We get asked this question quite a bit: “I use it every day, so will I develop a CBD tolerance over time? Will I need more and more to keep feeling the same effects?”
For many using CBD for the therapeutic benefits, concerns about developing a tolerance make sense.
Much of that concern comes from the knowledge that THC is tolerance building, but is it the same with CBD oil? Is developing a tolerance something you have to prepare for?
When your body builds up a tolerance to something, this means that you start to see fewer benefits with the same dose that worked before. It also means that, to get those same benefits, you need to take more of whatever you’re taking to get the same results. Bummer.
With THC, for example, regular users know that, after a while, you start needing more to get the same effect. Someone who indulges on a regular basis will have a much higher tolerance, typically, than someone just starting out.
CBD isn’t exactly cheap, and we probably won’t see health insurance covering it any time soon, so if you’re taking CBD every day, it’s easy to see why this may be cause for concern. But, stick with me… I’m going to tell you about something called CBD reverse tolerance.
CBD Reverse Tolerance
Studies show that, rather than causing the body to require more, there’s actually no proof that CBD is tolerance forming.
In fact, when you use CBD on a regular basis, chances are, you’ll build up what is known as reverse tolerance. And that’s a good thing.
CBD reverse tolerance is when your body actually needs LESS to get the same results. Yes, you read that right – LESS!
Tell me that’s not the best news you’ve heard all day.
How is that possible? If THC and CBD come from the same plant, how are their tolerance profiles so drastically different? That’s science, baby.
Again we find ourselves looking at the endocannabinoid system (ES) for answers. THC and CBD interact closely with the ES by attaching themselves to endocannabinoid receptors – that’s how they impact your body and health.
THC is considered an agonist of CB1 and CB2 receptors. It directly binds to the receptors and activates them. THC tends to favor CB1 receptors because it fits very well inside them and therefore is able to stimulate a strong physiological reaction.
On the flip side, CBD is considered an indirect antagonist of agonists. It doesn’t bind like THC does, and instead sits imperfectly inside the receptor, preventing other substance, like THC, from binding to them.
According to the research, long term, regular use of THC results in a tolerance because of how it binds to receptors. In particular, THC binds strongly to the CB1 receptor in the brain and chronic THC users have fewer cannabinoid receptors over time. This is why you need more to feel the same effects.
In contract, CBD doesn’t work by binding to the cannabinoid receptors in the same way. Instead, CBD boosts the binding ability of specific cannabinoid receptors and encourages the production of endocannabinoids. This means it actually promotes increased receptor activity and produces more endocannabinoids in the body. The more endocannabinoids available, the less CBD you need to feel the benefits of a well-functioning endocannabinoid system.
So, while THC may decrease the effectiveness of your CB receptors over time, CBD actually has the reverse effect by promoting increased activity. That’s why more and more people are reporting that, with long term use of CBD, smaller doses are need to get the same results.
**Note: We’re always talking about balance with CBD, and this is yet another perfect example of that. Because of it’s relationship to CB1 receptors, CBD has the potential to control the tolerance effects of THC!
What if You Still Find Yourself Developing a Tolerance?
CBD is not one size fits all. Everyone reacts differently, that’s why we stress working on finding your perfect dose.
Knowing that, it’s important to address the fact that, just because a CBD tolerance isn’t the norm (by any means), you won’t develop one.
So, what if, after several months, you start to find your regular dosage just isn’t giving you the same results?
Your automatic assumption might be to just increase the dosage. And that might be the answer. Of course, feel free to try it. Another option, though, is to take a break.
CBD builds up in your body. That’s a good thing, and part of the reason for reverse tolerance. It may also be why a “tolerance-break” is all you need to get your ES back on track. Try taking a break from your regular CBD routine for a few days. Give your body a chance to get rid of the CBD in your system, then start adding it back in.
So, will you build up a CBD tolerance? All signs point to no. And, while more research would be awesome to confirm the reverse tolerance phenomenon, the anecdotal evidence alone is something to celebrate.