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CBD Tolerance [Here’s Why It Doesn’t Exist]

cbd tolerance

CBD tolerance — what is it, and can it happen to those who regularly consume CBD? This question has an interesting answer, and we’ve got all the information you need to know. Follow along to learn all about how tolerance works and if it can happen with CBD.



What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol — a natural plant compound found in hemp. It’s non-intoxicating, which means it doesn’t make you feel high or loopy. Instead, CBD helps you feel soothed, peaceful, balanced, and relaxed. It works with our bodies to naturally relieve a range of pesky discomforts. including:


  • Difficulty sleeping


  • Stiff joints


  • Worried, nervous, or racing thoughts


  • Involuntary muscle movement


  • Swelling


  • Digestive irritation


  • Muscle soreness


  • And much more!



hemp buds with seeds and pipette



Is CBD Addictive? 

No, CBD is absolutely not addictive. A 2017 World Health Organization (WHO) report has significantly shaped the way we understand CBD. According to the WHO’s report, “well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential.” This means you also won’t experience CBD withdrawal if you decide to stop.


2019 report even delves into the possibility that CBD “could be a promising treatment for substance use disorders,” specifically for addiction to cocaine and methamphetamine. So, not only is CBD not addictive, but it may also have a future role in mitigating certain kinds of addiction.


Is It Possible to Take Too Much CBD?

You cannot overdose on CBD like you can from drugs such as OxyContin. There have been zero reported fatalities caused by the use of CBD on its own. But what can happen if you take more than your recommended dose? You may experience some mild, short-lived side effects such as:


  • Dry (or “cotton”) mouth


  • Drowsiness


  • Nausea


  • Lethargy


  • Dizziness



Can You Build CBD Tolerance?

Here comes the big reveal… NO! Scientific research presented in the 2017 WHO report details that humans do not build a tolerance to CBD. There’s a dire need for more research on this matter, but at the moment, most indications point to people not developing a CBD tolerance.


We can build a tolerance to THC, but that’s because the two cannabinoids (CBD and THC) interact with our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) differently.


How THC vs. CBD interacts with the ECS

The ECS is a regulatory system within all mammals that maintains homeostasis — the body’s natural balance. A vital aspect of the ECS is cannabinoid receptors. When cannabinoids interact with these receptors, it signals the ECS to begin regulatory action.


THC specifically interacts with receptors called CB1, which are found in high numbers in the brain. THC binds to these receptors, which is how it produces psychoactive (intoxicating) effects for the consumer. Repeated THC consumption can lead to a breakdown of these receptors, making it increasingly difficult to experience the cannabinoid’s effects.


CBD does not bind to our receptors in the same way as THC, nor does it break them down over time. In fact, CBD may actually increase the body’s endocannabinoid production. Endocannabinoids are made by our bodies, while phytocannabinoids (like THC and CBD) come from plants. We can use non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids like CBD to assist our endocannabinoids!


While you might get used to the feelings and soothing effects of CBD, this isn’t the same as building a tolerance to it. CBD’s effects are affected by a number of factors, some of which may make you feel like it’s not working well. For example, if you’ve had a lot to eat that day and then swallow some CBD oil, you won’t feel the effects as intensely as if you took the CBD with just a cup of coffee or juice.


What is a CBD Tolerance Break?

A tolerance break, also called a “T-break,” is traditionally associated with the use of marijuana/THC. Since people who regularly use marijuana can build a tolerance to THC, they’ll sometimes take occasional breaks to reduce that tolerance. Since you don’t build a tolerance to CBD, CBD tolerance breaks are not necessary.



Does CBD Have Reverse Tolerance? 

Quite possibly, yes! Since CBD seems to increase endocannabinoid production, consumers may need less of it over time. This phenomenon is known as reverse tolerance — when someone needs less and less of a substance, medication, or supplement to feel its beneficial effects.


With more of your own endocannabinoids flowing through your system, you might not need as much CBD to feel its therapeutic effects. Your endocannabinoids can work in harmony with the CBD, signaling the ECS to maintain balance and tranquility in your body.


More research is needed to uncover exactly how CBD interacts in the body and induces beneficial effects. But from what we know right now, CBD is non-addictive, non-intoxicating, and it’s unlikely that we build a tolerance to it. Regular consumers may even be building a reverse tolerance!



woman using cbd oil dropper



How Much CBD Should I Take?

CBD dosage is primarily based on your weight, but it can vary depending on several other factors. If you’re dealing with an extremely uncomfortable ailment, you may need more CBD than usual to feel effective relief. Let’s go over our general dosing guidelines.


We recommend taking between 0.25mg to 0.5mg of CBD per pound of your body weight. 0.25mg/1lb is a regular dose for mild discomforts. 0.5mg/1lb is a stronger dose for more severe discomforts. We suggest starting with your regular dose — you can always increase it if you need to.


When you try your mild dose, try to identify and record the beneficial effects you feel. Did it help relieve your joint stiffness, or did you just feel mellowed out? If it’s the latter, you probably need to up your dose a bit to feel effective relief.


Also, keep in mind how food, sleep, metabolic rate, and other bodily factors can influence how CBD affects you. If you try a strong dose on a full stomach and it feels just right, be cautious of taking the same dose on an empty stomach. It may come on stronger and make you feel drowsy.



Final Thoughts – CBD Tolerance

CBD tolerance — does it even exist? Luckily, current research is leaning toward “no.” We know for sure that CBD has helped innumerable people and animals gain relief from a long list of ailments, and it’s unlikely that you’ll build up a tolerance to CBD.

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