At the start of the year, I decided it was time to take a tolerance break from THC.
This was something that had been on my mind for weeks, back in October. My tolerance had been steadily increasing even before MJ Biz Con in November, and after the conference, I needed the doses of seasoned stoner. I missed being able to take one bong hit, even half a hit on a THC bowl, and feel the effects. I was tired of craving higher and higher planes.
So I knew it was time. But as any cannabis lover will tell you, just because it’s necessary doesn’t make it easy. This was not my first t-break; I have taken one every year since 2018. The first one was the worst, though they all are a struggle in their own way.
It’s not just the withdrawal symptoms, of which I was mostly spared, save for truly wild dreams. They started on the second night of the break, and continually got more detailed the further I went. The last night before I smoked again, I had one of the most detailed, vivid dreams I could remember. It was unsettling but intriguing. There is something to be said for the purpose of intense dreams, but I woke each morning feeling like my brain had hardly rested.
Aside from vivid nightly hallucinations, the only other noticeable effect was my mood. I didn’t suffer the bouts of moodiness or emotional outbursts that can be associated with the withdrawal of heavy users (that hasn’t happened since the first t-break I took back in 2018.) Instead, I noticed that my day-to-day demeanor was lower. I had less energy and I was overall less enthusiastic. This is not to say that when I consume THC I spring out of bed each day, freshly renewed and ready to take on the world. But on days when I wake up with lower energy, THC provides a spark, a boost. It softens the sharp edges of the world and helps me find my center. It lifts my mood and allows me to dig into what I need to do. And at the end of long days, it helps calm my racing mind and disconnect from the endless to-do list.
Without it, the to-do list seemed longer and my mood and energy levels stayed lowered. I am, of course, functional without THC. I went most of my life without it and managed to do fine. But with it, I can do better than fine. I can do well.
The weather played a role too; this is the coldest, cloudiest, wettest time of year in Upstate New York, and recently temperature swings have resulted in winters that are more muddy and wet than frozen and snowy. It’s hard to stay energized when the sky has been grey for days on end and the ground is covered in mud. The lack of sunlight, the dingy outside, and the frigid temperatures, all of these also play a role in my energy levels.
The conclusion to draw here is not that it was a mistake to take a t-break, or that I regretted my decision. I missed THC. That was obvious and undeniable. But the break (13 days, if you were wondering) provided a necessary mindset shift, a remembrance of how I want to feel when I consume THC. I firmly believe that intentionality is important for a healthy relationship with cannabis and THC. Still, this intentionality is easy to lose sight of in the midst of stimulated dopamine receptors and euphoric bursts.
THC is a habit-forming substance and requires mindfulness to use in a supportive rather than detrimental way. It was time to remember what I was missing with such constant use. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and willpower is a muscle that requires exercise. It was a good t-break because it was a necessary one. I am glad to consume THC again, and I am glad to remember exactly how much this substance can help me when I consume it mindfully.