Written by: Shawn O’mara
Edited by: Patrick Thompson
I’m not here to lecture those who smoke cannabis everyday. With self-control and a decent work ethic it’s easy to function and smoke everyday.
I decided to take a tolerance break because I felt like my medicine was becoming less effective.
My body had gotten desensitized to cannabis, it took a higher dosage of medicine for me to feel the effects, and it was time for a tolerance break. I decided to take a two week break from cannabis.
At first I experienced withdrawal symptoms; it was nearly impossible to sleep at night. I also had a loss of appetite. Not to mention I had anxiety, mood swings and some irritability. My advice to those experiencing these symptoms is to stay busy. Activities like exercise that release endorphins are preferred. Physical activity will also help you sleep at night; this way you’re not up at 3 A.M staring at the clock craving cannabis to knock you out for the night.
Just because one may experience withdrawal symptoms does not mean you are necessarily addicted. Imagine playing Xbox everyday for a year and then you just stop one day, don’t you think you would have the urge to pick up a controller and pwn some noobs? If cannabis is part of your daily routine as it was in mine, your body will most likely still desire it during your break.
One thing I noticed during my tolerance break was the vividness of my dreams. They were crystal clear and very obscure. When you smoke cannabis before bed, or even drink alcohol. Cannabis puts you into a deeper sleep, preventing REM sleep, which is when dreaming, occurs.
REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) is the part of the sleeping cycle where your brain is most active. During this stage blood flow to the brain is decreased and redirected towards muscles, this allows the body and mind to rest and recover. The more REM sleep you get, the more likely you will wake up feeling reenergized.
THC affects the duration of REM sleep; this is why cannabis users who often toke before bed cannot recall their dreams. Marijuana lengthens the amount of time spent in deeper sleep cycles (Stages 3&4) and to compensate the user loses time in REM sleep.
To account for your deprivation of REM sleep, your brain will experience what’s called a REM rebound effect during a tolerance break. A REM rebound effect causes denser and longer periods of REM sleep throughout the night. This explains why my dreams became so vivid and intense. It is unknown whether losing REM sleep to marijuana is actually harmful or not. Marijuana is still ruled as a Schedule I drug so research on it is forbidden.
Tolerance breaks are no easy task; they require a lot of self-control, especially if you’re a regular user. But a little break has a lot of benefits, you save a little cash, decrease your THC tolerance, and experience the dreams that you have been missing out on.