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Can You Build A Tolerance To CBD?

Can You Build A Tolerance To CBD?

Can I use CBD for a long period of time? Would the effect fade away? And can my body create a tolerance to CBD? Are you looking for answers to these questions? 

Incessant use of marijuana can lead to tolerance building, where the user needs increasing dosages to get the same effect. 

With CBD and THC both being part of the cannabis family, it must of course be assumed that tolerance can also be built up. So is it true? 

What is tolerance?

No matter how strong or weak substances are, most people can confirm through their own experience that the human body becomes more tolerant of the effect of substances with regular intake. We are all aware of the concept of tolerance from everyday life. Whether it is the essential cup of coffee or the pot of tea. They help increase the energy through the day, longer-lasting concentration and improved productivity. Nonetheless, with time of regular consumption, the effect of it decreases, which gives rise to the idea of increasing the dosage.

A tolerance can be divided into three categories.

  • Cellular

Let’s take the coffee for example, the cellular tolerance reacts less to substances, which is why more coffee must be consumed in order to feel the desired reaction again.

  • Metabolic
On the other hand metabolic tolerance describes the fact that only a small amount of the actual active substance reaches the site of interaction.


  • Behavioral 
Least, but not last, the category of behavioral tolerance describes the approach that people psychologically get used to the effect. 


It will be easy to define which usage and substance to which category belongs, as for reality it is not that simple. It could be a combination of those categories as it always depends on how a particular body reacts with the consumed substances.

It is important to remember that the rate of intake of a substance is highly individual. One person using CBD oil may find difference after a week of use, while another person may notice it takes longer to become more tolerant. 

CBD, tolerance and reverse tolerance

Could we assume that cannabidiol (CBD) behaves in the human body in a similar way to tea, coffee or sugar? 

Nowadays, CBD products can often be found in health stores and even supermarkets. Reported, as well tolerated with a good safety profile by the World Health Organization, and used by millions of people, CBD products are still raising questions regarding the consumable amount and human body tolerance towards it. 

As CBD belongs to a group of cannabinoids, so does the intoxicating THC and is widely known that taken regularly and over a long period of time that this active ingredient achieves tolerance.

Dissimilar to THC, this reaction cannot be seen when consuming CBD products. Rather, scientists have found that there is a possible opposite effect. They termed it reverse tolerance.

Reverse tolerance 

The reason CBD can induce reverse tolerance is because it increases the body’s natural endocannabinoids. In a simple way said, the users of CBD can reduce their dose over time and get the same results. Moreover, CBD is the opposite of THC, which in turn reduces cannabinoid receptors over time. This is why THC users are encouraged to up their dosage for the same effect. 

What is exceptional in this situation?  

Researchers from the Department of Neuropharmacology at Fukoka University found that because of the indirect binding to receptors, the human body is theoretically less prone to tolerance. According to their study, consuming CBD products should rather have a positive effect  and improve the binding affinity of particular receptors and the production of endocannabinoids. 

From a medical and CBD perspective it is remarkable how the consumers can reduce their intake dose over time and consequently achieve the same outcome, instead of increasing it over time. This chain of positive influences is named reverse tolerance.

CBD in the treatments of Epilepsy

According to a study from the American Epilepsy Society  ⅓  of patients from different age groups taking CBD for treatment resistant epilepsy developed tolerance. The study was in the period of 19.8 months, and during this time 92 patients were being tested from which 32% developed a tolerance.

"CBD is a good choice for children and adults with certain types of epilepsy, but as with antiseizure drugs, it may become less effective over time and the dose may need to be increased to manage seizures," said Shimrit Uliel-Sibony, MD, lead author and director of childcare for children with epilepsy at Dana-Dwek Children's Hospital at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

However, some of the patients from this study ended up getting back the desired results with an increase in dosage, others did not. The research is promising for the effect of CBD on treating epilepsy, and further study is needed to truly understand the reason those patient developed a tolerance 

What to do when you feel you have created tolerance?

Let’s assume you’ve been using CBD as an oil, gummies or CBD topical treatments for several months or a year. Does it feel like you’re not getting the results you want? What now? Should you stop it? 

Apparently your first thought would be to increase the dose, right? Which will probably work, but it is still not a long term solution.

Depending on many factors, CBD should be gone out of the human body no later than 7 days after the last application. Try to avoid using CBD for at least two days. Then start using it again and try a slightly lower dose. 

Final thoughts

It is challenging to form a definitive answer given the current state of science. As for today CBD is not heavily researched, so there is no clear answer for whom, in what circumstances and for what period of time the CBD could build up tolerance in the human body. The development of tolerance is influenced by a number of factors that do not depend on the active ingredient.

The general consensus on the matter is “no” CBD based products like oil, gummies, and topical CBD usage does not result in building up a tolerance. The first results seem to be positive, so a lasting negative can be given as to whether one develops a tolerance to CBD. One might assume that with the available information this may also have a positive effect on tolerance to other cannabinoids.

Nevertheless, we concentrate on developing everyday better products which are shown to have reverse tolerance, which we can share with you in Molecule Health. 


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