It’s inevitable. Over time, you’ll develop a tolerance to marijuana. The body just works that way, constantly adjusting based on stimuli. In fact, the body works this way with a number of medicines, which causes people to increase their dosage, increasing tolerance, and keeping this cycle going until costs spiral out of control. This phenomenon can be disastrous with pills or most medicines, but at least with marijuana there’s no worry about overdosing or losing efficacy. Rather, the tolerance will grow until you do something about it.

You might have heard about “micro-dosing” and it turns out that taking small dosages can help with tolerances. Really any small dosage will help, especially if you maintain that dosage. Over-medicating with marijuana just means you’ll keep building your tolerance over time, and it’ll keep getting worse. The more you use, the more you’ll grow your tolerance. Also keep in mind that women tend to build a tolerance faster than men. This might be a good thing if you’re wanting some benefits from cannabis but want to reduce the cognitive fuzziness, or other side effects, but in most cases we’re reducing our tolerance because the medicine isn’t as effective as it used to be.

What can you do to actually reduce your tolerance if you’ve built it up already? Change! There are a few things you can change that should give your body a way to reduce its tolerance. The most noticeable: Take a break. This doesn’t work so well if you’re taking cannabis for chronic conditions like seizures, but a break will definitely lower the cannabinoids in your system and lower your tolerance over time. From a couple of days to a week or more, a tolerance break is really the most effective way to reduce your tolerance — it just takes time. Thankfully, there aren’t really any withdrawal symptoms or other negative effects other than the lack of cannabis you might need for medicine.

You can also change up the strain you’re using. Since each strain has a unique profile of cannabinoids, switching to a new strain will change up what’s stored in your body. This requires paying attention to what strains work best for you, and if you can easily switch without losing any effective treatments they provide. Cycling through various strains is a clever way to keep your tolerance down somewhat, although it’s not as effective as taking a complete break.

Finally, you could try different methods of ingesting cannabis. Going from edibles to smoking, or even smoking to vaporizing will switch up the way your body absorbs the cannabinoids, affecting different receptors in the body. It’s sort of a body hack, but if you combine it with cycling strains, taking breaks and limiting dosages, it can be an effective way to get maximum benefits without continuing to increase dosage over time.

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