress the pain to a tolerable level, and not try to get so high you feel none … it’s an enigma….

          • Highway 69

            Hi Dixie,
            I’m glad to meet you! It’s cool that somebody else would agree with my anecdotal theory. I’ve been called a “pot snob” in the past, because I wouldn’t eat or drink anything while I was high, because of not wanting to “ruin” or alter my ‘cannabis state of mind’!

          • Doug Beatty

            My thoughts exactly. Look for an Indica cross with high CBDs. You have to dial in your buzz.

          • dspl

            When it’s not working anymore that’s your indication to *reduce* the amount.
            If we take an extreme example of a heavy user smoking 30 joints per day, his body will downregulate his endocannabinoid receptors in an attempt to cut down the excessive amount. A controlled study showed that 28 days of non-use completely restores the number of receptors.
            I am not suggesting you stop for that long (or at all), just try reducing and give your body time to adjust to a reduced amount.

          • afish

            Thanks, dspl. Like I mentioned in my original comment, I only smoke at night and usually just 2 bowls with maybe an hour or two between them. I just remembered that when I was sick for a week last year and didn’t smoke, when I did the first time after that it was great. I’ll take everyone’s advice and reduce and take breaks. Thank you all for your input, greatly appreciated!

          • Greg Foster

            Hi afish, I’m greg, I am interested in your conversation…. Now I know
            this is a little late in the chat, but, I’m currently a few months being
            25 years old. I started smoking weed when i was 23, not a long time but
            i started smoking a lot, and just recently lost my job, my car, and my
            income. I’m still in this situation, but my brother has been smoking
            since he was 9 years old, from what he tells me. I didn’t realize that i
            couldn’t smell weed as strongly, or get high anymore, after smoking for
            those 2 years. Now I’ve stopped, because of financial reasons, but i
            will still smoke when i get a little money, but i have learned that
            smoking too much affected me somehow, and i’m currently about 3 weeks
            without smoking at all, like nothing at all. And i feel completely
            different!!! Almost impossible to explain. I was so high all the time
            that I did not realize what being sober was like, but to be fair i was a
            heave drinker also during those 2 years, so idk if that affects me or
            not, i always combined the two together. I know for sure now that when i
            smoke again (and it wont be as much this time) I will Feel it for SURE,
            because my state of mind has completely changed, now i know when i
            start again ( in one more month ) that i will feel high again, and i’m
            looking forward to feel the change once i try it again.

          • Tommy Jones

            Unfortunately CBD doesn’t get you high. Chemically impossible. Might have been placebo effect. You equate taking a dab with getting really high. A
            dab of CBD won’t do that. Best of luck though !

          • Carlton Lewis

            Thc and cbd do NOT DETERMINE fast or slow wake or sleep terpines do. Just clearing that up.

        • Steve Thomas

          OR you’re getting stiffed by your drug dealer…. The oregano is not working as well. Buyer be ware … HA ha ha ha

          • afish

            Haha, the grower and dealer is my neighbor and friend and they smoke the same stuff, it’s definitely not that.

      • dixiedragon

        How big dem bowls??? I’m older than you, been smoking over 50 years and two bowls a day are absolute perfection for my chronic pain and for supplying a mild “I don’t give a f*ck” attitude pretty much all day. I can get things done, stay calm and mellow, don’t get my BP up and stay well within my pain tolerance level. Try to find one of these strains if it’s the buzz you are missing – the numbers are the THC THEN add your CBD oil or dab for your pain: kush berry 37.6, purple nepal 33.4 or the god among buds jelly bean @ a swwweeett 55.6.

      • Dehart Connections

        that would drie me nutts set & wait watch the calenday for my 7 days be over lol

      • Lora Lebow

        Get a rig and take dabs

    • dspl

      If there’s a problem and the solution is to keep doing the same thing, that’s the b.s.

  • alacrity

    hey, a break does amazing things- I had to stop for a contract gig that had me on call 24/7 (the pay was worth it) for a couple years, and when I finally twisted up a fat cylinder of exquisite OG and drew in those first tasty breaths, I got knocked on my ass. My tolerance had dropped to 1/4 of what it was- now, I get the same level off of 3-4 hits that used to take half a joint to achieve. If I use my vaporizer, an 8th lasts 3 weeks! Sure- call me a “lightweight” if you want, but it costs less (especially now that taxes have almost doubled the price) and lasts longer.

  • Nothing wrong with taking a break. Nothing wrong with not taking a break. I think the author might really just be saying that if you are feeling like cannabis is controlling you and/or your habits and interactions, it’s okay to quit for awhile. People are different, and some people have either more of a need for the endocannabinoids or less of a need for all of them. Enjoy…or back off. You’re the only one that is you.

  • Anton_Zilwicki

    Been a daily smoker more or less for 48 years. Taking short breaks is a no brainer.

  • Fun Please

    Thanks for the neutral article

  • Sniglet66

    Addition: your incessant smokers hack and coughing up shit annoys the hell out of you and everyone around you. Time to give it a few days off. If taking time off from eating (fasting), working (vacation), exercise (planned rest period) can be a good thing why not weed? To believe otherwise puts one in the Purist category. And there is nothing more annoying than an obsessed purist.

  • Mark Skinner

    Whenever I take a break…always because of droughts….I find that even a couple of days of “goodness”, that when I do get my supply back and have that first blunt, it hits me like when I first started smoking dope (almost).

  • Beegowl

    When cannabis use causes problems in your life, it’s time to seriously re-evaluate.

    • Steve Thomas

      Hey – I remember the lie now, it is not addictive! Right!!!

      • Beegowl

        The research that I’ve seen says that cannabis is not physically addictive. Not like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, or opioids, all of which have distinct withdrawal symptoms. Cannabis use is fun and makes people feel good, though. Some people have a difficult time establishing appropriate boundaries with anything that makes them feel good. It’s disingenuous to imply that cannabis is addictive.

        • Paul

          I’d say it’s more habit forming than addictive.

          • dspl

            True. Almost anything can become a habit and if that habit is interfering with your life, it’s time to recalibrate.

        • E.L. Bl/Du

          Steve Thomas: Medically speaking there are NO physical addictive properties to cannabis, however, a small % of ppl can become dependant, and its mostly psychological, but the tyoe of ppl that freak out at little things,(you know the type) can psych themselves into feeling actual physical symptoms. Most who have been chronic users have some degree of difficulty sleeping for the first couple weeks or so, but not “true” withdraw” symptoms compared to alcohol,nicotine or amphetamine or narcotic which cause a true physical addiction and can be dangerous stopping suddenly on their own. Not so much w. cannabis. Juts a little discofort and yearn, quite different than barfing, seizures, halucinations etc that other drugs have on the CNS. Its not a lie, itslike when you quit drinking coffee, ppl dont associate coffee as being addictive, but you stop and day 3 you WILL have a headache. SO should we now then say coffee is addictive too?

  • Ted Schinbein

    I have been a toker since January 1965 in Barcelona Spain. With the exception of a few short periods of abstinance, as I got other priorities under control ,primarily alcohol 1990 and coke 1987 (total abst.) Although I have had a hundred reasons for quitting over the years the ‘reasons to toke’ always seemed to outnumber or perhaps just over-power the reasons to quit. plain and simple

  • Ted Schinbein

    AWESOME conversation by the way and very open minded

  • You miss the central point the cannabis hits you in the pocket book because the government is nothing more than a thief with a flag on the wall…


  • freeman

    #420 medical
    Check my image for more infos








  • Tolerance breaks are great and all for recreational users, but if you have a chronic medical issue it may not be feasible. Overall, some great advice in this piece.

    • Steve Thomas

      Wait!! Tolerance ONLY happens with an addictive substances. The lie is – marijuana is not addictive. Ha ha ha ha

      • Mike Oconnell

        Your lost, rhinking you need to burn one, im sixty and have known alot of potheads and Never has there been any sign addictio. Lazy, munchies, moivation yes.
        Educate yourself with sciences

  • Great read! I hope everybody could read this so they will be informed if they really need to stop using cannabis.

  • Frank Cassianna

    Best thing I learned as an X pharmacist mate, to enjoy the true recreational quality of use is to dose yourself for that margin of feeling it again as it was the first time….. just like sex…. Dad use to say everything in moderation, makes the experience gold again.

  • Frank Cassianna

    Best thing I learned as an X pharmacist mate, to enjoy the true recreational quality of use is to dose yourself for that margin of feeling it again as it was the first time….. just like sex…. Dad use to say everything in moderation, makes the experience gold again.

  • Steve Thomas

    How about NEVER starting – duh!?

    • Mike Costello

      A first class troll. WTF are you even doing here? GTFO!

  • muggins5

    take care. be mindful.

    • vainglorious

      that was pretty darn serene-sounding

  • David Wade

    The author makes a valid point. Everyone reacts different to cannibas given their needs and body chemistry. Its true you can never let what helps you control you. Everyone has different ailments and needs.

  • 360dunk

    The author’s very first scenario is to suggest taking a cannabis break and use the money for a plane ticket to Hawaii. Checking in with Travelocity, I discovered foregoing a plane ticket to Hawaii could buy me about 6 months worth of potent dispensary weed. Guess we all have our priorities. ‘Weed will get you through times of no Hawaii better than Hawaii will get you through times of no weed’….or something like that.

    • Mike Oconnell

      But there is good weed in Hawaii

  • Slan

    At one point, I was high more hours in the day than not, so I just stopped. I stopped for years (that was just me, in my busy life). It was very nice to readjust. Everyone needs to find their own balance points.

  • Jethrene

    Good article.

  • dixiedragon

    Well, this is silly … this is all true for ANY good thing (or bad) … if something is controlling you rather than you controlling it, time to step back. I’ve toked since the late 60s and over the last 50 years had to take breaks at one time or another — broke, changing jobs, moving (new source LOL), taking tests — the blessing with cannabis is we can do exactly that, take a break … unlike opioids, coke, H, etc. … cannabis has only as much control as we ALLOW it. I am now retired and am smoking my children’s inheritance daily, all day if I so desire … color me happy.

  • Mental1 Frazik

    Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a question or two and it looks like this site has many experienced people. Here’s the deal: I have either carpal tunnel or arthritis in my wrists. I have been using Advil Liquid gel caps, 5 at a time with not much relief. I tried some oxycodone from an old rx I had for back pain (2x at a time) and it takes the edge off the pain but it returns as soon as I turn my wrist. I intend to see a medical specialist to get this corrected somehow, but in the meantime, I need something for the pain. Thanks for being patient, I’m getting to the main point.
    I’ve done a little reading and determined that the CBD is what I need. So 2 questions, Is CDB effective for my type of pain, and is THC effective against pain like CBD? I smoked just twice in the past back in the early ’70s so am not a complete stranger to it. Could not continue as the Navy started doing random testing in the mid ’70s, and the other reason was I had a commercial driver license and underwent testing there as well. The license being my family’s bread & butter, I couldn’t touch the stuff. I am now recently retired and can give it a try. If any of you are using Marijuana or CDB specifically for pain, could you pass on your experiences? Thanks!

  • eduardo landolt

    I take a break anytime I want, for a couple of weeks or longer, and I even have it growing in my garden, free, high and proud, 2 nice ones right now, diesely aroma allover, and I’m not on a break, on this most southerly tip of Africa

  • Antonio E.

    Too much of anything is not good for you,take a holiday,let the transmitters regroup 😉

  • Bruce Mcglasson

    I was just doing 1, and i thought i think i need to take a break, just can`t get off on cheap weed, got to have better weed, but , YES, it`s exp. I`t time to legalize.

  • Deven MacNeill

    I may be in need of a break as my tolerance is to the point that I will smoke a ounce in 5 days while trying to make it last I no longer notice the effects of weed to the point I’m not sure if I can get high any more