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Dry January or T-Break January?

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Dry January or T-Break January? How to live your healthiest life in the first month of the year!


What is Dry January? This is a relatively new term that has been floating around the last several years alluding to the abstinence from alcohol for the 31 days of January. In 2012, the British charity group Alcohol Change UK launched the Dry January initiative as a way to promote “ditching the hangover, saving money, and reducing one’s waistline.” A decade since Dry January originated, we’ve begun to hear murmurings about T-Break (tolerance break) January in the cannabis community. While we’re not aware of any official group behind this or any direct goals of taking a cannabis tolerance break in January, we’re not surprised to see stoners making the commitment to hold off for a month. You know, the cannabis community is an ingenious bunch and it does make quite a bit of sense to take a break after heavy cannabis consumption months thanks to holiday festivities.

Whether you are going fully sober in January, abstaining from alcohol as a part of Dry January, considering a tolerance break, or just interested in how a month without your vices may impact the beginning of your year, this article will be a great read! We’ll also go into detail about how a cannabis T-Break can be beneficial for you and how it affects your body.


Dry January’s Impact

As Dry January has become more and more popular, there has been a steady increase in the number of people willing to commit to this 31-day journey. Whether it’s to live a healthier lifestyle, save money, or another reason, the data is clear: those who participate in Dry January love the results!

As per the Alcohol Change UK’s website, a survey conducted in 2019 of 6,000 participants found that 86% had saved money, 81% felt more in control of their drinking, 70% were sleeping better, 67% had better concentration, 66% had more energy, 65% had generally better health and 54% had lost weight. Wow!

Even at a cursory glance, it would be safe to say those participants were living a much healthier lifestyle and feeling much better health-wise. If you’re looking to kickstart your year, maybe give Dry January a try! That doesn’t mean you have to give up cannabis either.


Cannabis Tolerance Break (T-Break)

If you are a more avid consumer of cannabis, chances are you’ve heard of a T-Break or attempted one. For those who consume cannabis less frequently and more leisurely, you may not have heard of a cannabis tolerance break before. And, for those who are daily medical marijuana patients, a T-Break may be a method in your arsenal that you employ to help restore balance or recalibrate every so often. Regardless of which category you fit into, we’ve made it easy for you to understand how a cannabis T-Break can affect one’s body. Depending on your biology, current cannabis consumption, and a few other factors, a tolerance break might be a great option for you to find a new harmony in January if you’re in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle in 2022.


Cannabis Tolerance Break: The Science Behind It

Building tolerance to a drug or substance is nothing new. When it comes to cannabis, humans and animals are capable of building tolerance to cannabis & THC. There are well documented studies on animals developing tolerance to THC as there are a plethora of consumers and patients who have noticed their tolerance to cannabis has gotten stronger. The common underlying theme is the endocannabinoid system, which is how cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with the body. The human body has CB1 & CBD 2, two receptors that play a large role in how THC affects individuals.

Factors such as frequency of consumption, biological & genetic characteristics, methods of consumption, and THC dosage all affect how one’s tolerance to cannabis can develop. They also affect how one can mitigate a strong tolerance to THC! To be noted, tolerance is an extremely complex phenomenon that some of the most brilliant scientists are still working to unravel and decode. Tolerance is not a one-size-fits-all pair of pants, just like taking a T-Break is not either.


Taking a T-Break: Tips for a Cannabis Tolerance Break

this reason, many sources will claim that a “real” T-Break should be 21 days or even longer–such as a full month. For several different reasons, this does not appear to be true. One of our favorite sources is an article by Weedmaps, reviewed by Dr. Adie Rae, Ph.D, which states, “To take a tolerance break, stop consuming cannabis for at least two days. Research demonstrates that CB1 receptor availability is diminished by chronic cannabis use. These receptors rapidly return to a cannabis-naive state after a mere 48 hours of abstinence. That’s to say, your tolerance should be back to normal after holding off from consuming for two days.”

Similar studies, such as one published in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, have found that THC’s half-life can be as low as 1.3 days in infrequent users and between 5-13 days in frequent users. Remember, tolerance is not a universal phenomenon! Below you will find some helpful tips to planning a tolerance break that can help you recalibrate your body and mind for the new year:

  • Try to gauge how much tolerance you believe you’ve developed to THC by identifying your methods of consumption, frequency of consumption, and normal dosages.
  • Understand how you use cannabis; is it for leisure, a part of your medical routine, etc.? If taking a T-Break as a medical patient, don’t hesitate to consult a cannabis physician about your planned tolerance break.
  • Set a T-Break goal, 2 days at minimum. It’s easier to start small and build up to larger tolerance breaks!
  • Plan a T-Break with a friend and plan other healthy goals during your T-Break such as exercising more, eating healthier, getting better sleep, etc.
  • Keep some CBD handy. The main goal of a T-Break is to reduce your body’s interaction with THC and give your endocannabinoid system a chance to reset. Since CBD does not bind directly to your CB1 & CB2 receptors, it’s a good option to help alleviate any T-Break side effects.

These tolerance break tips are based around the science of cannabis. We also recommend using a personal journal to track how you feel. Paying close attention to your mental state may also give you some clear insight into how beneficial a Dry January or tolerance break can be. It’s not a scientific tolerance break tip, but we urge you to give it a try.


Health Benefits & Side Effects of a T-Break

Because everyone’s body is unique and tolerance breaks are unique to the individual, T-Break participants have different experiences during and after a tolerance break with THC. The Seed & Smith team has pulled together a list of common health benefits & side effects for you to monitor if you plan to take a T-Break in 2022.

T-Break Health Benefits:

  • Allow your endocannabinoid system to reset and recalibrate
  • Increases the effectiveness of cannabis once consumption begins again
  • Potentially save money by reducing your cannabis budget
  • Healthier lung function if taking a significant break from smoking
  • Potential increase in mental clarity and energy levels
  • Decreases the risk of developing a cannabis-use disorder

T-Break Side Effects:

  • Mood swings
  • Minor fatigue or different energy levels
  • Changes in appetite or slight nausea
  • Restlessness or anxiety
  • Insomnia or more intense dreams
  • Other side effects based on how you use cannabis to treat medical conditions

The good news is that side effects from a short break with THC are usually mild and may last for just a few days. Also, on the positive side, you stand to gain from other health benefits and a return to higher efficacy of cannabis when consumed in the future! Keep in mind that you can set your own unique goals and timeline for your T-Break and, if necessary, you can also supplement CBD or microdose THC to help mitigate side effects. The benefits of Dry January outweigh the potential drawbacks. Consider giving it a go!


Living Your Healthiest Lifestyle in 2022

If you are seeking a healthier lifestyle in 2022 as a part of your new year resolution or as a continuation of a goal you set in 2021, we’re rooting for you!! There’s an old saying that goes something like, “everything in moderation,” and we tend to agree. It’s very possible for you to consume cannabis, or alcohol, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Staying in control of your relationship with both of those may be challenging at times, which is why Dry January or a short T-Break may be just what you need to reset, recalibrate, and rejuvenate yourself.

Seed & Smith is a cannabis dispensary founded by native Coloradans and for that reason, we always advocate for and put our patients’ & consumers’ health first. Being so close to nature here in Colorado, we can always recommend the great outdoors as a way to find exercise that helps turn your brain off and spark a positive hormone release. Our new flagship location in Louisville is just minutes away from some of our favorite trails and just a short car ride to some of our favorite hikes! For a look at our recommendations to get outdoors and enjoy a hike near Louisville, check out our recent blog article here!

Lastly, as a resource for the community that we serve and as an educator in cannabis, our doors are always open for your feedback. Better yet, we’ve partnered with Leaf411, a highly skilled team of cannabis nurses and physicians capable of giving you the advice you might be looking for. Cheers to a healthier year than your last, or if you’d prefer to skip the toast, spark up your favorite strain and puff, puff pass!


January 18, 2022
Smith’s Column
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