Some drugs have been shown to cause tolerance, or tolerance, with long-term use. In this article, we will describe how this is the case for CBD. The cannabis plant contains dozens of molecular compounds known as cannabinoids that can alter all aspects of health, including sleep, mood, appetite, and even pain. Unfortunately, some of these compounds become less effective the more you use them. For example, people who use cannabis with high levels of THC to treat pain, they find they have to keep increasing the dose to feel the same relief. In some cases, they have to take periodic “tolerance breaks” to get the effects back to normal.
This is something that concerns new CBD users. They ask: Is CBD really a good long-term solution? Will I have to keep increasing the dose to feel the same effects? In fact, the opposite is true. The longer you take CBD, the less you’ll need it to feel its effects. So how does this “reverse tolerance” work and what does it mean for you? Let’s see what research tells us about the relationship between CBD and tolerance.
Does CBD cause tolerance?
In 2017, two researchers combined years of study into a scientific review titled “Update on the Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol” (here is the link to the study). This study taught us a few important things about CBD. For example, it showed us that CBD becomes more bioavailable the higher the dose you take. It also showed that CBD has few side effects and can be considered a safe substance. Finally, an important discovery was made: none of the studies reviewed showed that CBD causes tolerance. After more than a decade of research into the effects of CBD on animal and human populations, not a single study has shown that it produces any tolerance;
In fact, CBD can cause something called “reverse tolerance”. The longer you take CBD, the more receptive your body becomes to the molecule. As a result, you can get by with using smaller and smaller doses while still getting the same benefits. Some people claim that CBD causes “reverse tolerance” because taking it corrects endocannabinoid deficiency We know that some people have lower levels of cannabinoids in their bodies. This can lead to a deficiency that causes a malfunction of the endocannabinoid system;
So when these people start taking CBD, their cannabinoid stores return to normal and their symptoms improve rapidly. Over time, they don’t need as much CBD to feel the same effects because their cannabinoid stores are less depleted. So reverse CBD tolerance occurs and means they are able to gradually reduce the dose while maintaining the effects.
The benefits of “reverse tolerance” CBD
Reverse tolerance is one of the things that makes CBD so useful as a replacement for many types of drugs. For example, CBD can replace some painkillers because it is effective in treating inflammatory and neuropathic types of pain. But while conventional painkillers become less effective over time, CBD can provide the same relief year after year. This is very good news for chronic pain sufferers, who often have few good options: they are usually prescribed drugs that cause tolerance, cause dependence (like opioid-based drugs), or cause liver damage. CBD is a better choice because it has none of these negative effects;
The same goes for using CBD as a sleep aid. A lot of sleeping pills traditionally prescribed for insomnia only work for a while. If you take them every night for years, they become less and less effective. So a better alternative might be something like CBD, which aids sleep but causes no tolerance. And in a much more practical sense, tolerance is CBD oils good news because it can save you some money. CBD is not cheap, especially if you need to use large amounts. But it’s good to know that the longer you use it, the more you’ll be able to reduce the dose. Over time, you may be able to feel the health benefits of CBD oil after just a few milligrams a day;
Why does THC cause tolerance but not CBD?
THC is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that also has many health benefits. In addition, THC is the “psychoactive” compound in cannabis, which means it will give you an altered state of consciousness. People who use THC for health or recreational reasons often find that they have to keep increasing their doses if they want to maintain the same effects. So how is it that some cannabinoids like THC cause tolerance while CBD does not? Part of the answer lies in the way these molecules bind to our receptors;
Research has found that THC causes tolerance because regular use reduces the sensitivity of CB1 receptors. Over time, THC triggers fewer and fewer CB1 receptors, making the same dose less effective. CBD binds to the same receptors as THC, but in a slightly different way. The two molecules have nearly identical structures, except for one major difference: CBD has a hydroxyl group where THC has a cyclic ring. We think this difference in structure explains why they have different effects on CB1 receptors. As a result, THC has the ability to reduce CB1 receptor sensitivity, while CBD does not;
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It seems that the more we study CBD, the more we realize how beneficial it is compared to conventional synthetic drugs. Today, research shows that CBD does not cause tolerance, even when taken daily. In fact, many people report experiencing “reverse tolerance” when taking CBD. For those who need relief from chronic illness, CBD is an attractive option.