I’ve been taking a little time off lately, both from writing and from smoking my usual once-or-twice a week bowl of cannabis sativa. There’s no single or urgent reason behind this, no great crisis of health or well-being, but rather I’ve been both traveling constantly, and have also wanted to take a bit of a tolerance break. I think it’s a great idea — a responsible one even — to take a break from cannabis once in a while. Part of the enjoyment and benefit of having weed be a regular part of my life is remembering what it’s like to live without its psychoactive components in my bloodstream. Here are a few notes from my own experiences going on weedcation:
- whether we use weed to enhance physical or mental health, recreationally, or for self discovery and psychonautics, most of us can actually take a break — we won’t suffer horribly, or even feel particularly out of sorts. There are exceptions, such as patients who rely on cannabis sativa for the maintenance of their ability to function in daily life. But for most of us, a t-break is extremely doable, if at some cost to either our health maintenance routine or other parts of our lives.
- there’s little proof that moderate (once or more weekly, but not daily) pot use damages health in the long run. There is plenty of proof, however, that short term side-effects of this level of consumption can be annoying. Call it what you will — feeling washed out, foggy or strung out, etc. — but many of us experience day-after effects of cannabis that aren’t so awesome (though way better, I should say, than an alcohol hangover.) There are also well understood effects on short term memory that persist some days after consuming. Aside from offering a respite from these side effects, a t-break provides the opportunity to establish a pot-free baseline for both body and mind. How different (or the same) do I feel after a few weeks of not consuming? Knowing the answer to this question is part of knowing yourself as a human being, and part of respecting the power of this amazing plant.
- Tolerance is not your friend. It’s a fact of nature that the level of consumption needed to achieve the same psychoactive effect increases slowly over time. In the case of moderate consumers (like me) the effect is not terribly pronounced, but even moderate users who keep a toke journal or otherwise track their intake might notice changes. There are only two “solutions” to the problem of tolerance: more (or more concentrated) pot, or a t-break. Since I have some doubts about the former (and don’t really care, for example, to enter the world of dabbing etc.) I tend to let time and nature take care of lowering my tolerance. I find that at least a month, and preferably a couple of months away from marijuana is what’s required to substantially reset my tolerance, but this surely varies person to person.
- Weedbreaks don’t need to be boring! Mine generally tend to line up with periods when I’m traveling away from home, which is something I love to do. (I’m writing this from South America!) I try to go with the flow — if I’m away from my usual dispensary, I prefer not to scrounge around for other sources or risk taking a supply with me. I take this sort of inaccessibility as a sign from the universe that my t-break has begun, and then focus on whatever else I might get to do in that time.
I’ll be back to my usual toking ways soon (in fact as I write this I’m reminded how much I want to seek out some more excellent buds of Cactus, a local Seattle strain that his me just right — if you are in Seattle and can find it, you really should grab some.) But in the mean time I’m quite enjoying a weedless spell, as I hope many of you who read this decide to try one out too.