Developing Tolerance to Marijuana

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How does an individual develop tolerance to Marijuana? Generally speaking, Marijuana tolerance is said to develop when the individual doesn’t feel the same effects of the drug with repeated use, and has to take larger doses. However, it is not really understood how Marijuana works in the body to provoke increased tolerance. It could involve both psychological and physiological factors.

Marijuana Tolerance Symptoms

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association defines drug tolerance as having either or both of the following characteristics:

  1. Needing significantly increased amounts of Marijuana to achieve intoxication or desired effects.
  2. Individuals feel a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of Marijuana.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual is addicted to Marijuana, rather it is an indication that the drug is not having its full effect on the individual. Tolerance to Marijuana does not mean that dependence or addiction will follow as a consequence. It simply means that the individual’s body has adapted to the presence of Marijuana in its system and no longer reacts to its chemical cues.

Marijuana Tolerance – How long does it take to develop?

Tolerance is different with each individual. Studies have suggested that if an individual is using Marijuana daily over a continuous period of time, then tolerance can be built up within 2 to 4 weeks. However, that can vary from person to person. There are also other factors to be taken into consideration, such as whether the individual has been diagnosed as depressed or has anxiety. Such individuals might build Marijuana tolerance quicker than those who use it recreationally or medically. Finally, individuals who use Marijuana in social situations, with their peers, may also build up a tolerance quicker because they are using the more frequently.

How To Lower Tolerance To Marijuana

While it is possible to lower tolerance to Marijuana, there is very little evidence to suggest that the individual could lower their tolerance all the way down to its original level. That is to say, there could always be a level of maintained tolerance for as long as the individual continues to use the drug.

That being said, the way to lower one’s tolerance level is by cutting the back the amount and frequency of the Marijuana dose. Apart from that, some other ways to lower tolerance include:

  • Reducing the initial amount used first thing in the day.
  • Starting the day with a larger than usual dose will reduce the effects of any subsequent doses.
  • Alternating taking Marijuana for one week with not taking it at all for the next week. This is called a ‘drug holiday’ and gives the body time to lower its tolerance.
  • Starting a regular exercise regime and incorporating a healthy diet. When the body is healthier, it will flush out the residual Marijuana from its system.

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