The human body does its best to adapt to the environmental conditions it is exposed to. This includes the compounds and substances that it regularly comes into contact with. When it comes to substances like cannabis, the body adapts by building a tolerance (or resistance) to it.
But research shows that this does not apply to all cannabinoids inside the cannabis plant. While the body is capable of quickly building a tolerance to THC, the same does not apply to CBD.
So, should you take a tolerance break from your CBD oil? Probably not, but keep reading to find out why!
What Is Tolerance?
Tolerance is a phenomenon whereby individuals build personal resistances to specific substances, thereby making them less effective than before. Tolerance is complex because it occurs at different levels of physiology and because it can differ from person to person.
Building tolerance typically results in one of two scenarios. Either a person will have to consume more of a substance than before in order to feel the same effects (where the term ‘chasing the high’ comes from), or they will have to stop consuming the substance for a while so as to allow their tolerance to reset (otherwise known as a tolerance break).
Tolerance And Cannabis
Tolerance functions on 3 different levels: cellular, metabolic, and behavioural. When it comes to cannabis, tolerance typically only occurs at the cellular and behavioural levels. However, research indicates that not all cannabinoids trigger the same tolerance-building processes.
Different cannabinoids like THC and CBD would appear to trigger very different tolerance-building responses in the body. THC builds tolerance at a cellular level. This is because the body’s inner endocannabinoid system attempts to block some of the activity of THC in favour of maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body.
Research shows that it accomplishes this through two methods: desensitization and internalization. Desensitization occurs when the CB1 cell receptors that THC molecules usually bind to simply lose their desire to bind, and internalization occurs when those same receptors withdraw, making it impossible for THC to bind to them.
Tolerance And CBD
However, research also shows that CBD does not trigger the same tolerance-building processes as THC.
This is primarily because CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors differently than THC. Rather than attempting to bind to CB1 receptors, CBD produces its effects through indirect stimulation. A recent study found that CBD is a negative allosteric modulator that can avoid the adverse effects associated with the agonism or antagonism of these receptors. In simple terms, this means that CBD lacks the mechanisms that usually result in the building of tolerance.
Moreover, it is speculated that thanks to its antagonizing effects on CB1 receptors, CBD may even work to weaken some of the resistance-building effects that hamper the effectiveness of THC. However, more research is necessary in order to determine exactly how this process plays out.
So, the next time you feel like you may be building a tolerance to your CBD, remember, it’s probably just all in your head!
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