By : Laura Murphy
Owner/Head Herbalist behind Velvet Roots Apothecary
Let's talk about Tolerance breaks.
Tolerance break - or otherwise known as a T break - is a conscious decision to temporarily
pause cannabis consumption for the purpose of resetting the endocannabinoid system (ECS). A tolerance break is good for bringing balance within the body and mind. While also allowing you space to reassess your relationship with the plant, providing you a more profound, more
transparent, refreshing vision of how the plant can be a tool in helping to enhance our realities instead of fogging them.
What exactly is the Endocannabinoid system? How does it affect our cannabis intake?
Our Endocannabinoid system is essential in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, among all the body systems. It's a complex molecular system responsible for regulating many processes in the body, including pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, and immune
function. Since THC works directly on our cannabinoid receptors, it tends to overwhelm our
ECS, reducing the amount of cannabinoids your body produces naturally. So, when consuming THC, we must be considerate in a way that improves our endocannabinoid system rather than having the opposite diminishing effects.
How long should I take a tolerance break?
Tolerance breaks can assist in resetting the ECS by helping it function to its highest ability.
Since there isn't much scientific evidence around the conversation on how long to refrain from cannabis, a study published in 2015 indicates that after 48 hours, the endocannabinoid
receptors have already reset. Since it takes around three weeks or more for THC to leave your
system, it's good to consider a 21-day break.
Everybody is different, though, so when considering taking a T- Break, doing what's best for
your needs should be considered. For example, Frequent flyers may want to consider taking at least one week before reintroducing the plant into their rituals/routines. A chronic cannabis consumer may need a few weeks to a month to detox from THC entirely.
When is it time for a T - break?
If you're no longer obtaining the same therapeutic benefit from your cannabis intake, you may
want to consider a tolerance break. It is important to note, if you are a medical patient, to have support and open conversations with your doctor about what a tolerance break may look like for you.
"The first days are the hardest days" - The Grateful Dead.
For everyday consumers, taking a tolerance break may be easier said than done. During
tolerance breaks, give yourself grace and understanding during the readjustment period. Find ways to distract yourself, especially during the time frame you would typically consume.
Consider starting your t- break by slowly decreasing your intake a few days prior or
incorporating other herbal remedies to assist in any effects that may arise. Have a clear
understanding of your reasoning behind the break and an agreement with yourself to have a
successful journey, whatever that may look like to you.
Incorporating supporting herbs during a tolerance break
During tolerance breaks, there may be experiences of adverse side effects as your body adjusts to its normal state. Incorporating other herbs into your regimen during this time can help with nourishing the nerves, relieve pain, irritability, low mood, and changes in appetite, and aid in sleep along with other side effects that may arise.
Miss the ritual of smoking?
Incorporating smokable herbs during this time can give you an overwhelming sense of
connection back to the mindfulness of ritual smoking without disrupting your tolerance break. While smoking is not generally suitable for your health when used mindfully for occasional use and/or rituals, these herbs can be a relief and assist one in managing stress/anxiety and making it more manageable during your tolerance break.
Learn to craft your own smoke blend HERE
Tasteless and odorless, this herb is considered to be the best base herb for any herbal smoke
blend. Light and fluffy and used explicitly for the respiratory system as a general tonifying herb, Mullein's expectorant and anti-inflammatory actions encourage and aid the body in removing congestion and are beneficial for dry coughing and wheezing. "Smokers cough" Traditionally used for bronchial support; this herb was smoked to relax the airways and calm nervous tension.
A moderate relaxing nervine, Skullcap is used as a supporting herb in herbal smoke blends to
assist with nervous exhaustion, mental overwork, rage/anger, and withdrawal. Providing a
calming effect when smoked but is useful when combined with other smokable herbs like
Passionflower for a goodnights rest.
Speaking of, Passionflower is another smokable herb to combine when looking to help with
sleep. It can be particularly beneficial when the mind chatter threatens a good night's sleep.
When smoked, this herb relaxes the mind and calms restlessness with a subtle sedative effect.
Sweet Lavender, known for its aromatics, can be a stress reliever that reduces anxiety and
promotes sleep. Simply smelling its volatile oils can leave you feeling calm and in a state of
euphoria. When smoked, it really shines by nourishing the nervous system while calming the
anxious mind, bringing perspective, and enabling clear thoughts.
Using other forms of herbal integration might look like teas and tinctures.
This can provide a great alternative to herbal smoking when taking a tolerance break.
Utilizing the power of herbs to relieve tolerance break symptoms can improve your overall sense of well-being.
Using herbal adaptogens like,
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) - A root that is considered to be the elite herb to promote
physical and mental well-being.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) - known as the queen of mushrooms, this fungi helps support
energy and resistance to stress - and may support sleep, the immune system, and liver function.
Schizandra (schisandra chinensis) - Schizandra functions as an adaptogen. Assist with
restoring nerves and is used to enhance physical and mental balance. Chinese medicine says it "calms the heart and quiets the spirit." Improve endurance, coordination, and concentration. Assisting with fatigue and irritability.
Having trouble mentally? Experiencing brain fog or mental exhaustion?
Incorporate herbs such as:
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) for nourishment and stimulation of the mind for proper brain
function. Gotu Kola also lifts the spirit and calms emotional overload.
Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) to improve and strengthen memory. Tonifying the nervous system and uplifting the spirit. Rosemary improves mental alertness and lifts an emotional mind and body.
Lions Mane(Hericium erinaceus) This fungus is an ally to brain health. Enhancing your overall well-being and supporting cognitive function. Lion's mane also boosts immune function, benefits digestive health, and helps relieve nervous tension.
During a T-break, it is important to consider taking herbs to assist in cleaning & strengthening the lungs, along with clearing mucus from the respiratory passages, especially if your way to consume was through the smoke.
Do this by drinking teas with expectorant herbs or using tinctures made with lung-supporting properties, which can relieve symptoms that may arise during this time.
Choose herbs like :
Marshmallow (Althaea Officinalis) - Useful when soothing the throat. Marshmallows' demulcent qualities bring relief to dry, hot coughs. Marshmallow protects and soothes mucous membranes.
Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum) - A strongly aromatic herb that is sweet and is a valuable expectorant that is used for clearing respiratory tract ailments.
Usnea (Usnea sp.) - A lichen, Used for its wellness-supporting qualities, Usnea is an infection
fighter to say the least. With its energetics being cooling and drying, Usnea is particularly
effective in clearing heat, moving damp, and resolving toxicity. Great for "smokers cough."
Can I use C B D during my T break?
Even though C B D, or cannabidiol (pronounced ka-nah-beh-die-all), has incredible benefits to our natural endocannabinoid system and has the ability to keep our bodies in a state of
homeostasis. Using C B D during a tolerance break is a personal choice and depends on your
relationship with the plant.
It's important to know that THC and CBD interact with our endocannabinoid system differently.
THC binds directly to our CB1 Receptors. As for C B D, it is believed to affect our CB1 And CB2 receptors without binding to them and in turn restoring overall balance to the body and brain. Using C B D during tolerance breaks can improve our overall sense of well being.
When scheduling your tolerance break and up in the air about whether or not C B D will be a
part of the journey, remember to ask yourself questions like:
Do I want to detox from the plant completely? What does using C B D during my break look
like? Oils? Tinctures? Gummies? Will it be an everyday dose or just the first few days? Will
using C BD trigger me to want to use cannabis?
These are important factors when deciding on your tolerance break.
*For educational purposes only. This information has yet to be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Velvet Roots has created a lung supporting line and tolerance break line.
Use our herbalist formulated teas and tinctures to support you on your next tolerance break