Does Exercising Lower Your Tolerance to Weed?

We take a closer look
Nicole Richter Nicole Richter / Updated on April 26, 2019

Working Out Weed Tolerance

Marijuana smokers across the world all have to deal with one constant, ever-present irritation that has baffled those looking for that perfect high for centuries – weed tolerance.

Weed tolerance is that frustrating condition where, as you use more weed, your ability to enjoy it diminishes. You essentially begin to develop a level of tolerance to your weed that means that it has less and less of an effect on you.

There is a myriad of different reasons why this happens, but one thing that has been circulating on the internet in recent years is whether or not working out has any effect on your weed tolerance.

So, what’s the truth? Does working out actually affect your weed tolerance?

What is Weed Tolerance?

To figure out whether or not working out diminishes your weed tolerance; we first need to understand what weed tolerance is to begin with.

When you imbibe marijuana, the cannabinoids within the plant are processed and carried by your bloodstream to your liver, wherein it is broken down by enzymes and eventually makes its way to the endocannabinoid system, allowing it to affect the brain, nervous system, and all other parts of the body.

The actual points of contact whereby cannabinoids interact with the ECS are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which is where the cannabinoids ultimately affix themselves, allowing for the ECS to become stimulated and produce different effects.

Weed tolerance comes into the equation when you consider the fact that the human body has naturally occurring cannabinoids that it uses for a myriad of different reasons. For example, the inflammatory response is ultimately governed by the body’s slow release of cannabinoids onto the ECS – by shutting off this supply of natural cannabinoids, the body triggers the inflammation response.

However, the CB1 and CB2 receptors are able to become too used to cannabinoids, necessarily causing them to less frequently register the existence of cannabinoids, even if they are physically next to the receptors. Studies such as this one by Colizzi and Bhattacharyya for the Journal of Neuroscience and Biobehavior have found that weed tolerance develops slowly as a result of continuous exposure to potent cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Weed tolerance is basically your body getting too used to weed and not being able to feel the effects of it in the same way that you used to. The only method that many people try and use to overcome it is to increase their dosage of weed so to as to overcome their tolerance and still reach the same high as before. Unfortunately, this is a pretty lousy cycle to begin, as you end up having to endlessly increase your weed dosage over time to compensate for your growing tolerance.

Eventually, you might find yourself spending way more money than you ever did on weed, all in a vain attempt to overcome your body’s natural response to too much cannabis.

However, what about exercise? Is there any truth in the claims that it helps reduce your tolerance levels?

Does Exercise Actually Reduce Your Tolerance Levels?

Trying to study and understand weed tolerance is a difficult thing from a scientific perspective, as it is an incredibly intimate thing that is unique to each individual. We are all born with a certain tolerance to cannabinoids; in fact, some people are born with a massive initial tolerance, so much so that they don’t feel anything from weed.

Trying to accurately measure the rate at which weed tolerance declines can feel almost impossible to many scientists. However, there are plenty of anecdotal cases wherein people claim to have had their weed tolerance reduced due to exercise.

There are two primary reasons why exercise might help reduce your weed tolerance.

Possible Reason #1: Fat Reduction

When you work out, your body utilizes your fat reserves that are made up of lipid cells. These lipids are preserved by your body as an emergency fuel source in the event of you not being able to eat anything. These fat cells also serve a dual purpose in being a bit of a storage center for many other substances, one of which is cannabinoids.

These fat cells can contain trace amounts of cannabinoids, either natural ones generated by your body and stored by your nervous system for later use in activating your ECS, or ones that you have imbibed through smoking marijuana.

When you work out, you burn those fat cells and remove your body’s constant contact with these built-up cannabinoids, resulting in a lower weed tolerance. This is pretty difficult to accurately prove though, as everyone loses weight at different rates, as well as storing different substances in different parts of the body.

It is entirely possible that this is the reason, but it is far more likely instead that the reason is…

Possible Reason #2: Exercise Makes You Feel Better

This reason is something that very few people really consider, so it makes sense why it isn’t the first thing that people think of when thinking about weed tolerance.

When you exercise, you are not only working your muscles and getting fitter and healthier, but your body actively feels better. It releases a chemical called endorphins that create a positive, happy feeling throughout your entire body, causing you just generally feel better and have a better day.

It isn’t strong enough to notice every single time, but this endorphin rush can lead to you feeling happier, relaxed and more at peace for yourself.

So why does this reduce weed tolerance? Because when you are happy, you are probably smoking less weed.

Many people use weed recreationally to enjoy themselves and relax, as well as to feel good about themselves. If you are exercising, you are already enjoying yourself more easily, as well as just generally feeling better about yourself.

As your happiness levels rise, you will subconsciously be using less weed, thus allowing your tolerance to diminish over time.

This means that, in a strangely poetic way, working out does indeed lower your weed tolerance, but just not directly.

However, if you are still determined to smoke the same amount of weed no matter how you are feeling, you might still be struggling with your weed tolerance, so what kinds of steps can you take to help combat this?

What Can You Do to Lower Your Tolerance?

Trying to battle weed tolerance issues can feel like a serious chore, as it seems that no matter what you do, your body still just gets used to your weed.

Well, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that the only real thing to do is to stop imbibing weed for a while.

No matter how much you might dislike the idea, the best, most surefire way to ensure that your weed tolerance diminishes is to take what is known as a tolerance break.

By taking a break from cannabinoids for a few weeks – up to around six weeks as a maximum – you are allowing your body’s ECS to reset its tolerance to cannabinoids and to feel the same effect from weed that you used to.

There are a few other methods that have some level of limited success, such as rotating the strains that you are using, as each individual strain has its own unique composition of Cannabinoids that can be causing their own form of weed tolerance. By changing what type of weed you are using, you might find that your body isn’t as tolerant of this particular strain.

This can also occur if you predominantly only use sativas or indicas, as each strain type hits the body in different ways. It is possible to temporarily reduce your weed tolerance by changing from a sativa to an indica, or vice versa.

Regardless, no matter what you do, taking a tolerance break is the very best way to ensure that you destroy your Weed tolerance.

Final Thoughts on Working Out to Lower Your Weed Tolerance

Weed tolerance can seem like the absolute worst thing in the world to regular marijuana smokers. This isn’t just an issue of not being able to enjoy your favorite substance as easily recreationally; for some people, marijuana is the only thing that allows them to lead a normal life or overcome pain or issues arising from diseases or other serious medical conditions.

When you depend on being able to regularly use marijuana, having your body not be as receptive to weed as it used to be can feel like a betrayal.

Exercise can be a legitimate method of reducing your weed tolerance, even if it is only as a result of thus needing less moral and mental support due to the release of endorphins from the exercise.

However, for those that depend on Marijuana to get by, the only real method you have to deal with weed tolerance is to either take a tolerance break or to continually up the amount you use at a time.

One might be incredibly unpleasant, whereas the other becomes incredibly expensive – which one you choose is up to you.

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