Hemp oil is a popular and natural product which is widely used in efforts to soothe a variety of physical and mental ailments. However, its main ingredient Cannabidiol (CBD) might raise a few questions for first-time users. One of the concerns we hear more often, is that consumers could possibly build up a tolerance for CBD oil. But if we look at the research, the opposite might be true: 

Tolerance for substances

Tolerance is when your body gets used to a certain substance due to longterm and regular use. And while there are obviously some exemptions, most people build up some sort of tolerance with the use of substances. This is something to be aware of; especially when using heavy medication, like certain painkillers. Considering the risk of tolerance with these medicines is high and might even lead to addiction - with all its consequences. 

Cannabidiol (CBD), like many medications, is widely used in efforts to soothe and treat a variety of ailments. Ranging from physical pain to mental distress and to improve the overall well-being of millions of people worldwide. But with the growing popularity of hemp-derived cannabinoids as a natural remedy; there’s also a rising interest in the substances from ‘new-comers’. People who have often tried to treat their ailments with regular medication and failed - or maybe weren’t happy with the side-effects and/or the possibility to build up a tolerance. Logically, some of these patients share the same concerns for CBD oil, making them wary to try it. But is that even just?

CBD tolerance research

Because while research on CBD is relatively scarce, there is some scientific data available regarding Cannabidiol’s safety in this field. As shown by a Brazilian research from 2011: ‘During a CBD research performed on humans, the use of the substance does not provide any side-effects. Not with acute and neither with chronic doses, and the tolerance for CBD did not increase.’ Showing that with both acute and chronic use of Cannabidiol, there was no sign of an increased tolerance for it. 

Reversed tolerance for CBD

Actually, if we look a little bit further, the opposite might be the case. Researchers from a 2017 study, reviewing 132 different CBD-research studies, concluded that ‘psychological and psychomotor functions were not negatively influenced.’ While the same goes for the digestive system’s functioning and hunger, according to the study’s authors. ‘Chronic use and high doses of up to 1500mg a day have been repeatedly shown to be well tolerated by humans’, they resume. 

Surprisingly though, these researchers also found the existing possibility of building up a reversed tolerance for CBD. This means that instead of needing more of the substance for the same effects; you become more sensitive to it. Something that’s been shown to be impossible with the use of another cannabinoid: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Which directly binds to receptors of our endocannabinoid-system (ECS). 

Also read: ‘How does CBD work: the endocannabinoid-system (ECS) explained

Accordingly, this is also a reason for scientists to believe that Cannabidiol cannot cause a tolerance to build up in the body. After all, CBD does not bind to these receptors in the same way THC does. In fact, in contrary to THC - which binds directly to the EC-receptors - CBD is known to stimulate these receptors’ activity; in order to improve the way they process our body’s own signaling-substances. This way, the use of CBD oil could lead to an increased sensitivity to these neurotransmitters; with a ‘reversed tolerance’ for the ingredient as a result. Meaning that after a while, you might need less of it for the same effects as before. 

Decrease built up tolerance 

Obviously, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is also true in your case. Because despite that we haven’t found it in any research paper yet, doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to build up a tolerance for hemp oil with Cannabidiol. Moreover, each person reacts differently to cannabinoids from hemp; due to our unique biochemical composition. Giving room for this type of personal and unique experiences with the vegetal substance. 

So when you think to have built up a tolerance for CBD oil, we recommend you take a little break. Often it is enough to refrain from the use of hemp oil for 48 hours up to a week for the body to ‘reset’. This is also our recommendation when you think CBD does not work or doesn’t help you at all. 

As we’ve previously described in ‘This is how you know if CBD oil really works for you!': ‘…when you stop consuming hemp supplements, your body could fall back into its pre-CBD state after a few days. Reminding you how that felt, and giving you the opportunity to calculate what the exact benefits of the stuff are to you. Then, when you start using it again, chances are you’ll be a lot more conscious about how CBD oil really works for you…’ 

Have you ever built up a (reversed) tolerance for CBD? Let us know in the comments below!