What We Know About Cannabis Tolerance

Article by Leaf News

What we know about cannabis tolerance Tyler Criss smokes marijuana resin in a small bong at a party celebrating weed Wednesday, April 20, 2016, in Seattle. Fans of the drug have long marked April 20 as a day to roll weed or munch on pot-laced brownies, and call for increased legal access to it. This year's celebrations throughout the U.S. come amid loosening of marijuana restrictions and increasing tolerance for the plant's use from Alaska to Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Tolerance to THC's effects might help explain why heavy cannabis users tend to seek out more potent forms of the drug. (Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press files)

Anyone with experience drinking alcohol understands the concept of tolerance: the more frequently you drink, the more booze it takes to get you drunk, or even buzzed. Does the same phenomenon apply to cannabis?

It most certainly does, according to a 2018 scientific literature review published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. The paper summarizes what we know about cannabis tolerance so far.

The authors dug through than 1,000 studies, and identified 36 that measured in some way whether cannabis users develop tolerance to the effects of THC. Breaking the subjects from all those studies down into “regular users” and “non-regular users” of cannabis, the paper explored the evidence on whether those two groups displayed a different tolerance to cannabis.

As you might expect from so many different studies over so many years, results varied, but taken together, the researchers wrote, the best research on cannabis tolerance tells us something important:

“(Cannabis) has less prominent or no effects on a number of behavioural and physiological measures in regular users compared to non-regular users…. the behavioural and physiological effects of cannabis lessen over repeated exposure and often become no longer distinguishable from placebo.”

In other words, research suggests cannabis tolerance is objectively measurable, which helps explain why regular users and novices can react differently to the drug. Cognitive functioning (learning and problem-solving ability) seems to be the most likely area where repeated exposure to THC leads to tolerance and a reduced effect, says the paper.

Read the full article here.

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