How to Survive The Dreaded Tolerance Break

As readers of this publication are likely aware — especially those who read Peter Astrid-Kane’s recent cover story on the lifestyle — going “California Sober” means giving up alcohol, but allowing room for the intentional consumption of cannabis and other psychedelics. For some it may simply be a way to cut out empty calories and eliminate hangovers from their lives. For others, including some recovering addicts, pot is a safe release valve, a drug they can turn to without fear of backsliding into blackouts and poor decision making.

Yet at the start of this year, I did the exact opposite: I cut out THC. A very casual drinker, I took to mixing cocktails after work instead of packing a bowl. I don’t consider my relationship with cannabis unhealthy — rather, my tolerance had gotten far too high, and I was unable to enjoy all of the fantastic products like tinctures, edibles, and drinkables that roll in around 10mg THC. When an entire bag of gummies wasn’t enough to catch a buzz, I knew it was time for a break. Two months later, I’m still taking random THC-free “tolerance days” whenever I notice my threshold for pot increasing.

If you’re a daily cannabis consumer, tolerance breaks are hard. If you consider cannabis to be your medicine, taking a break can be even harder. As someone who medicates for anxiety, depression, and PTSD, taking a few weeks off was no small task. The benefits of a tolerance break are supported by science (albeit, scientific testing on rats): Research says that cannabinoid receptors in the body become less sensitive over time, and this trend appears reversible by taking breaks. Longtime stoners can certainly verify this anecdotally. 

Luckily, a wide range of non-psychoactive or very subtly psychoactive cannabis products were available to make lowering my tolerance a whole lot easier. Here’s some of the CBD, hemp, and low-dose products I used to take the edge off while still working toward my goal of a lowered tolerance to THC.

Anxiety Alleviation
20:1 CBD Tincture by Cosmic View
30ml bottle | $62

Cosmic View’s 20:1 CBD:THC tincture is the most effective tincture I’ve ever tried for anxiety, and I’ve used it religiously for over a year. It’s not effective because it’s the most concentrated on the market — several other brands offer tinctures with upwards of 700 or even 1000 mg CBD, while this tincture only contains about 450mg. However, Cosmic View’s tincture is made using a whole-plant extraction, which means they extract cannabis slowly to collect the terpenes and the other cannabinoids rumored to help CBD penetrate the body. The effectiveness of whole-plant CBD is also scientifically supported, with studies saying that it appears significantly more effective, especially for patients that require a high dose. It’s also made with olive oil instead of coconut MCT oil, giving it a more pleasant taste than most tinctures.


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