Interview with a Chronic User: Lowering Marijuana Tolerance
by Marla Thomson, on May 31, 2020 12:54:00 PM
Having a high marijuana tolerance is something many medical marijuana patients and heavy weed users face, new users want to avoid and the subject of a recent blog post here on the Buddy Boy Brands blog! We recently had the opportunity to talk with a former colleague, Kelly, and long-time cannabis user about their experiences with high marijuana tolerance and what you can do to help lower it.
Buddy Boy Brands: Hello and thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Kelly!
Kelly: No problem! Always happy to talk about the awesome things that come from marijuana!
BBB: Great, well let’s get right into it! How long have you been consuming marijuana, and in what forms?
K: I’ve been partaking in marijuana in one form or another for more than a couple of decades now. I first started smoking - joints, pipes, bongs - while in college, definitely for recreational purposes. Later on and more recently for the health benefits, though I still like getting high for fun!
BBB: You say first for recreational reasons, then later for health benefits. Can you explain a bit more?
K: I love getting high so I never really stopped after I graduated college. After several years of recreational smoking I started to notice how getting stoned would smooth out my thoughts, take the edge off of my edginess and even get me energized. About this time the actual health benefits were becoming more mainstream, and the conversation and general attitude towards marijuana were shifting. I also had a couple of injuries that, had it not been for my marijuana usage, might have required opioids for pain relief.
BBB: So, you have a medical card now, correct?
K: Yes, I’m a medical patient for my injuries, though I could probably also qualify for anxiety and other mental conditions - to be honest, I don’t know and I seriously think because I’ve used so much marijuana for such a long time that I’ve never really had issues with those conditions. I know we shouldn’t self-medicate but before medical marijuana laws passed, that’s all MJ users could do!
BBB: So, it’s safe to say that you are a heavy user, right?
K: Yes, I’d say I’m a chronic user who’s used heavily for about two-thirds of their life.
BBB: You must have a high tolerance to marijuana, then! How do you handle that, especially now that you are a medical user?
K: Yes, I have a pretty high tolerance if I don’t pay attention to it. In the beginning, when I would smoke weed for fun, it was all about getting as high as you could, almost smoking yourself to where you don’t feel high anymore. I’d call it “finding my new cannabis plateau”. Now it’s far more about the wellness benefits of the weed, but also having fun (which for your overall daily attitude is important)! But having used marijuana for a long time I do find myself finding my “cannabis plateau” much easier and more frequently.
Every now and then I take a break. I take a day or two off, and every 6-8 months I’ll even take a full week off. Taking a weed break was really easy if I was going on vacation or traveling for work. Also, whenever you’re sick, you can’t really smoke so I’d take those opportunities to lay off the ganja for a bit. Then of course the times I’ve been looking for a new job I stop smoking and do a cleanse.
BBB: Have you tried other methods to lower your tolerance level?
K: Yep, changing strains has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve always been a sativa-consumer because weed does tend to make me a bit lazy (especially the older I’m getting!), so I always assumed that indica-dominant or even hybrid strains would do their namesake and send me “in-da-couch”, but to my surprise they didn’t. Smoking more indica is actually changing it up enough for me to get my high back on!
I also change up the ways I take marijuana. I started smoking marijuana and hash by smoking in either joints, bongs or pipes. Later on I became a consumer of edibles and drinkables, then I was and still am a vaper. For the longest time, the ease of consuming the weed was most important to me. Now it’s the effect that I’m receiving. Whereas before I probably would never have tried infused oils and tinctures, now I use them from time to time to change up the delivery method.
I’ve also read that healthy diets, exercise and rest can help but these are a part of my daily routine anyway. Same thing with ripe mangoes, sweet potatoes, omega-3 supplements and other foods can help, but again I eat/take all of these so I’m not sure of the direct benefits. Still, the bottom line of having a healthy lifestyle is paramount to anything working well for our bodies.
BBB: Do you think you are smoking less or more, though? Because changing it up is great, but don’t you find yourself needing more weed to feel the same effect, regardless of the changes?
K: I’m actually smoking less than before, and I’d say that I’m feeling the effects about the same or maybe a little less.
What I’ve been doing lately is being mindful of my smoking. I know this sounds like the latest buzz word, but taking the time to realize that I’m smoking and to enjoy the high has really helped me curb the amount I’m consuming.
BBB: Mindfulness, can you explain that a bit more?
K: Like I mentioned before, in the beginning it was all about getting super stoned. I’d be with friends and we’d smoke up, watch movies, listen to music or just do fun things. Then later on it was more for the benefits, but my thought patterns about smoking were the same: get super stoned!
Recently I’ve been taking the time - almost taking a step back - to realize I’m smoking and getting high, to appreciate the feeling and health benefits, and to enjoy the high. I’m realizing more why I’m smoking, rather than just smoking for the sake of getting high. Sometimes I have a mini conversation with myself before I smoke to check why I’m smoking. Sometimes I realize that it’s not the best time to smoke - like I’m about to eat or leave the house - and wind up not smoking or at least not as much.
I also meditate before and after getting stoned. I don’t mean an hour long meditation, but just a quick 10-15 minutes of concentration on my breathing, humming some “om’s” and being aware of the good things I am doing for my body, mind and spirit. This over time is more effective at lowering my marijuana tolerance than everything I’ve mentioned before, except taking a long break.
BBB: Bringing all of this together, what would you suggest to someone experiencing a high tolerance to do?
K: I would say to take a break if you can for as long as you can. This is the best route because it actually resets your endocannabinoid system. If you aren’t able to, like medical patients, then change it up. Try using a method that allows you to decrease your dose and maybe spread them out throughout the day. Keep track of what you are taking, too. Don’t let yourself just grab some MMJ cookies without knowing how much you’re taking.
Most of all, be aware that you are smoking and give yourself the time, even if for a few minutes, to enjoy the high and fully internalize the benefits. If this is some meditating or just being mindful, being present when you smoke can really help maximize the positive effects of smoking.