BY MARIE LODI
As much as cannabis can help with ailments, medical conditions, or simply be enjoyable to consume, there may come a time when you want to take a break from THC. Maybe there’s a professional reason for this decision, or you want to take a tolerance break, aka T-break, to reset the cannabinoid levels in your system. After all, studies show that frequent cannabis use can lower its effectiveness, requiring the user to partake in even more to feel the plant’s effects. Thinking about taking a break from THC? Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, and CEO/CMO of InhaleMD, tells us what we should know before doing a THC detox.
The Best Way to Detox from THC
According to Dr. Tishler, the best way to detox from THC is to simply stop using it. “From a physiological point of view, cold turkey is fine,” he says. “A small percentage of users may experience some withdrawal, but cannabis withdrawal is mild — typically 3-7 days of insomnia and crankiness.” Dr. Tishler points out that it may require some social adjustments, like hanging out with your fellow cannabis users less often or removing your go-to products from your home.
How Long THC Stays in the Body
Much like the effects of cannabis can vary between users, so can the length of time THC stays in a person’s system. THC and THC-COOH are stored in the body’s fat cells, and frequent users generally have more THC in their systems. “The lore is that THC can be measured for about a month. I’ve seen it take as long as three months in consistent users,” Dr. Tishler says. “However, a measurable blood or urine level does not indicate anything about intoxication, impairment, cognitive function, dependence, or addiction. The only real importance of testing is if you’re facing such a test for employment or other important events.”
Are There Downsides to Detoxing?
Dr. Tishler says that the major downside to detoxing from THC may be a recurrence of what you’ve been treating. For example, if you’ve been using cannabis to help with chronic pain or insomnia, those issues may return. “If you’re treating a medical condition, preferably under the careful guidance of a knowledgeable cannabis specialist, you should be discussing any changes to your use with them,” Dr. Tishler says. “Obviously, if in the absence of cannabis treatment, your symptoms come back or get worse, arrangements to address this must be in place prior to the detox.” Dr. Tishler actually doesn’t recommend a detox, even for patients who tend to use cannabis excessively. Instead, he recommends a supervised, slow weaning process that lasts until the best benefit is achieved at a safer, more sensible dose. “While this can take longer, it is more often successful at maintaining benefit while getting the dose under better control,” he explains.
THC Detox Products: Good or Bad?
More than likely, if you Google “THC Detox” you’ll be bombarded with ads or results for detox-type products. Dr. Tishler says it’s best to stay away from these at all costs. “They’re entirely unproven and quite possibly dangerous,” he says. “There is no known way to decrease intoxication in the moment, or to remove THC from your system. Given the serious harm from the current vaping crisis, I’d be very alarmed by the risk posed by these unproven and unregulated products.”