The other day I read this article on Psychology Today written by Timmen L. Cermak about “5-signs of using cannabis too frequently”. In his article he argues that prolonged cannabis consumption “down regulates” CB1 receptors due to THC binding to it [similar to anandamide]. Except – that where anandamide has a short “effectiveness”, cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol is active for far longer.
He cites that smoking may have an “activated effect” for up to four hours, whereas eating it can be psychoactive for up to eight-hours.
What “down-regulates” refers to is the “ability for the receptor to receive more cannabinoids”. When it’s ready to receive more it will “up-regulate”. Think of it as an “On-Switch” and an “Off-Switch” and every time it receives a cannabinoid, it processes it by “shutting off” and in turn once processed, will “turn back on”.
According to Cermak, continual smoking of cannabis could “switch off” cannabinoid receptors in the brain periodically, creating a chemical imbalance in the brain. To quote him;
“People who use cannabis regularly have 20% fewer receptors in their brain’s cortex. A month of total abstinence is required to upregulate to normal levels.
The inconvenient truth is that too frequent cannabis use has a cumulative impact on the number of CB1 receptors. Exposure to cannabis again before upregulation occurs increases downregulation and reduces our natural cannabinoid system’s function. A state of relative cannabinoid deficiency therefore lingers between times of cannabis use.”
While he provides no citations to these studies – also seeing that there are no human studies on the issue – we can safely assume that this is mere speculation and that this should not be taken as scientific fact.
Nonetheless – I always enjoy intellectual experiments where I take whatever is being presented as 100%-factual evidence [even though it may not be]. Why do I do this? Because far too often we use our own biases to justify our positions and if we aren’t willing to venture outside of our comfort zones, we would not be able to grow as people.
Thus – let’s say that there is some truth in Cermak’s position. When you consume cannabis, your receptors down regulates – but does this mean that there is actually a cannabinoid deficiency? Or rather, that that specific cannabinoid receptor is currently saturated.
According to Cermak, this would mean that if people were to abstain from cannabis – they would go through “mild withdrawal” like symptoms. In that they would be irritable, suffer from sleep, etc.
Now this makes sense in that if you are artificially introducing cannabinoids into your system [via smoking weed] – you would have a higher count of cannabinoids than what you could naturally produce. Also knowing that your endocannabinoid system fully develops roughly at age 25, you would naturally have a lower production of endocannabinoids than what can be found in a plant.
Thus – prolonged exposure would mean that you have introduced a higher count of cannabinoids on your system, which prompted your system to “increase expectation of cannabinoids”. [This is all theoretical right now – just like Cermak’s position].
If this is true – then one could expect a “sluggishness” when abstaining from weed due to the fact that there is a lower availability of endocannabinoids. We don’t know how much energy goes into producing endocannabinoids and perhaps this temporary “endocannabinoid deficiency” might play a role in that experience.
Should we “fast weed” every now and then?
According to Cermak, taking a prolonged break from weed would “up regulate” your receptors meaning, that you’d be able to have greater quantities of THC biologically available to you. You’d have more receptors “open for business”.
Therefore, if you’re reaching a point where it gets more difficult to get high or you’re simply “meh” about most things in life – taking a short break to purge yourself from access cannabinoids and to up regulate your receptors would be a good thing.
Nothing in excess is ever good. While weed is one of the safest drugs on the planet – genetically designed for human consumption – an excess of it is still not good. It’s like water, vital for living but try drinking 4 liters a day for the next six months and you’d probably die.
The point is that moderation and listening to your own body should be your guiding factor. For most people, having 10% or 20% of your receptors “down-regulated” wouldn’t have a significant impact on your experience of life. However, if you’ve been dabbing like the best and managed to down-regulate your endocannabinoid receptors there at the 60% – 80% margin – a fast is recommended for at least a week but ideally three-weeks to ensure complete up-regulation of the CB1 receptors.
What do I do with ‘withdrawals’?
Will you get withdrawals? Maybe. Some people do and others don’t. However, in the case of having a lot of endocannabinoid receptors “down-regulated” – odds are that there will be a perceived “crash”.
During this time – the first three to five days;
1 – Drink at least 1 liter of water per day
2 – Do exercise [Running is good in the mornings to boost anandamide and Yoga too]
3 – Do Wim Hof Breathing [It will help with anxiety]
4 – Keep Busy
There are other tricks – but I think with these four that most people would be fine. Once you are done with your Purge – you can smoke again like a “newbie” because all your CB1 receptors would be up regulated and ready for business.
You’ll probably get high-AF with one or two hits and ease into smoking. For interest sake – after a purge, start a journal about your cannabis consumption rates and find out at what point you’d need to go on another purge. Include things like;
Time of Day when you smoke
Amount you smoke
How High you felt from 1-10
The reason for toking
Map these five data points in a journal and when you reach a point where you are consistently “not getting as high” as you’d like, and where the “frequency of smoking” increased. Over time, you can set “thresholds” which would indicate when it’s time for another purge.
I’m writing this as a person who has been smoking weed for more than 20-years. I have done several purges and am currently in the process of mapping out my “Purge Cycles” to obtain the maximum benefit from cannabis I can.
Do you know your #CannabisPurgeCycles?
QUITTING CANNABIS FOR A TIME, READ MORE…
WHAT WERE YOUR REASONS IN LIFE TO QUIT SMOKING WEED?
WHY JOE ROGAN QUIT WEED FOR A MONTH, HERE HIS STORY!