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Will CBD oil stop working due to tolerance?

Will CBD oil stop working due to tolerance?

In order to understand CBD tolerance, and how to avoid it, it helps to know what is being avoided.

It’s great to throw a word like ‘tolerance’ around, and its basic meaning is understood by most, even if the functional understanding of how it happens is not.

Sure, we know that the body essentially acclimates to the substance, thereby not responding to it in the same way, but what does this mean?

In terms of pharmacodynamics (how a substance effects the body), tolerance occurs at the cellular level, when a substance is repeatedly used, leading to less response by the cell.

Most of the time this is from a large amount of a substance consistently binding to the same receptor until the receptor becomes desensitized to the substance.

Another form of pharmacodynamic tolerance is when the number of receptors is reduced, which means a change in firing rate and action potential.

Tolerance happens in another way as well, pharmacokinetic tolerance, which explains how the body effects the substance.

Pharmacokinetics deals with how the substance is treated by the body through absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.

This kind of tolerance refers to the decreased amount of the substance that’s capable of reaching reactor sites. This is often caused by increased enzyme action to break down the substance before it can do what its supposed to.

What about CBD tolerance?

The study Cannabidiol (CBD) Tolerance in Children and Adults With Treatment-resistant Epilepsy was published in 2021, and gives a view of the subject.

The study lasted three years and looked at tolerance among 92 treatment-resistant epileptic patients.

In this study, tolerance was defined as either the need to increase dosage because of reduced efficacy by at least 30%, or with a 30% or more increase in symptoms with at least three months treatment, and no increase in medication.

Tolerance to the CBD was found in only 25% of the population, starting at approximately 7.3 months. 

How to Avoid CBD Tolerance?

 The main way of avoiding tolerance, or lessening it when if you happen to be one of the 25%, is simply to take a break.

It was found that after a break of just two days CBD receptors become more active again.


A good rule of thumb, is if you find yourself not feeling all the effects, take a few days off, let your tolerance lower and start taking it again. 

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