Is it possible to build a tolerance for CBD?

Published Feb 13, 2019 04:06 p.m. ET

Those who have consumed cannabis, caffeine, or sugar understand while the effects are wonderful while they last, overindulging often leads to a tolerance that can be difficult to keep up long term. Since CBD is now being studied in depth for its potential in the medical field, many have begun to question the possible consequences of taking too much CBD. Since THC and CBD are both cannabinoids produced by the same plant, it makes sense that that building a tolerance to CBD should be the very same as forming one for THC. Luckily that isn’t the case. Just like with sugar, caffeine, and other highly addictive substances, the chemical CBD is derived from plants, but its effects on an individual's tolerance levels are almost the polar opposite of any of those listed above. The reality is that CBD is its very own chemical that works differently as it reacts with a person’s body.

Reverse Effects

Those just learning about CBD and the way it interacts with the human body will be pleasantly surprised to find that the array of health benefits from taking the chemical include the body’s inability to build a tolerance to CBD like it can for its counterpart THC. High tolerance to CBD is referred to as a reverse tolerance. When a person experiences reverse tolerance, taking the same CBD dosage over an extended period leads to the individual requiring less of it over time to achieve the same results. Repeated use of CBD promotes an increase in the activity that occurs within the person’s receptor cells. This is because CBD doesn’t go through the same process of chemical break down that slowly decreases the chemicals effectiveness. Instead, a small residual amount is left behind which increases the potency of future doses that are introduced to the body.

CBD oil tolerance

Some people still believe that since CBD oil is so condensed, it must be possible to build up a CBD oil tolerance. This is not true. CBD oil is made of the same chemical just in larger more condensed doses. Since the compound interacts with and leaves the body differently, even in its most pure form, there is no way humanly possible to build a tolerance to CBD.

How much CBD to take

The ideal amount of CBD for a person to take will depend on a variety of factors including the degree of the symptoms they are trying to treat; the specific issues being medicated and of course your tolerance levels. Since CBD does stay within a person’s system and its benefits of mainly medicinal the best way to gauge the ideal CBD dosage for you will be through experimenting. It is recommended to always begin at the lowest dose and work your way up. Below are some basic guidelines on recommended dosing for CBD.


Light - Those who are looking to self-medicate light to moderate symptoms should begin at the very lowest dose possible. If it’s is your first-time using CBD regardless of symptoms it is generally recommended you start here with a small 5mg dose.

Moderate - If you are needing to treat moderate to severe symptoms than you may benefit more from beginning at a higher dose. 10mg to 15mg is recommended at this level.

Severe - For patients with severe to extreme symptoms a higher dose of 20mg to 30mg is most recommended.

Extreme - The largest starting point for a dose of CBD should only be taken by those who are looking to treat severe to extreme ailments. The recommended starting dose for this group is 40mg- 60mg.

Conclusion and implications

There is absolutely no such thing as too much CBD, be it in one sitting or over an extended period.  The fact that the chemical can create a reverse tolerance and be treated as an illness is something that has never been seen in the medical field before. Implications of such characteristics would be overwhelmingly positive with patients slowly over time requiring less to be treated which means their medications would also gradually get cheaper. CBD itself is also not an addictive substance and provides only physical relief with no psychoactive or mind-altering type high or effects that could impair a person. This is one of the many reasons scientist are exploring options for using CBD to replace many of our current traditional prescriptions that come with far too many negative side effects.  



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