Does CBD Create Tolerance? A Closer Look At Long-Term CBD Use
With so many people using CBD on a daily basis to relieve chronic symptoms, many are worried that it could lead to tolerance: needing to take more just to feel the same effects. They’re also worried about becoming dependent on it, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when no longer taking CBD. However, these fears are largely unfounded. Keep reading to find out why the effects of long-term CBD use are much more positive than you might expect.
Does CBD create tolerance?
The short answer to the question is no, CBD tolerance isn’t a thing.
Here’s the longer answer to the question:
CBD doesn’t seem to have a lot of side effects. While putting together a review of dozens of different CBD studies, a group of scientists discovered that none of these studies detected any serious side effects.
Even more interesting, this 2017 review showed that no studies had ever found a single instance of CBD tolerance. Conversely, many studies suggested that CBD creates “reverse tolerance”. In other words, the longer test subjects took CBD, the less they needed to take to feel the same effects.
The curious case of CBD reverse tolerance is actually easy to explain. CBD works on so many different symptoms because it gives a boost to the endocannabinoid system. After taking CBD for a while, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works much better because it is no longer depleted. As a result, less CBD is required to achieve the original effects.
Is it possible to develop a CBD addiction?
Like any substance that creates pleasant feelings, CBD could make you want to come back to it time and time again. But it’s no more addictive than, say, a chocolate bar or a nice massage.
To be considered addictive, a substance must have three characteristics:
1- Lead to tolerance
A hallmark of addictive substances is that you need to take more and more just to feel the effects you originally experienced. As we’ve discussed in the section above, CBD doesn’t create tolerance, quite the opposite.
2- Create physical dependence
Another characteristic of addictive substances is that the body learns to rely on them. To stop taking them means experiencing withdrawal symptoms that can range from headaches and anxiety to persistent insomnia and even seizures. To date, CBD has never been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms and it’s likely it doesn’t cause any physical dependence.
3- Negatively impact the life of the addicted person
The third hallmark of an addictive drug is that it causes havoc in the life of the addicted person. The compulsion to keep taking the addictive substance gets in the way of normal home and work life. Because of its lack of physical addictiveness, people don’t typically consume CBD in a compulsive way. Moreover, as a non-psychoactive substance, CBD doesn’t affect your ability to live your life as normal.
In short, developing a CBD addiction is near impossible. In fact, there are no reported cases of CBD addiction despite years of research.
Can you OD on CBD?
How much CBD is too much? Could you ever take a dose so high that you overdose on CBD? To date, there are no reported cases of people experiencing serious harm from taking too much CBD. In fact, researchers think it’s unlikely that any cannabinoid would lead to an overdose leading to death. But that’s not to say you can’t experience any negatives from taking large doses of CBD.
Taking a lot more CBD than you’re used to has been associated with side effects such as lethargy, nausea, and changes in appetite. That said, experienced users sometimes take substantial doses with no side effects. For example, this 2017 study gave its subjects 600mg doses of CBD and didn’t find it to have any side effects. 600mg is roughly equivalent to 4 whole bottles of CBD oil or a whole CBD vape pen.
What Are The Effects of Long-Term CBD Use?
Taking CBD daily on a long-term basis certainly has an effect on your body, but not in ways that should worry you! Here is a closer look at 3 effects of long-term CBD use:
Balanced Endocannabinoid System
When you first start taking CBD products, the effects can be dramatic: you sleep much better, you’re no longer in pain, or you just never get as stressed as you used to. With long-term CBD use, these effects start to become your new normal. In the beginning, CBD rebalances your endocannabinoid system. But in the long term, it simply maintains that balance.
In the very beginning, CBD can hit you hard. Some people report feeling very dizzy the first time they take CBD or needing to take a nap straight away. After a couple of weeks of daily use, your body is much more used to the substance, which means you can take higher doses without experiencing side effects.
One of the best things that happen with long-term CBD use is that you start to develop reverse tolerance. Let’s say you start off taking 100mg of CBD a day to relieve chronic back pain. After a couple of months, you may only need 75mg to feel the same sense of relief. This is because your endocannabinoid system is operating from a place of balance, not one of deficit.
Reverse tolerance makes CBD a great long-term alternative to many painkillers and sleeping pills—which tend to cause both tolerance and habituation. Besides, this unique property of CBD also means that the longer you take it, the less money you’ll tend to spend on it.
It’s normal to be worried about tolerance, habituation, and dependence when taking any new substance for medicinal use. But cannabis researchers are unanimous: CBD doesn’t cause any of these effects. So even if you’re considering taking CBD on a daily basis, you can be assured that its long-term effects are no worse than its short-term ones.
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