What is a THC Tolerance Break?

A THC tolerance break, or cannabis tolerance break, is also called a “t-break” because it deals with THC. Quite simply, a t-break is abstaining from cannabis consumption to clear the body and mind of the effects of the cannabinoid THC. While prolonged cannabis use does not kill brain cells or degrade the connections between them, it will create a higher tolerance. This means that you may find yourself needing to consume increasing amounts of THC to get high. The good news is that if you take a t-break, you will find your body quickly resets its THC tolerance typically within weeks.  

What is “Tolerance”?

The cannabinoid THC, which is found in cannabis, activates the CB1 receptors in your brain, which make you feel stoned. The high is basically an unusual increase in the CB1 receptors that disappears once the THC in your body disappears. Repeated exposure to THC over a period causes your brain to minimize the abnormal CB1 receptor activity. If you continue to consume cannabis, it will have a decreased effect because the CB1 receptors are restricted. This is “tolerance”.  

Does a THC Tolerance Break Work?

THC tolerance has been studied via mice. The studies found that the brain mechanisms that promote quicker tolerance are also most resilient and recover quicker from a period of abstinence, so yes, t-breaks really do work. Generally, the brain bounces back within weeks, though different factors like the dose and frequency you consume, your use history, and your DNA will all affect rate of recovery.  

When compared to other recreational drugs, cannabis is unique in the rate at which the brain recovers after a relatively short interval of abstinence. Alcohol consumption can be toxic to the brain, sometimes leading to damage and death to your brain cells. Abstaining from alcohol can lead to some recovery, but it will take longer than cannabis and recovery is often incomplete.