How to know when it’s time for a t-break

Cannabis tolerance break: photo of sun light shining through fan leaves

At this point, some Millennials have been smoking regulated medical or adult-use cannabis for almost a decade. In that time, we’ve seen THC levels go up, phenos go exotic—and some of us have built up a whopping tolerance. To avoid the need to smoke multiple joints for the desired effect, many long-term cannabis connoisseurs will take a tolerance break.

A tolerance break (t-break) is a conscious decision to abstain from consuming cannabis for a specified time. I’ve always heard that 14 days is best to get a full reset, allowing you to come back to consumption clear-minded, but that is just stoner lore picked up in dispensary chit-chat. If two weeks feels daunting, even one day without weed can provide a small mental reset. Many believe this break can reset the endocannabinoid system, giving receptors a break and space to find homeostasis without outside intervention.

Over the years, t-breaks have helped me reassess my relationship with the plant, reignite my passions, and regain footing in my life following periods of high stress. To help others avoid waiting too long, I compiled some signs it may be time for a t-break.

Just not hitting as it used to

When the same amount of bud, or wax or vape pulls for you other fellows, isn’t quite getting you high like it used to– it’s time. Sometimes when this happens, I’ll try to switch strains or consumption methods to access the experience I’m looking for, but the best response to a recognizably higher tolerance to the plant is to abstain for a while.

Life seems dull

This can feel especially relevant to people who seek out heavy, indica-leaning cannabis products. Too much indica over a long period can put me in something that I like to call the “purple hole.” This theory is based purely on my experience, but if you’re starting to feel like life is lackluster, it may be time to address your cannabis consumption.

Finding hobbies and experiences you used to love underwhelming or not feeling motivated to socialize and engage with others like you used to could be signs that it’s time to step away from the bong. For people suffering from severe depression, don’t quit cannabis without a safety net of supportive people and a mental health plan in place.

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Things feel out of control

Whether it’s work, your relationship, or something else–assess if cannabis use is serving you when daily tasks seem to be slipping through your fingers. In those moments when I feel overwhelmed and small wins are hard to grasp, I often cut back on how much I’m consuming. Even if weed isn’t why tides have risen, being high doesn’t always contribute to my problem-solving skills. And these skills intact is pretty essential to navigating complex circumstances.

Additionally, cannabis can become a crutch in stressful times, creating a cycle of feeling overwhelmed, getting high, and then being unable to solve problems, causing more stress. A tolerance break can also break this stress cycle, and it’ll help sharpen those problem-solving skills too.

It’s been a while

Even if things are cruisin’ and life is good, if you haven’t taken a tolerance break in a few years, a quick reset couldn’t hurt. For patients who use cannabis to treat chronic symptoms and conditions, this may not be feasible advice, but for most people, it’s sound. A moment to abstain and reassess your relationship with mind-altering substances is never a bad move.

Whether you schedule them into your calendar or recognize patterns and signs that mean you need one– it’s sometimes wise to take a tolerance break. These have been signs that have led me to step away from the bong, and perhaps they can help you find the right cadence for managing your consumption too.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.