Learn if your body can build a tolerance—or reverse tolerance—to CBD oil and how to maximize its benefits in the long term. CBD is very different from other cannabinoids, but does prolonged use of CBD oil cause the user to build up a tolerance? Why are some users talking about the reversed tolerance phenomenon? If you've recently found your CBD oil ineffective or you've never had any luck with CBD oils, your dose may be to blame. However, there can also be other factors at play, including poor quality CBD oils or how you're taking CBD. Over time, as we introduce either plant-based or synthetic compounds into our bodies, we be
Can You Build a Tolerance to CBD?
Researchers are finding that CBD oil may be able to treat the symptoms of a whole host of diseases and conditions. Sufferers of depression, anxiety, arthritis, chronic pain, and even Alzheimer’s may all find relief by using CBD oil.
A common question that comes up when people first consider trying CBD oil is whether or not you can develop a CBD tolerance over time.
CBD isn’t cheap and health insurance isn’t likely to cover it any time soon, so the thought of having to take more and more over time to get the same relief can be daunting.
Here’s the currently available information on long-term CBD oil use and the potential for developing a tolerance.
Is It Possible to Build a Tolerance to CBD?
While research has concluded that long-term use of cannabis containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) results in a THC tolerance, cannabidiol (CBD) appears to work in the opposite direction. Studies and scientific reviews of CBD oil use suggest you likely won’t build a tolerance to CBD, and long-term use may actually result in reverse tolerance.
“Reverse tolerance” refers to the phenomenon in which a person needs less of a substance to feel its effects the more they are exposed to it. So over time, CBD oil users may find relief from their symptoms with lower and lower doses.
CBD is one of over 100 phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Phytocannabinoids are chemically similar to the endocannabinoids produced by the human body; both types of cannabinoids interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). While more research needs to be done, it is believed that because CBD indirectly activates cannabinoid receptors in the ECS without binding to them, it increases the number of endocannabinoids naturally produced by your body over time. The more endocannabinoids available, the less CBD oil you need to feel the benefits of a well-functioning endocannabinoid system.
Since research on CBD oil and reverse tolerance is still in its infancy, anecdotal evidence and your own personal experimentation are going to be your best resources on the topic. Even though CBD oil will not get you “high”, start off with a lower dose if you’re testing out your tolerance. It will be easiest to track and measure your ideal dosage by gradually increasing the amount you take over the course of a few weeks or months. If the benefits you’re feeling start to plateau even as your dosage goes up, you’ll know you’ve accumulated some tolerance to CBD, and it could be time to try lowering your dosage.
Effects of Long-Term CBD Use
Until fairly recently, laws against the use of cannabis and marijuana have limited the number of longitudinal studies examining long-term use of CBD. A majority of the clinical research on the effects of CBD oil does not include a testing period longer than a few months. Hopefully though, as the laws around cannabis, hemp, and CBD continue to shift, more information will become available.
Even though there’s a lack of research on long-term CBD oil use, other scientific and medical studies have yielded promising results in terms of CBD’s safety and efficacy. CBD oil is generally considered to present little to no risk for addiction or side effects. The World Health Organization (WHO) has even gone as far as to state “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”
There is a great deal of evidence that suggests that CBD oil may be a safer, more effective way to treat conditions that require long-term treatment, like depression and chronic pain.
CBD for Depression
Depression has become incredibly common over the years, and the medications prescribed to treat its symptoms often result in unpleasant side effects. Compounding the issue, stopping antidepressant medications can often result in withdrawal symptoms. CBD is showing promise as an effective alternative option for those dealing with depression.
In one animal study, CBD was found to have antidepressant-like effects in mice by helping to activate the 5-HT1A receptor, which is normally activated by the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. In another study, CBD was found to increase the amount of the “bliss molecule,” anandamide, in the brain. Anandamide is the neurotransmitter most commonly associated with feelings of joy and happiness.
While long-term use of antidepressants can lead to weight gain, loss of sexual function, emotional numbness, withdrawal, and even addiction, CBD oil has not been shown to produce any of these negative side effects.
CBD for Chronic Pain
Another potential long-term use case for CBD oil is in the treatment of chronic pain. Suffers of chronic pain are frequently prescribed medications with significant side effects, many of which are habit-forming. Those that wish to come off pain medications are often faced with debilitating withdrawal symptoms on top of the pain they’re already dealing with.
CBD oil, in comparison, is beginning to look like a great alternative treatment for pain. In a comprehensive review of clinical trials examining CBD’s effect on difficult-to-treat pain, it was concluded that CBD offers a promising alternative or complement to current treatments for pain management. And given the possibility for reverse tolerance, CBD oil dosages may be tapered down over time, mitigating any potential risks of long-term use.
How to Get Continual Benefits from CBD Oil
Since you’re unlikely to build a strong tolerance to CBD oil, and may in fact be dealing with reverse tolerance the more you use, how can you continue to get the most from your CBD product?
In order to properly understand the effects CBD is having on you, it is recommended that you keep a daily log. Each time you take CBD oil, write down the amount you have taken and when you have taken it. Write down any effects you experience, including any changes you notice in your physical body or mental processes. Writing these developments down will be crucial to finding your ideal dosage and deciding if CBD oil right for you in the long-run.
When it comes to choosing a CBD product, don’t be afraid to experiment with different strains, brands, and delivery formats (e.g. CBD vapes, CBD oil drops, CBD edibles). You may have to try a few different products before you find the one that works best for you. Remember to note how different products affect you—maybe a CBD vape is great for when you’re feeling anxious, but CBD drops are best for relieving pain. Finding the right CBD product(s) for your needs is a personal and exciting journey!
One of the best ways to see continual CBD benefits is to mix up your CBD oil delivery formats. In fact, you may find it most effective to use a combination of products. A CBD oil tincture or capsule might be ideal for daily use, while a CBD flower or CBD vape pen are best for on-the-spot relief.
Always talk to your doctor before you use CBD oil. While CBD oil is generally safe, there are some possible drug interactions that should be carefully monitored. If your doctor approves your CBD use, and you’re logging your experiences, you both can quickly narrow down the reasons for any negative effects.
CBD Oil Dosage
You should always follow the dosage recommendation included with your CBD oil product. If you’re looking for a more personal assessment, you might also consider speaking with a naturopathic doctor who can give you a specific dosing recommendation for your condition, age, weight, and experience with CBD.
To take some of the guesswork out of figuring out the right CBD oil dosage, we at CBD Oil Review have come up with a general recommendation, having tested and reviewed hundreds of CBD oil products:
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily.
If the desired effect is not reached at this dosage, we recommend slowly increasing your dose by 25mg every 3 to 4 weeks.
Once you’ve found an effective dose that works for you, you probably won’t need to increase it. Because of reverse tolerance, you may even find that with repeated use you can actually decrease the amount of CBD you take over time.
If you enjoyed this read, you may also like:
- Jacques D Nguyen et al. (2018) Tolerance to hypothermic and antinoceptive effects of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vapor inhalation in rats – National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30031028/
- (2020) Going off antidepressants – The President and Fellows of Harvard College https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants
- TV Zanelati et al. (2009)Antidepressant-like effects of cannabidiol in mice: possible involvement of 5-HT1A receptors – National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2823358/
- Dale G Deutsch A Personal Retrospective: Elevating Anandamide (AEA) by Targeting Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) and the Fatty Acid Binding Proteins (FABPs) – National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27790143/
- Claire Cartwright et al. (2016) Long-term antidepressant use: patient perspectives of benefits and adverse effects – National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970636/
- (2018) Opioid dependence can happen after just 5 days – Truth Initiative https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/substance-use/opioid-dependence-can-happen-after-just-5-days
- Opiate and opioid withdrawal – MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
- Ethan B Russo Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain – National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/
Learn More About CBD
6 Benefits of CBD Oil for Athletes Who Play Impact Sports
Athletes who participate in impact sports put a great deal of stress on their minds and bodies. Unfortunately, current methods .
CBD and Horses: Benefits, Dosages, and More
If you spend a lot of time with horses, then you know that they are incredibly intelligent and sensitive animals .
CBD and the NFL: CBD’s Impact on Football
With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, CBD became effectively legal in the United States. This ground-breaking legislation .
CBD and The NHL: The Lasting Impact of CBD on Hockey Players
All professional sports require a certain amount of athleticism and endurance, but there is perhaps no sport as physically and .
How to Use CBD Oil for High Cholesterol
Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life. So what is .
What does US Hemp Authority Certified mean? Does it matter?
If you’re a regular CBD oil shopper, you may have come across the US Hemp Authority certification seal on CBD .
How to Read a CBD Product Label
CBD oil is increasingly popular these days; there is a large market of CBD oil products, along with a growing .
CBD Tampons: A Natural Solution for Period Pain
Whether your menstrual cycle brings abdominal heaviness, mild cramping, or several days of intense, throbbing pain, you’re likely not looking .
CBD in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know
Anyone investigating the therapeutic potential of CBD has likely encountered more than a few sources claiming CBD products are legal .
CBD & Yoga: A Guide to Get Started
CBD and yoga can – and should – go hand-in-hand. These two vitality boosters are the perfect complement to one .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Washington
The hemp plant harbors many potential benefits when cultivated and processed cleanly. While the euphoria cannabis is known for comes .
CBD Oil for Cats: What You Need to Know
CBD oil products are everywhere now, but ambiguity surrounding the use of CBD oil still abounds, especially in the world .
Guide to Hygge and CBD
Imagine this: you’re curled up on your comfortable couch, surrounded by soft throw pillows, sipping a cup of hot chocolate .
CBD Spray: Everything You Need to Know
Though many people are still learning about cannabidiol (CBD) and its many natural benefits, the naturally occurring chemical compound has .
CBD Oil in Florida: Is it Legal?
A lot of people ask this question – is CBD oil legal in Florida? It appears that there has been .
The Difference Between CBD Concentrate & CBD Vape Liquid
If you’re just starting to learn about CBD and its potential benefits, you likely have many questions. There is so .
How Hemp Production Benefits the Environment
Every plant on the planet has a purpose. Every piece of the ecosystem serves a purpose, and some lucky plants .
The Anatomy of a Hemp Plant in Today’s Day & Age
For decades, people have been raving about the endless benefits of the hemp plant. Surprisingly though, some people may still .
STAY LEGAL! 11 tips for travelling with CBD oil from someone with experience
I’ve been poking around the interweb a bit for travelling with CBD tips and was a little surprised… I think .
What’s the difference between buying delta 8 and buying CBD?
Delta 8 THC is the hot new cannabinoid on the wellness scene. As was the case with CBG a couple .
What does seed-to-sale CBD mean?
The term ‘seed to sale’ is thrown around a lot in CBD marketing. CBD companies that claim to be seed .
What is delta 8 THC?
Delta 8 THC is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Like cannabidiol aka CBD oil, delta .
What’s in My CBD Oil? How to Read a CBD Certificate of Analysis (COA)
We don’t have to tell you. You already know that CBD oil is one of the most important wellness discoveries .
What You Need to Know About CBD Oil in California
Hemp CBD has a confusing history of legalization that it shares with its intoxicating cousin, marijuana. Both the federal and .
What is Nano CBD? Your Questions Answered
Like many people, it is likely that you have seen an increase in the popularity of CBD in the last .
What is Full Spectrum CBD? What You Need to Know…
These days, it seems like everyone is talking about CBD oil and the benefits it can provide. Yet, if you .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Tennessee
If you are interested in using CBD oil, but you live in Tennessee, you may have a lot of questions .
What’s the Difference Between Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD?
Although the CBD industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, many people interested in the cannabinoid’s therapeutic potential are .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Virginia
If you live in Virginia, and you are interested in buying CBD oil, you may be wondering several things. For .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Georgia
CBD oil products have come to the forefront of discussions about non-traditional solutions to anxiety, pain, and other ailments that .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Michigan
CBD oil products have gained popularity in Michigan and across the nation because of the potential benefits they offer consumers .
CBD and Soccer: Revolutionizing CBD Use in Sports
For fans of soccer (or football as most of the world calls it), there is likely a lot of speculation .
CBD Hemp Flowers
A hemp flower is the most basic form of CBD and serves as the foundation for all other CBD products .
Smoking CBD vs Vaping CBD
The safety, legality, and absence of mind-altering properties make cannabidiol (CBD) a popular choice for those who want to reap .
Taking CBD Pre-Workout
Between 2021 and 2027, the weight loss industry will benefit from a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6%. As .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Ohio
If you live in Ohio and you are curious about using CBD, you may have a lot of questions. For .
Potential Contaminants in CBD Oil: What You Need to Know
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 active compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil manufacturers extract cannabidiol .
What is CBD Crumble?
If you were to ask a group of CBD enthusiasts for product recommendations, you’d soon discover that CBD users seem .
Investigating 2021 CBD Trends
In 2014, when the industry was still quite new, CBD generated nearly 50 million dollars in sales. That’s pretty impressive .
Wonder Why CBD Seems So Expensive?
Industrial hemp was one of the very first domesticated crops, a plant harvested throughout history for its protein-rich seeds and .
CBD for Golfers: What Every Golfer Needs to Know About Using CBD on The Course
As you have likely heard by now, CBD has quickly become one of the biggest trends in the world of .
CBD for Rock Climbers
Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around when it comes to cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, more commonly known as .
CBD Concentrates for Beginners: How to Get Started
CBD products are becoming increasingly popular in 2021, and CBD concentrates are no exception. If you’ve thought about trying CBD .
Benefits of CBD for Your Self-Care Practice
Let’s talk self care. Though you might think of self care as simply “pampering” yourself, it goes way deeper than .
Is CBD Oil Legal in Texas? | CBD Oil in Texas
Texas Governor Abbott signed legislation clarifying which hemp products are legal and which are not. Looking for CBD in Texas? .
CBD in Illinois: What You Need to Know
CBD oil has many helpful– not to mention, natural– benefits physically and mentally. CBD has been heavily studied to relieve .
CBD for Runners
If you are an avid runner, you are always looking for safe and healthy ways to improve your performance and .
Can you use CBD if you are sober?
Can you use CBD if you are sober? Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction isn’t just about abstinence. For many, .
What Is CBD Wax and How to Use It?
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the last few years of incredible development, it’s that the cannabis plant can take .
CBD Gum: Does it Actually Work?
By now, you are probably aware that there are a lot of CBD products on the market that can help .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil in Indiana
If you have never tried CBD oil and you live in Indiana, you probably have a lot of questions. You .
CBD and Parenting: Understanding The Best Options For Your Child
CBD (short for cannabidiol) has become an alternative consideration for many parents around the world. Countless families swear by CBD .
What You Need to Know About CBD & Birth Control
Birth control remains one of the greatest biomedical advances in the last century, giving women and couples the opportunity to .
Complete Guide to CBD Topicals
When shopping for CBD, it’s essential to find the best product for your needs and your lifestyle. While CBD tinctures .
CBD Edibles vs. Capsules: Which Is Better?
For people who are considering CBD or have already started trying what is available, one of the most common questions .
How Does CBD Oil Impact Cellular Function?
CBD oil is well known for its ability to regulate pain and inflammation, making it a valuable tool in the .
A Mysterious Syndrome: What Is Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS)?
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a true mystery. It can pop up out of nowhere for chronic cannabis users, and .
Industrial Hemp vs. High-CBD Marijuana: What It Means for Your CBD
When you first begin researching CBD oil, it can be hard to understand what you are reading. What exactly is .
Can CBD Oil Help Resolve the Opioid Crisis?
Death by overdose has become the largest killer of Americans under the age of 50, and with opioids responsible for .
The Complete Guide to Cannabinoids
The most famous cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is most widely known for its mind-altering, high-inducing properties, .
What Is CBG?
Because harvested and dried cannabis or hemp material only contains trace amounts of cannabigerol (CBG), it is often considered to .
How Long Does CBD Last?
With cannabidiol (CBD) oil becoming more widely available, it is being sought out by an ever-growing number of people due .
CBD Industry Update: First Half of 2019
In 2018, the United States saw exponential growth in CBD oil product development and sales. Halfway through the year, the .
What Is THCV?
The cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids, each one presenting its own unique qualities and potential benefits. You may .
What Is CBN?
Cannabinoids have taken over the natural health discussion, and with good reason. Research is continuously finding new ways in which .
What is CBC?
One of the lesser-known cannabinoids, cannabichromene (CBC) may be able to do some pretty incredible things. Recent scientific study has .
What Is THCA?
Learning about the phytocannabinoids that exist in the cannabis plant family can feel a little bit like sifting through alphabet .
Can You Use CBD Oil While Pregnant?
Cannabidiol (CBD), is becoming widely used for its reported therapeutic benefits, which include pain reduction, nausea relief, and mood elevation .
What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the best-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive, intoxicating, and mind-altering compound .
The Many Potential Benefits of Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
Of the many phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are likely the most well-known. That’s why .
Plant-Based Medicine vs. Big Pharma: What It Means for Your CBD Oil
The role of “Big Pharma” in healthcare is a contentious subject and one that’s working its way into discussions around .
Combining Essential Oils with CBD Oil: Maximizing the Benefits
With more and more research coming out that shines a light on the reported health benefits of CBD and essential .
Is Potent Better When It Comes to CBD Oil?
When you first decide to use CBD oil, it can be hard to know where to start. With so many .
Dietary Supplements and CBD Oil: All You Need to Know from Vitamin A to Zinc
Health supplements are becoming increasingly commonplace as average Americans struggle to meet their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals .
Terpenes in CBD Oil: Why are they important?
If you’ve spent any time reading about CBD oil and cannabis lately, it is likely you’ve seen terpenes mentioned more .
Is CBD Oil Legal in My State?
If you’re interested in purchasing CBD oil but aren’t sure if it’s legal in your state, you’ve come to the .
Buying Hemp Oil on Amazon: What You Should Know
The CBD oil industry is one of the fastest-growing in North America and as such, it should come as no .
Endocannabinoid Production in the Human Body
Not long after the first cannabinoid was isolated from the cannabis plant, scientists discovered the human body produces similar substances .
Cannabis in Canada: The Status of CBD Oil
Those friendly neighbors on the northern U.S. border have a reputation for being fairly liberal minded. In fact, as of .
Your Guide to CBD Vape Oils and CBD Vapes
As people continue to abandon cigarettes, vaping is becoming increasingly popular. And, as the range of vape oils, vape juices, .
7 Tips for Buying CBD Products
Ready to make your first CBD oil purchase but aren’t sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right .
Guide to CBD Vape Juice, Vape Oil, and E-Liquid
With so many CBD oil products and delivery formats available for purchase, knowing which one is right for you can .
CBD Flower: Everything You Need to Know
The hemp plant produces flowers just like its THC-toting cousin marijuana. Typically, this flower is processed and cannabidiol (CBD) is .
Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil Drops
CBD oil drops are one of the most popular ways to take cannabidiol (CBD). They are a cost-effective and convenient .
A Comprehensive Guide to CBD Tinctures
If you’re new to the world of CBD oil, there’s a lot of new terminology to take in; one term .
CBD Gummies 101
Is there nothing cannabidiol can’t do? The wonder compound—more commonly known as CBD—has been hailed as everything from a digestive .
The Athlete’s Guide to CBD
As an athlete, the less time you can spend doing online research, the more time you can devote to your .
CBD Oil Microdosing: Everything You Need to Know
CBD oil microdosing is a concept that gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? .
CBD Oil for Tattoos: Pain, Nerves, and Aftercare
Because CBD oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling while promoting cell reparation, CBD topicals (e.g. balms, .
CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil: What’s the difference?
When investigating cannabis products, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the varieties available. Cannabis oil, hemp seed oil, CBD .
Does CBD Oil Have Any Known Side Effects?
People are quickly becoming aware of the potential benefits of CBD oil, but this awareness has lead to one very .
Beginner’s Guide to CBD Oil: How to Take CBD
Today, it’s hard to go a day without hearing something about CBD oil, and for good reason. Cannabidiol (CBD) is .
Using CBD Oil to Quit Smoking
There are tens of millions of Americans who smoke cigarettes and millions of others who are suffering from smoking-related diseases .
What’s the Difference? CBD Isolate vs. Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
There are two main types of cannabidiol (CBD) extract utilized by vendors – purified, crystalline isolate, often labeled as ‘CBD .
Is CBD Oil Safe for Children?
With frequent news reports about newly discovered uses for cannabidiol (CBD) in healthcare, a number of parents are investigating its .
The Women’s Guide to CBD Oil
There is an increasing amount of coverage in the media about CBD oil and its potential uses and benefits. Everywhere .
Does CBD Oil Affect Your Hormones?
CBD oil interacts with the brain and central nervous system to produce a number of beneficial outcomes from reducing inflammation .
Is CBD a Schedule 1 Drug?
The short answer: Yes. and no. If you’ve been following the national conversation about cannabis, you may have felt confused at .
Can CBD Oil Help Build Muscle?
If you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast who has heard about the many health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), you may .
CBD Tolerance: Can You Build Up A Resistance Over Time?
Most people taking CBD report consistent effects of the same doses with prolonged use. Does it mean that CBD tolerance is a myth?
Substance tolerance is a familiar concept to all people who take supplements and medications. The human body is very flexible at adapting to different substances — lowering their effectiveness over time.
Considering that CBD is a supplement that people take daily, it’s no wonder they ask questions about the risk of building a tolerance.
So, will you build a tolerance to CBD if you take it often?
Studies conducted on the safety and efficacy of CBD oil hold the answer.
Continue reading to learn more.
Can You Build a Tolerance to CBD?
Like we said, building a tolerance to any substance is a common concept. Many of us experience it in our daily routine. When you drink coffee or tea, you need stronger dose overtime to get the same focus and energy as you did, say, a few months ago — especially if you’re a daily user.
CBD is consumed frequently; for most people, it means taking CBD twice a day; some users, however, use it four times a day because they need more CBD oil in their situation. If CBD actually holds the risk of building a tolerance, it should abide by specific mechanisms that most supplements and medications use.
Let’s elaborate on why people build a tolerance to certain substances.
How Tolerance Works
Tolerance is categorized into three major groups: behavioral, cellular, and metabolic.
Behavioral tolerance is where we become psychologically adapted to the effects of a substance; cellular tolerance involves cells becoming less responsive to a compound, which is why you need more coffee to stimulate the body when you drink it regularly. Metabolic tolerance, in turn, means that lower concentrations of a substance reach the target area.
Tolerance doesn’t have to belong to one of the three aforementioned categories and can show the symptoms of all three mechanisms depending on the interaction between a particular substance and the body.
Tolerance affects every person differently; there are different rates at which we become tolerant to a substance. Our genetic structure, physiology, history of substance abuse, as well as environmental factors, may determine how fast you build up a tolerance to substances. For some people, it may take a bit more time to develop tolerance, while others build it very quickly.
When it comes to cannabinoids, tolerance is noticeable mostly on the cellular level. Over time, the endocannabinoid receptors may become desensitized, meaning they’re less enthusiastic about interacting with the administered compound, and in some cases, will hide inside a cell so they cannot be reached by the cannabinoid.
It appears this isn’t the case with CBD.
What Happens Inside Your Body When You Take CBD?
CBD has a unique fashion of interacting with the endocannabinoid system. Rather than binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors, it affects them more indirectly. A study conducted by the Department of Neuropharmacology at Fukuoka University reveals that “the neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol are independent of CB1 blockade,” suggesting that it doesn’t work by binding directly to the receptor and shouldn’t theoretically build a tolerance. (1)
CBD uses a different mechanism, one that allows it to encourage the production of endocannabinoids and improve the binding affinity of specific receptors in the body. Through this mechanism, CBD helps the endocannabinoid system to maintain balance (homeostasis) between all vital processes within the body (2).
So, rather than forcing the endocannabinoid system to become overactive and less responsive to the compound over time, CBD enhances its functioning by modulating the activity of its receptors and ensuring more efficient use of the body’s own cannabinoids.
CBD Tolerance vs THC Tolerance
People who use THC-rich cannabis may build a tolerance to the cannabinoid because it has a direct affinity to the CB1 receptor in the brain. This is why THC gets us high and CBD doesn’t. Daily use of THC causes the user to experience less pronounced effects with the same amount of cannabis.
As mentioned, THC tolerance happens on the cellular level. THC interacts with the brain by binding with CB1 receptors. When this process is repeated regularly, the cells try to maintain normal CB1 activity by reversing the THC’s effects. They trigger this effect either through desensitization, where CB1 receptors make it difficult for THC to bind with them, or through internalization, which is the process by which CB1 receptors hide into the cell’s interior. When internalized, the cells become entirely unresponsive (3).
How Fast Does CBD Tolerance Build?
Although it’s not possible to build a tolerance to CBD, we all have a different tolerance threshold that may change over time. In other words, you may need more CBD after two years of regular use, but it doesn’t necessarily derive from building a tolerance, but rather from the changes in your endocannabinoid system and overall body chemistry.
Tolerance and its fluctuation vary depending on the following factors:
- How much CBD you’re taking
- Experience with CBD
CBD Tolerance vs. CBD Dependence
The term tolerance often has a negative connotation; most people associate it with drug addiction. However, this word is often wrongly used instead of dependence, which is the accurate term to describe what happens to drug users over time.
- Tolerance is what you experience when your body becomes less sensitive to a compound over time. This is how your system builds a tolerance to THC and caffeine, among many other substances.
- Dependence is what happens when you go through withdrawal symptoms, which can be both physical and emotional. The symptoms may range from mild such as headaches, mood swings, to life-threatening, such as depression, vomiting, heart failure, and lethal overdose.
The good news for CBD users is that it doesn’t cause any of the above. CBD has a good safety profile; it comes with a few mild side effects when you take it regularly, including dry mouth, appetite fluctuation, or slight dizziness if you take high doses of CBD oil.
What Is CBD Reverse Tolerance?
Some studies suggest that CBD can cause reverse tolerance, where less of a compound is needed to achieve the desired effects due to long-term use (4). The studies so far have found that CBD can reduce the activation of CB1 without the need to desensitize the endocannabinoid system. This interaction is particularly important for CBD users because it can reduce the side effects and tolerance-forming potential of other cannabinoids, such as THC.
As we pointed out earlier, providing a definite answer to the tolerance-forming effects of CBD is difficult because there are so many factors at play, and there’s not enough research on humans to provide conclusive results.
CBD Tolerance In A Nutshell
It is common knowledge that people build a tolerance to different substances over time. However, research suggests this isn’t the case with CBD. Some studies have even found CBD oil to induce a reverse tolerance phenomenon, causing the user to need less CBD to experience the same results after regular use.
However, CBD’s unique mechanism of interaction with cannabinoid receptors makes it challenging to study the way it affects tolerance. CBD has over 60 molecular targets, so there’s still much we don’t know about this compound.
If your CBD oil isn’t working, it’s unlikely due to an increased intolerance. Although your threshold may change over time due to factors like age, weight, and metabolism, the problem usually lies in the quality of CBD.
To ensure you’re getting a legitimate product with a proven amount of CBD, make sure you’re buying CBD oil from reputable suppliers. There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD.
We hope this article has helped you clear up any confusion regarding CBD tolerance.
Can You Build CBD Tolerance?
If you’ve recently found your CBD oil ineffective or you’ve never had any luck with CBD oils, your dose may be to blame. However, there can also be other factors at play, including poor quality CBD oils or how you’re taking CBD.
Over time, as we introduce either plant-based or synthetic compounds into our bodies, we begin to develop tolerance. Due to this phenomenon, you may need higher doses of the substance to get the same level of desired effect unlike THC.
We’ll break down everything you need to know about CBD tolerance, safety, and how to source quality CBD products in this article.
Can You Take Too Much CBD?
Yes, you can take too much CBD.
That being said, CBD has been proven safe, even in high quantities, and won’t lead to lethal overdose . But this isn’t to say you won’t experience any discomfort if you take too much. Any compound that alters the way you feel has the potential for adverse side-effects — though some much more severe than others.
Here are some common side effects of CBD overdose:
Thankfully, the aftermath of taking too much CBD wears off as soon as it’s out of your system, within 2–3 hours. However, to avoid any chances of discomfort, you should start with lower doses and build up gradually over time until you reach your desired effects.
Keep in mind, CBD can create undesired outcomes when taken with other medications, which is why you must speak with your doctor before using CBD oil to treat a condition.
5 Reasons Why CBD is Not Working for You
It can be frustrating to try numerous CBD products, only to find nothing but wasted money and disappointment in your purchases. There can be several contributing factors as to why your CBD is not working and here we’ll go over the common problems while offering solutions for each.
1. You’re Using Low-Quality CBD Products
The CBD industry is relatively new and poorly regulated. Unfortunately, there are companies out there selling fake CBD oil that contains very little CBD or harvesting CBD from contaminated hemp sources.
Before you purchase a CBD product, check for third-party lab tests and read online consumer reviews.
Reputable brands send samples of their products to non-biased, third-party labs to ensure quality control measures are met. These labs test for CBD content and potential contamination from harmful solvents, heavy metals, pesticides, or mycotoxins (mold).
You want to verify that the CBD content on the test matches and fewer cannabinoid receptors what’s labeled on the bottle and that the extract is free from contamination that can render the CBD ineffective or potentially dangerous.
2. You Need To Find The Right Dose
If you’re just getting started with CBD and you’re not getting the desired effects, chances are you haven’t found the right dose. The tricky thing about dosing is that everyone responds to CBD differently. Your ideal dose will depend on various factors, including genetics, experience with medical cannabis, metabolism, and health conditions.
You can expect to experiment with your CBD doses, but start with smaller amounts and build up gradually over a few days until you find your Goldilocks zone. It may help to make note of your doses in a journal or your notes app on your phone to track how much CBD you’re taking.
3. You Need To Use CBD Consistently
While CBD has been proven effective for many health benefits, it’s not an overnight fix-all compound.
People will often buy CBD oil thinking it works like Tylenol for instant pain relief — but it just doesn’t work that way. Aside from finding the appropriate dose unique to you, it can take CBD days or several weeks of THC tolerance before you experience a noticeable difference in how you feel.
CBD isn’t particularly good at binding to receptors that activate an immediate response. Consistent use of CBD oil maintains the body’s endocannabinoid system function by making the receptors more sensitive to stimulation from internal cannabinoids.
In addition to giving prescription medications CBD some time to work, we recommend taking your CBD at the same time each day with your vitamins for overall health support or an hour before bed as part of your winding down routine if you’re looking to use CBD to improve sleep quality.
4. You’re Using The Wrong Delivery Method
Cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, which allows CBD users to enjoy different delivery methods for consuming CBD from CBD oils, capsules, sprays, gummies, and skincare.
However, the effects you’re looking to experience with CBD can depend on the delivery method you choose. For example, topical CBD formulas like lotions and salves work well for relieving localized muscle aches from a strenuous gym session, but it won’t help support a normal digestive process or mood because it doesn’t enter the bloodstream.
Do you find vaping CBD products to work well initially, but it seems to taper off quickly? This is because CBD inhalation is the fastest delivery method as it bypasses the digestive system that can breakdown the active compounds before entering the bloodstream. However, the effects of smoking CBD also wear off faster.
If this is the issue, consider taking a break from smokable products and use edible forms of CBD instead such as capsules, oils, or gummies.
5. You’ve Built A Tolerance To CBD
It’s possible that you’ve built a tolerance to CBD when you feel like your CBD product isn’t working as well as it used to.
Long term CBD users are likely to experience tolerance and have to increase their doses to get the same level of effects. A high tolerance can make CBD use expensive. However, it’s possible to reduce your threshold if you take a CBD tolerance break.
A tolerance break means you stop taking the substance you’ve built a tolerance to in order to let it completely run its course from your system. There isn’t a scientific rule for how long you should take a break from CBD — but many people report 3-7 days seems to do the trick to reset their system.
Tolerance breaks, much like dosing CBD, is an individual affair that requires experimentation and observation. It may be helpful to record your doses before you go on a tolerance break so you can have a reference to look back on for future dosing with a more accurate assessment of your condition before, during, and after you temporarily abstain from CBD use.
Here’s what to record if you should decide to take a CBD tolerance break: how long you’ve been using CBD, your doses before the break, symptoms, how many days of tolerance break, symptoms during break, doses after the break, increasing doses gradually, note any changes in symptoms or side-effects.
How Fast Does CBD Tolerance Build?
It’s difficult to say how quickly CBD oil tolerance builds because it’s different for every individual and your CBD doses may fluctuate depending on the state of your health and your current lifestyle.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating homeostasis (balance) in the body, which means you may need more or less CBD at any given time. Dosing CBD oil that’s right for you comes with a lot of trial and practice — so there’s no one size fits all approach to dosing.
Tolerance depends on a variety of factors, including:
CBD Tolerance vs. CBD Dependence
Defining Substance Tolerance
The word tolerance is often associated with drug addiction and the negative consequences of a condition called dependence that can be dangerous. Let’s quickly run through the differences of substance tolerance and dependence.
Tolerance is what occurs when your body loses sensitivity to a compound to elicit the desired outcome. Just as you can build a tolerance to caffeine, your system can build a tolerance to CBD.
The effect of tolerance makes users consume more of the substance to achieve the same level of impact because their body has lost sensitivity to the active compound.
Defining Substance Dependence & Withdrawals
Dependence is what happens when a user goes through withdrawal symptoms, which can include both physical and emotional disruption.
Withdrawal symptoms can be as mild as headaches, moodiness, or fatigue due to caffeine withdrawals, or more life-threatening, such as a fast heart rate, muscle pain, depression, and vomiting from withdrawals.
These severe withdrawals create a dependence on the substance in order to avoid adverse symptoms. The body becomes dependent on the compound and now needs it to reach a level of homeostasis (balance).
When it comes to CBD, you can build a tolerance. However, severe withdrawal symptoms are highly unlikely to develop, even for long term users . The most discomfort felt in a randomized CBD trial that investigated what happens when users take an abrupt break from regular use included headaches and diarrhea.
You’re not likely to experience a CBD dependence because it doesn’t produce withdrawal symptoms when you’re not using it.
What Is Reverse Tolerance?
Reverse tolerance is when you require less of a compound to reach the desired effects — opposite to building tolerance. You become more sensitive to the compound, which can be a positive or negative, depending on the compound.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD has this reverse tolerance effect with long-term use, but there’s still a lot of medical research needed to confirm this. It’s more likely that it takes a long time to develop a tolerance to CBD in general because of it’s unique interaction with the endocannabinoid system.
Our body’s receptors rely on chemical messengers to send signals for actions within the body. Most compounds that build tolerance in the body bind with these receptors to elicit a specific action. With prolonged exposure to the chemical messenger, the receptors lose their sensitivity.
CBD isn’t efficient at binding to CB1 or CB2 receptors, like its famous psychoactive counterpart, THC is.
Continued use of THC has been shown to increase the body’s tolerance . However, consuming CBD with THC has shown to improve THC interactions, which is one of the reasons that have lead researchers to believe that CBD tolerance either isn’t real or there is a reverse tolerance occurring.
CBD doesn’t directly unlock actions on the CB1 or CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Rather, CBD promotes receptor activity, which helps facilitate the binding of the cannabinoids to receptors, and CBD prevents the breakdown of internally produced cannabinoids.
To Wrap Up: CBD Tolerance
Can you build a tolerance to CBD? Yes, it’s possible.
However, CBD’s unique interaction with cannabinoid receptors makes it difficult to study the mechanisms for tolerance. CBD has such varied effects on individuals long term that people may experience the phenomenon of reverse tolerance, but there’s still more research to be done to substantiate this.
What do you do if your CBD product is no longer working as well as it should or if you’ve never had any luck with CBD?
Make sure you’re buying CBD from reputable brands. There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding CBD — steer clear from brands offering too-good-to-be-true medical claims.
Look for brands that opt for non-biased third-party lab testing to prove the product’s CBD content and safety.
Additionally, you should experiment with your doses and delivery methods (as your needs may change over time), and if you’ve built a tolerance to CBD, it’s a good idea to take a break once in a while.
Luckily, CBD is a well-tolerated compound, and there are many different delivery methods you can experiment with to help you find the most desired outcome. If you’re interested in learning more about CBD, visit our blog for more resources.
The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.