Before we dive into discussing CBD tolerance (or the lack thereof), I wanted to share with you a conversation I had with Ashley Alt for her mindset health newsletter Take A Sip. She asked me about launching CBDossier and what I hope you, the audience, will gain from it. As always, I’d love it if you wanted to share your thoughts with me. (You can also just reply to this email.)
Question: Is it possible to feel nothing after taking CBD?
Bonni Goldstein: The vast majority of people who say they tried CBD and it didn’t work for them are underdosing. With CBD, if you find you’re not responding to 20 milligrams a day, it doesn’t mean it didn’t work. It probably means you didn’t take enough.
There are some people who don’t respond to CBD at all, that definitely exists. And the question is: ‘Why? Maybe they don’t absorb enough?’ We still need a lot more research.
Can we develop a CBD tolerance? And do we therefore need to consider increasing our dose to get the same effect?
We know for sure that THC causes tolerance. If our cannabinoid receptors
are being hit by THC on a fairly regular basis and in higher doses, they recognize that too much THC is coming at them and they will migrate inside the cell and are unavailable to interact with THC. That’s the concept of tolerance: You need more to get the same benefit because the overall number of targets is down. When you stop using THC
, over time those receptors will migrate out again to be available.
CBD doesn’t bind to the receptors like THC does, so it doesn’t cause tolerance. I have patients who are using the same dose of CBD over time without having to increase the dose.
There is something called reverse tolerance, which means that you eventually don’t need as much medicine. We think that’s because you went from an unbalanced to a more balanced state, by taking CBD over some time, and then you just don’t need as much to keep the wheels rolling. This is not proven, but we have an idea that maybe this is what’s happening.
I have patients who come to me in dire straits. They come up with their cannabis regimen, and then all of a sudden, they’re doing great, and they feel like they don’t need as much. Why? The ECS that couldn’t catch up by itself got back into balance with the help of cannabis. It doesn’t work like that for everybody, but a lot of my patients find a very nice balance where they just don’t need as much.
Would you encourage users to test out if taking less CBD works just as well? Since CBD is not exactly cheap, it could save them some money.
Absolutely. I have patients who can go several days without their CBD and they’re okay, because the inflammation doesn’t just pop right back up. Someone with epilepsy likely has to take it every day because they need to have a steady state. But someone with pain, anxiety and other conditions that come and go, may find that they can try different doses, timing and products to see what works best for their particular situation.
Should you experiment? Sure, take a day off, see how you feel. You may find that you can get away with every two- or three-days dosing. That’s how people find out what their personal regimen is.
But just the same way you may feel you don’t need as much, what if you lose your job, you’re having trouble paying your bills and your anxiety is sky high? You may find you need more as life happens. I find cannabis a very flexible medicine that most people can customize to suit their needs.
📧 What experience do you have with taking CBD?