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The Stoner’s Guide to Tolerance Breaks

If you’re reaching Snoop levels of consumption, it might be time for a tolerance break—here’s how to breeze through it with the help of CBD.
The Best CBD Products for Getting Through a Tolerance Break
Composite by Vice Staff

Do you remember the first few times you got super-high with your friends and absolutely anything could send you into a snot-dripping, tears-streaming, loss-of-breath case of the giggles? You can experience that joy again—it just might take a while. If you can put away trees better than Cheech and Chong, you’re probably all too familiar with the concept of a tolerance break (or a T-break, according to the youths). I usually know it’s time for a little reprieve when my cannabis bill is more expensive than my car insurance.

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Basically, our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), the one that reacts with cannabis, is “a very dynamic and responsive system,” according to Weedmaps. It will adjust its sensitivity over time once it “senses [that] it is being overwhelmed by THC.” Meaning, the more you smoke, the more you’ll have to smoke in the future to keep feeling that familiar buzz you know and love. There are some benefits to building up a higher tolerance—for instance, people that use medicinal cannabis on a daily basis for chronic pain and sleep issues might not enjoy all of its psychoactive effects.

I never experience paranoia anymore, and I can basically hit any joint—well, at least one rolled by a human I know, not a stranger on the street (guilty, but don’t recommend)—without worrying that this Crouching Tiger Hidden Alien strain is going to send me into the fourth dimension. In other words: My tolerance is high. Maybe a little too high. The lack of scaries is amazing, but I miss being a one-hit wonder. Being a cheap date is cool because $100 worth of weed will last you months, versus a couple weeks (or *cough* days *cough*). And after abstaining, getting high again feels refreshingly potent. 

It’s difficult to find a ton of scientifically backed info regarding how long you’ll have to go without smoking to feel a significant effect—it all sort of depends on how much you consume, yadda yadda. But at least one study has found that your “CB1 receptors rapidly return to a cannabis-naive state after a mere 48 hours of abstinence,” meaning that if you are always followed by a trail of smoke, it’s going to take a bare minimum of two days to start reaping the benefits of a T-break—and the longer you go, the more worthwhile the results will be. 

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To some of us particularly stony types, the thought of two days (or even two hours) without THC can send us into a spiral, and in extreme cases, you may actually experience symptoms of withdrawal during a T-break, including “irritability, decreased appetite, depressed mood, restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia.” So to help you through this tough time, these are all the things I keep locked ‘n’ loaded once the time comes to lay off the grass for a week or two. 

Wyld CBD seltzer

CBD-infused drinks are nothing new; in many states, you can find hemp drinks at grocery stores these days. But if you’re used to THC, five to10 milligrams of hemp are probably not gonna do it for ya. WYLD’s sparkling waters have 25 milligrams of broad-spectrum CBD and real fruit juice, so they taste like a Spindrift (but with an added relaxing effect). They’re perfect for those days when you're feeling a little extra anxious and want to take the edge off. Instead of taking an afternoon coffee break, which will definitely make things worse, a refreshing infused seltzer will scratch the same itch. 


$19.95$15.96 at Wyld CBD

$19.95$15.96 at Wyld CBD

Recess Mood

What makes Recess’ line of adaptogenic drinks so deeply relaxing? The addition of magnesium and L-theanine, two compounds with proven benefits when it comes to unwinding and quieting down your brain (and both of which my vet has recommended for my high-strung dog). Both are known to ease tension and insomnia naturally—magnesium L-threonate is “a new form of magnesium shown to enter the brain and create more feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine,” says Recess—and we could all use more feel-good neurotransmitters.


$35 at Recess

$35 at Recess
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Barbari Airplane Mode

What I miss the most while abstaining from cannabis is my evening wind-down ritual of a post-work doob in the backyard or on a walk with the dog. A lot of smoking culture is about the habit—and it’s better to fill the void with something like an herbal loosie than a cocktail, no? You’d be surprised at how relaxing it is to smoke a bunch of herbs, and Barbari’s best-selling Airplane Mode blend is made up of rose petals, lavender, sage, raspberry leaf, and blue lotus, which “calms the senses and can support lucid dreams once asleep,” according to the brand.


$23 at Urban Outfitters

$23 at Urban Outfitters

Time-Out CBD Pack

Maybe you’ve seen Flower by Edie Parker’s stylish smoking accessories. The chic brand makes everything from one-hitter necklaces to flavored rolling papers and cones, and now it’s got its very own line of CBD products. I particularly liked this cute n’ easy five-pack that is made with a combo of CBD and CBG, the latter of which is a cannabinoid known for its energizing and uplifting properties, making it ideal for your morning wake n’ bake—or stashing in your bag when you don’t know what kind of stress the day holds.


$35 at Edie Parker Flower

$35 at Edie Parker Flower

Tonic CBD vape pen 

If you just can’t stop hitting your weed vape pen, you might be more addicted to the actual act of vaping rather than the contents. There is something so appealing about the immediacy and oral-fixation-satisfying elements of a vape pen that it makes it nearly impossible to set down. I start to panic every time I misplace mine, which is about once every 45 minutes. But that’s all the more reason why during a T-break, switching to a CBD vape pen is a no-brainer. I’ve been a fan of Tonic’s high-quality hemp products for years, but it wasn’t until finding its CBD vape that my anxiety started to subside. It’s great for quick mood boosts, or when you feel like you NEED some weed. 


$70 at Tonic

$70 at Tonic

You can do it, compadre. I promise, if you make it through the week you will be thanking your lucky stars—and enjoying a more satisfying hit when you’re back in the stony zone.


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter