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Cannabis tolerance: Navigating the ups and downs

Ar 180119978
David Holub/DGO
Ar 180119978
David Holub/DGO

Cannabis tolerance: Navigating the ups and downs

David Holub/DGO

Where do you sit on the spectrum of “one-hit wonder” to “21-gram ... no ... 22-gram dabber”? Or, to put things more formally, what sort of cannabis tolerance do you have? Tolerance is the body’s reaction to a measured, repeated dose of a chemical, the gist being that as the body becomes acquainted to the chemical, larger or more frequent doses are necessary to achieve the same effect as the initial use. This is, in many cases, a no bueno situation, especially with chemicals like alcohol, opiates, and stimulants, which have potentially fatal toxicity levels. Today, we are going to take a little look at some of the ins and outs of building a tolerance to Colorado Green.

I personally enjoy the occasional consumption of cannabis at a level way above my daily average. This can play out in one of a few ways. It is basically guaranteed to happen every time I visit my boy Rooster at Le Dab Palace: It was at his place that I took my first dab; at his place I learned about resin and rosin (which is taking me even longer to organize in my mental file than the indica/sativa distinction took – about half a decade), then took possibly the best nap of my life thereafter; there was also the time that a steady diet of dabs over the course of three winter days that allowed me another great nap. It ended in the strange hinterland of an imaginary conversation with two far-flung cousins through a trap door in the ceiling of my unconscious mind as I babbled myself awake to the tears of laughter of Rooster and V, who had been listening to my end of a spirit conversation. Hey, it happens.

More often, it happens with edibles or, in my specific case, a double-grain-of-rice-sized piece of Rick Simpson oil, around 90 percent THC concentration. My tolerance to remain awake and conversational is approximately the size of a half grain. Every few months, it is time for the best night’s sleep imaginable, so I quadruple up and ride the rocket ship to Weed World. One auxiliary benefit of this heavy portion is the almost-guaranteed trance state I usually wake in after (yup, you guessed it) a great nap. This is an interesting iteration of consciousness: I’m aware enough to recognize that I’m highly altered, but goofy enough to need to watch my feet shuffle in order to confirm movement. It is a nice state of mind to sit on the porch and watch the wind and clouds play peek-a-boo with the moon.

One of the benefits, as it were, to developing a high tolerance to cannabis, especially in the edible form, is the ability of our bodies to process progressively greater amounts of the healing elements of the plant extracts found within. One example would be the protocol recommended by Simpson to cure cancer, a regimen that calls for the ingestion of 60 grams of hash oil in the span of 90 days. This also holds true for the difference in ingestion between smoked flower and vaped concentrates for many of the other ailments for which medical marijuana offers palliative relief, conditions like Crohn’s Disease, colitis, chronic pain, and spasticity.

The downside to building a high tolerance? Getting high can get expensive. There are a couple fixes for this: One, you can take a break – I know, not a pretty choice, but a couple weeks smoking minimally or not at all will change the amount you need to consume; Two, change your strain. The different arrangements of cannabanoids and terpenes found in different varieties can have profoundly different effects, especially after consuming primarily one specific cultivar for a span of time.

The absolute beauty of cannabis, DGO, is the fact that, no matter how much you take in daily, for how many years, there will never come a point when the tolerance you have built will put you in fatal danger, so feel free to smoke, eat, or otherwise ingest to your heart’s content.

Christopher Gallagher lives with his wife and their four dogs and two horses. Life is pretty darn good. Contact him at chrstphrgallagher@gmail.com.

Ar 180119978

David Holub/DGO