CBD Tolerance: Can You Build Up A Resistance?

Have you heard about tolerance to different compounds and products in general or tolerance to CBD in particular? This article will serve as your guide to the term “CBD tolerance” and in it, we will try to explain all the basic points about this topic. As CBD becomes more and more popular in people’s daily lives, there is a growing interest in CBD tolerance. If you’re already an experienced user of CBD-based products, you may have noticed that over time their effects diminish, or that your body no longer reacts to cannabis in the same way as before. This phenomenon is usually defined as tolerance in the CBD community. We’ll try to shed some light on the reasons why tolerance to CBD occurs, scientific explanations for it, as well as potential solutions to regain CBD’s effectiveness.

1. What is tolerance?

Tolerance is a general term that can be applied to various areas of human activity. When it comes to the human body, tolerance is the body’s ability to tolerate or become less susceptible to a substance or physiological effects, especially with repeated use or exposure.

It is a complex process that is studied from a variety of perspectives. There are three main levels of tolerance, which can be classified as follows: cellular, behavioural and metabolic.

  • Cellular tolerance

This form of tolerance is usually assessed at the neuronal tissue level, consisting of a network of many neuronal and supporting cells, or even a single neuron.

  • Behavioural tolerance

Behavioural tolerance is the reduction of drug-induced impairment of purposeful behaviour that is dependent on learning processes, that is, behaviour performed while intoxicated.

  • Metabolic tolerance

This form of tolerance occurs when the body becomes accustomed to a substance so that either more of the substance or another one is required to achieve the desired effect.

So, as we can see, tolerance is a very broad term that covers different areas and fields. But what exactly is CBD tolerance? Let’s find out below.

2. What is CBD tolerance?

CBD tolerance can be understood as one of many kinds of tolerance. Specifically, CBD tolerance is the state in which the body and mind don’t feel any potential effects from consuming CBD. There are a variety of possible reasons why CBD tolerance occurs and ways to prevent it from happening. Unfortunately, the topic of CBD tolerance has not been studied in detail, but at this point, we do have some findings that can paint a picture of this phenomenon.

3. Is CBD well tolerated?

Actually, CBD does not appear to induce CBD tolerance in casual users. According to the World Health Organization, CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. However, it can cause some side effects such as the following:

  • sleepiness or fatigue;
  • dry mouth;
  • diarrhoea;
  • nausea;
  • mood changes such as increased agitation and irritability;
  • interactions with prescription or over-the-counter medications;
  • increased risk of sedation, drowsiness and injury from alcohol use;
  • increased or decreased appetite;
  • liver damage due to drug interactions.

CBD tolerance occurs when the body becomes habituated, which means that larger doses of a compound may be required to achieve the effects inherent in it. In this case, we highly recommend that you consult your doctor for a professional consultation.

4. When and why can CBD cause tolerance?

At this point, we need to mention another compound: THC. It is the cannabinoid that is most likely to build up tolerance if one consumes it daily. CBD may play a different role. In a 2011 study, it was found that administration of CBD could cause no side effects across a wide range of doses, including both acute and chronic dosing regimens. In addition, no possible intolerance to CBD was developed. The key question is how does tolerance to CBD build up? There are a number of reasons that we will cover in the next section.

5. Possible reasons why CBD may lose its effectiveness

Unfortunately, when taking CBD, it is possible that it can become ineffective. There are several reasons for this, some of which are listed below.

  • Wrong dosage

It’s important to figure out the dose that’s right for you and increase it slowly, paying attention to how your body reacts and adjusting as necessary. Having a record of your CBD intake is both helpful and essential.

  • Low-quality CBD products

Since the CBD industry is still in the development stage, there are some manufacturers who may be producing low-quality products. The solution is to carefully check the shop and its certifications. We recommend that you be a watchful consumer and only purchase products from trustworthy companies.

  • Consuming CBD in a way that doesn’t suit you

It is important that your method of consumption is not only enjoyable but also the most convenient for you in terms of CBD’s potential effectiveness. For example, you can take CBD in oils for a long time, but perhaps consuming edibles could have a greater effect on your body.

6. CBD tolerance in terms of the body

What about researchers’ opinions and findings on CBD tolerance? Actually, the number of studies on the interaction between tolerance levels and CBD is quite low. Regardless, there are some results that we can share with you at this time. First of all, this study showed that about a quarter of patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy could develop tolerance to cannabis oil extract with a CBD to THC ratio of 20:1. Another study found that the acute effects of a single dose of cannabinoids may be less noticeable in people who regularly use cannabis compared to those who don’t use it frequently. A study published in 2019 examined the hepatotoxicity of CBD in mice. The researchers gave 8-week-old mice different doses of cannabidiol. They tolerated the compound well until they were given the highest doses. At this stage, the mice showed clear signs of liver toxicity.

Moreover, some researchers even suggest that CBD can create “reverse CBD tolerance”, which means that patients need to take less and less over time.

Finally, this THC-related study showed that repeated daily inhalation of THC could induce tolerance in female and male rats, providing further validation of the vapour inhalation method for preclinical studies.

7. Why doesn’t CBD cause tolerance whereas THC does?

THC is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and is a so-called “psychoactive” compound in cannabis, which means it can make you “high”. People who take THC for medical or recreational reasons often find they need to keep increasing their dosage if they want to maintain the same effects. So why do some cannabinoids like THC induce tolerance and CBD not? Part of the answer lies in the way these molecules bind to our receptors.

Studies have shown that THC can induce tolerance because its regular use possibly reduces the sensitivity of the CB1 receptors. Over time, fewer and fewer CB1 receptors can be triggered by THC, making the same dose less effective.

CBD may bind to the same receptors as THC, but in a slightly different way. The structure of the two molecules is almost identical, except for one major difference: CBD has a hydroxyl group, while THC has a cyclic ring. One can only surmise that this structural difference explains why they might act differently on CB1 receptors.

As a result, THC can have the ability to desensitise CB1 receptors while CBD cannot, which may be linked to how these compounds possibly differ in causing tolerance.

8. Tips on how to prevent tolerance from developing

If you feel that you are starting to show tolerance to CBD, it is very important to adhere to the following directions:

  • Take a break from consuming CBD to reset

As we mentioned above, the most common reason for developing tolerance to CBD is consuming it every day. The best option may be to try taking a break from it for anywhere from two days to a week or two and observe the changes.

  • Change the dosage

Sometimes going back to the minimum CBD dosage and then gradually increasing it can help you recharge and experience the effects of CBD again. The crucial thing is not to overdose yourself.

  • Switch brands or manufacturers

CBD tolerance can be confused with tolerance to a particular brand. Experiment with different manufacturers and switch around from time to time to reduce resistance. Perhaps the problem is with the products or company you have chosen?

  • Change consumption methods

One option you may want to consider is changing your method of taking CBD. There are a variety of ways to consume cannabidiol and each one is different in how CBD enters the body. Hopefully, you will find the best method that suits you and your needs.

  • Try a new type of product

If you have only been consuming CBD in oils for a long time, try experimenting with other types of products, such as edibles, drops, tinctures, etc.

9. Final thoughts

Scientists are still conducting research on the subject of CBD tolerance. If you are facing this kind of resistance to any product with cannabidiol, use this article as a guide to understanding how tolerance works, what can cause it, and finally, how to deal with it to increase your CBDs effectiveness. While most people tolerate CBD well, you should still only buy CBD products from high-quality, reputable manufacturers and distributors. Also, don’t forget that the CBD dosage you are taking or planning to take is extremely important. We hope that you found this article useful. If you have questions about any aspects of the CBD industry, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of professionals for assistance. Marry Jane is always ready to help you. Take care and keep following our blog.

10. Sources

  1. Cannabidiol (CBD) Critical Review Report (https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf)
  2. Hepatotoxicity of a Cannabidiol-Rich Cannabis Extract in the Mouse Model (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31052254/)
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