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cbd oil tolerance

As pot smokers will attest, regular use of THC builds tolerance—seasoned smokers will find themselves consuming many times as much as new users. Further, tolerance develops unevenly and also varies depending on individual physiology. As such, the full experience of getting high will be different the more one smokes. Many regular users take “T-breaks” or switch strains to recharge their tolerance after heavy use.

CBD also increases the body’s natural endocannabinoids, since it competes with them for binding proteins which break them both down. CBD can be thought of as a kind of endocannabinoid-reuptake inhibitor.


This combination of antagonising CB1 receptors and increasing natural endocannabinoids produces CBD’s characteristic relaxed, focussed, and “flow state” effects. But can this effects profile be tolerance-forming?

THC tolerance happens mainly through the cells. THC works by binding with CB1 receptors in the brain. When this happens repeatedly, the cells try to reverse the effect and maintain normal CB1 activity. They accomplish this through two main methods: the first is called desensitisation, where CB1 receptors start binding to cannabinoids less easily. The second method is called internalisation, and it’s the process by which CB1 receptors are pulled from the surface of the cell into its interior; unlike desensitised receptors, which can still be activated by THC, albeit to a lesser degree, internalised cells become entirely unresponsive.

To answer these questions, we’ll begin with a brief overview of tolerance formation.

Tolerance develops most commonly with drugs that bind directly to our endocannabinoid receptors (THC being an example).

There are only limited studies into the tolerance of CBD, but the general consensus is that there is little to no risk of developing a tolerance.

Continued use of a substance brings tolerance levels down, and the user needs less of the substance to achieve the desired effect.

Personal Anecdotes about CBD Oil Tolerance

Whatever the reason for CBD’s reverse tolerance, patients will find that they can slowly decrease their dosage over time.

Long-term use leads to an internal response from the endocannabinoid system, and our bodies adapt to the continual presence of the compound, and as such, a higher dosage is required to achieve the same effect.

Most substances cause people to experience increased tolerance levels. Everything from pharmaceuticals, nicotine, alcohol, and hard drugs like cocaine and methamphetamines.

Oddly enough, it seems to have the opposite effect. A bizarre phenomenon called reverse tolerance.

It is possible to build up a tolerance to some cannabinoids, like THC. THC is the main psychotropic compound in cannabis and delivers its effects by binding to CB1 receptors. These receptors work like little locks that are designed to be opened by endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG, but some plant-derived cannabinoids with a similar structure (like THC) can also bind directly to them.

So far, studies indicate that CBD can affect serotonin receptors, vanilloid receptors, GABA receptors, gamma receptors, and more. Other studies show that CBD can inhibit a process known as reuptake, and thereby temporarily increase the amount of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and anandamide.

Understanding cannabinoid tolerance

Most people taking cannabidiol are told that taking a regular, repeated dose is the key to getting the right results. But could taking CBD so regularly cause people to build up a tolerance and therefore constantly require a stronger dose? In this article, we take a closer look at whether it’s possible to build up a tolerance to CBD.

In fact, some research suggests that CBD may cause reverse tolerance. Unlike THC, which occupies the role of endocannabinoids and can down-regulate the endocannabinoid system, CBD can increase endocannabinoid levels (e.g. by inhibiting reuptake). Hence, over time, users may find that they need lower doses of CBD to get the same results. Though this is currently just theory.

As a result, people who regularly consume these cannabinoids may find that they need increasingly larger doses in order to feel the same effects. This can also affect the endocannabinoid system’s ability to learn and adapt to factors like stress as it has become over-dependent on THC.