CBD Oil Tolerance

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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? What does it mean to tolerate something? For most, the word tolerance boils down to gradually learning to put up with something previously deemed irritating or overstimulating, or to adapt to a stimulus that is foreign to the body. If we nix the negative connotation often tied to tolerating a person or thing, CBD toler

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:

Sources:

  1. 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/
  2. (2020) Going off antidepressants – The President and Fellows of Harvard College https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants
  3. 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/
  4. 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/
  5. 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/
  6. (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
  7. Opiate and opioid withdrawal – MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
  8. 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/

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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).

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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:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Metabolism
  • Weight
  • 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.

Optimize Your CBD Routine: Defining CBD Tolerance and Other Tips

What does it mean to tolerate something? For most, the word tolerance boils down to gradually learning to put up with something previously deemed irritating or overstimulating, or to adapt to a stimulus that is foreign to the body. If we nix the negative connotation often tied to tolerating a person or thing, CBD tolerance has a similar overall meaning.

Building tolerance to CBD means your endocannabinoid system overly adapted to your standard CBD dosage and is no longer producing the desired results. Whether you use CBD to target chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, insomnia or other health conditions, it is important for you to find a dosage where the positive effects produced by hemp-derived cannabis compounds can continue at a consistent dosage. Although it is highly unlikely you will develop a CBD tolerance significant enough to hinder the cannabinoids’ positive physiological effects, it is still important to understand the steps you can take to optimize CBD’s impact on your body.

Defining CBD Tolerance

Unlike other drug tolerances, studies show CBD tolerance does not lead to CBD dependency or addiction. In fact, a study published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal shows a daily CBD regimen has the potential to treat marijuana addiction due to CBD’s low levels of THC and overall nonaddictive, nonpsychoactive properties. 1

Tolerance, when looking specifically at CBD, means your body acclimated to your current regimen and now requires a slightly higher dosage to achieve the same results. Don’t worry, as this is a completely normal response within your body! In fact, developing a tolerance to low-potency CBD signals your body is effectively working to achieve equilibrium, a state of internal balance.

How CBD Tolerance Begins

When you first begin taking CBD, your body may not immediately respond to the unfamiliar cannabinoids entering your system. Over time, the endocannabinoid system adapts to the new influx of cannabis plant compounds and responds by activating the cannabinoid receptors that work to regulate conditions like chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, insomnia and more. The CBD dosage you begin at could very well be the perfect dosage for you, continuously working to balance your unique conditions under a typical daily regimen.

If you begin your CBD regimen at a relatively low dosage, however, your body may require more CBD to maintain adequate endocannabinoid system functioning. This could be as simple as switching from .5mL to 1 mL per dose or from a 500mg CBD oil tincture to the more common 1000mg CBD oil tincture, as starting small and titrating up tends to be the best method to find the safest, most impactful daily CBD doses for your body. If you for some reason do not wish to increase your CBD dosage, taking a brief break from your CBD routine may also allow your endocannabinoid system to reset to base levels.

Understanding Tolerance Vs. Dependence

The critical difference between tolerance to CBD and tolerance to other substances is that while you may not reap the precise level of wellness benefits you once did at a particular dosage, you will also not experience any troubling withdrawal symptoms. Uncomfortable physical withdrawal symptoms are typically what bridges drug tolerance to drug dependence, which tends to be the first phase of drug addiction.

In contrast to drug dependence or addiction, the CBD-producing hemp plant’s ideal balance of cannabinoids, terpenes and ultra-low levels of THC allow it to effectively treat conditions without overstimulating cannabinoid receptors unlike THC in high-potency recreational or medical marijuana. What happens when cannabinoid receptors are consistently overstimulated by high-THC products? Following euphoric highs and other psychoactive effects, once overused, users will experience a gradually weakened impact causing opposite effects in the form of drug-dependent withdrawal symptoms.

In addition to curbing marijuana addiction, a study of individuals with a history of heroin abuse showed CBD was an effective treatment to reduce drug cues such as cravings, rapid heart rate and elevated cortisol, 2 providing further validation that CBD is not only nonaddictive but may also aid individuals in breaking addictive tendencies without adverse effects.

Are You at Risk of CBD Tolerance?

While it is necessary for your body to learn to tolerate the various hemp-derived CBD compounds upon beginning a regimen, the simple answer is probably not, as developing a tolerance to CBD that inhibits an adequate endocannabinoid system response is highly unlikely. There is no current data of CBD users developing tolerances from too much CBD and Farmulated has personally never received any tolerance-related customer feedback.

Tips to Optimize Your CBD Dosage

This is great news for the thousands of people curious about CBD or just beginning to sample dosages for an effective daily routine. For those still concerned about optimizing their CBD dosage to achieve the best response, here are a few things to consider:

1. Full spectrum CBD oil offers the greatest opportunity to target troubling conditions.

This is because a full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and low-level THC can trigger what is known as the entourage effect, which is best summarized as the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, aka hundreds of cannabis compounds. Isolate, or pure cannabis oil extract, is still a great option for those looking to completely avoid THC but may not produce as comprehensive of results.

2. 1000mg CBD oil will have a profoundly different effect than 500mg CBD oil.

1000mg CBD oil is double the potency of 500mg oil, serving up 33.33mg of hemp-derived CBD extract per 1 mL dose versus 16.67mg per dose. Not all 30 mL CBD bottles are created equal, and while a 500mg bottle of CBD oil may provide a perfect dosage for a friend, your body may require the 1000mg CBD bottle.

3. CBD oil is faster-acting than CBD topicals, capsules and edibles.

If you begin a CBD oil regimen and then switch over to a different form of CBD, you may notice a lack of results in the hours after consumption or application. This is because the sublingual, or “under-the-tongue”, delivery system of oil allows CBD to dissolve into your bloodstream more rapidly. We at Farmulated recommend those maintaining CBD regimens to always include CBD oil to maintain consistent therapeutic effects, then add CBD topicals, capsules and edibles as needed.

4. The quality of your CBD is critical to achieving results.

In a saturated market of low-quality cannabis products, there tends to be plenty of outsourced CBD companies concealing ingredient lists or worse, pushing cheap hempseed oils masquerading as CBD! To break through the abundance of CBD industry noise, we at Farmulated always provide customers a third party-tested certificate of analysis identifying the full chemical composition of our CBD products, including the precise percentage of hemp-derived CBD extract. Without knowing how much CBD you are ingesting, it is impossible to gauge if your CBD products are working effectively.

For us at Farmulated, crafting safe, effective CBD products that will work for our customers has always been our goal, and one best accomplished by growing our own hemp for quality control, creating products with different potencies and delivery systems for individual needs and third-party testing our formulations for full customer transparency. Keeping these principles in mind, the proper dosage should prevent CBD tolerance while improving your overall health and wellness for many years to come!

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