Is It Possible To Develop A Tolerance To CBD Oil?

CBD & Tolerance

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CBD & Tolerance

Like many aspects of CBD, the issue of developing a tolerance is a complicated one without a comprehensive 100% answer.

There’s a purely scientific approach that claims pretty unanimously that if anything this compound imparts a form of reverse tolerance.

On the other hand, some people who use extracts to help with certain conditions anecdotally report that they’ve developed a tolerance.

To find a sensible balance we need to look into exactly what CBD is, how it differs from THC (the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant) and balance this with dosage and product quality.

What Is Tolerance?

Long-term exposure to many intoxicants such as alcohol, drugs, nicotine and even caffeine causes the body to adapt and become used to the presence of the compound within the system.

When this is suddenly stopped or reduced, the body reacts by going in to withdrawal with often unpleasant physical reactions.

On the other hand, if consumption is steady and regular it can take ever higher dosages to feel the same effect or “buzz”.

This is due to these kinds of psychoactive substances binding themselves to the CB1 receptor that imparts the psychological changes such substances deliver.

So how does this relate to CBD?

CBD Does Not Bind To One Receptor

The crucial difference that is often overlooked or ignored is that despite originating from the same plant, CBD – unlike THC – does not attach itself to one single receptor.

Instead, it distributes itself throughout the body via the bloodstream and as such delivers a ‘whole body’ effect.

Most importantly of all – it’s been proven that unlike THC which reduces cannabinoid receptors and creates tolerance, CBD actually provides a boost to these receptors making them more effective and efficient.

Scientifically speaking, this ought to actually lead to what is rather ambiguously described as reverse tolerance.

For the user, this means that once the CBD has settled in to the system it ought to require smaller doses in order to just keep the body ‘topped-up’.

Of course, this is dependent upon a user having already found their personal “goldilocks zone” when it comes to dosage and having taken their dose often enough to have a solid foundation to decrease from.

Those interested in taking up CBD ought to aware that very few companies tend to explain this in their ‘how to dose’ guides. Obviously, it’s in their interests to sell higher concentrated products at higher prices, so publicly expressing that people can maintain with lower doses would be poor for business.

It’s much easier just to let people assume they will become tolerant and needlessly up their intake far beyond what is actually required.

So that’s the scientific take. Tolerance to CBD ought to be essentially impossible. What about the actual experiences and anecdotes from people who have found that they developed a tolerance to CBD?

Is Tolerance Psychological?

People take CBD products to hopefully help with all sorts of problems.

One of the most common reasons tends to be to help with anxiety and panic disorders. Quite a few users have reported via various online forums that after initially “feeling” the benefits that they have developed a kind of tolerance. In order to feel a similar reduction in their symptoms, they needed to up the regularity and concentration of their dose.

This presents an awkward issue because there are so many variables at play.

For instance, if a person suddenly faces a stressful situation they’re going to naturally be stressed. CBD does not dull the senses or create any kind of devil may care attitude. It cannot be blamed for circumstantial stresses!

But for less overt instances of general anxiety disorder, there’s a possibility that they could be taking far more than they actually need, saturating the body to such an extent that there’s just no benefit left to be gained.

In these circumstances, it’s time to look into dosage and perhaps ‘reset’ the body by taking a break for a few days before starting back on a much lower dose. Again, this varies enormously. Some people find 25-40mg per day plenty, others may need 1500mg per day. Finding and correcting a dose regimen is that individualistic.

Final Thoughts

Theoretically, there’s no reason why people should experience any tolerance along the lines of typical intoxicants – which is because it’s not a drug.

CBD is considered a dietary supplement that relays no psychoactive properties and does not bind to the same receptors, so using “tolerance” in such a way is really missing the entire point of what it actually does.

The chances are that those who claim such tolerance simply are not taking an appropriate dose, and/or just as bad using an inferior product.

When it comes to selecting CBD oils, do take due diligence on the company you are buying from because there are plenty of low-grade options out there that contain far less active ingredients than they claim.

There’s nothing wrong with starting over and carefully working towards ascertaining a quality and effective long-term solution.

I’m Thomas Jones. I graduated from The University of Aberdeen in 2016 with an MSc in Industrial Biotechnology. I’m currently reading for a PhD at The University of Glasgow. I started using CBD in 2017 as a result of finding it in my local vape shop. My experiences in using these products inspired me to undertake my current doctoral research. You can find out more about me and this site here.