Extracts and Tolerance: How to Keep Yours Low

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Commonly referred to as oil, wax, shatter, and live resin, cannabis extracts provide a highly concentrated form of cannabis ready to be dabbed. The extraction process for cannabis extracts, or concentrates, make them some of the most potent products found in the nation’s medical and recreational markets.

For example, the average THC content found in concentrates ranges between 50 and 85%, while the average THC content in cannabis flower tops out at only 25%. THC is the chemical that produces the psychoactive, euphoric high most commonly associated with cannabis.

Because of their high THC content, concentrates may increase one’s cannabis tolerance.

Many cannabis enthusiasts and patients alike worry concentrate use will max out their tolerance, and leave them using more flower to achieve the same desired high or effect. Some patients and enthusiasts even lose the ability to achieve an adequate high or effect from flower alone, leading them to use more concentrates, creating a vicious cycle for their tolerance.

Continue reading to learn some tips for managing and maintaining a healthy tolerance when using cannabis extracts.


Taking steps to moderate your concentrate use can help maintain your tolerance. 

For patients and enthusiasts who indulge in cannabis extracts, the biggest challenge can be maintaining an adequate tolerance. By name, concentrates are cannabis oils with THC, CBD, and other cannabis chemicals isolated down, typically achieved through a solvent like butane or alcohol. The extraction process creates super potent oils, so limiting your concentrate use may be the first step for maintaining tolerance.

Here’s my tip for moderating your concentrate use: plan a routine and stick with it. If you typically smoke flower in the morning and during the day, perhaps save dabs and wax for nighttime use. Some find if they only use concentrates on the weekends or certain points during the week they maintain a good balance between flower and oils alike.


Cutting out the dabbing process, and using a vaporizer, can conserve concentrates and preserve tolerance  

Consuming cannabis oil by applying it to a hot nail on a glass piece, or dab rig, has become ubiquitous in recent years. The act of dabbing, however, can consume a lot of time, burn through a lot of oil each hit, and inevitably will increase your tolerance. Moving your cannabis extracts from the dab rig to the dab pen may be just the answer.

Cannabis concentrates can be dabbed in vaporizer, or dab pens, many of which can be found widely available in legal medical and recreational markets. The first benefit is length of use. You use the same amount of cannabis extract with a dab pen, but get around three pulls from the pen compared to one large dab hit from a rig. The pen also avoids any oil being wasted by getting sucked through your rig’s intake.

Second, by avoiding the violent and harsh nature of the dab, you won’t overload yourself with THC. This can reduce your tolerance and help you find a happy routine.


Live Resin is a concentrate extracted using a freezing process to preserve terpenes. These usually have lower levels of THC.

Not all concentrates are created equal. You can find concentrates in a wide range of textures, with names like rosin, shatter, wax, crumble, and others. Often, these textures come from the extraction process. Live resin is no different. By freezing whole plant cannabis material, the live resin extraction process creates an oil which prides cannabis terpenes over THC content.

Terpenes are pungent oils inside the plant that give cannabis it’s signature taste and flavour. Instead of cutting cannabis buds off of the plant and curing them, which eliminates more than half of all active terpenes, the plant material is frozen and concentrated. This creates an oil that provides a clearer, as well as subdued high or effect.

If you use live resin over more harsh, potent oils like wax or BHO, you may see a reduction in your tolerance, as well as the amount of concentrate you need to achieve your desired effect.


Sometimes, however, the only way to reduce tolerance is the waiting game

Lastly, the best solution for your high tolerance could simply be time. Taking a tolerance break can be beneficial for your concentrate use, as well as your cannabis use in general. By taking time off of both, even for as short as as a week, you can start to improve your tolerance. Although you may not want to, it can pay dividends in the long run.

In closing, it’s important to note that cannabis and concentrates affect each individual in different ways. These tips are general and may not work for everyone. Some may find managing their tolerance and concentrate use easier than others, while some may wish to avoid concentrates all together. If you have a different tips for maintaining your tolerance, please comment below!  

About the Author

Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter



  1. Wow, this was super informative! I’ve found tolerance breaks are the best way to decrease tolerance, although I haven’t tried a few of the options you listed. Great advice

  2. Beautiful website, learned something new on Cannabis today. Theory cannabis dispensary is where my father buys his extracts that help with his pancreatic pain, he does not like taking traditional medicine and how it makes him feel. Great and informational post. Thanks!

  3. I think the concentrate vape is a great solution to the only downside of dabbing: the potential for a super high tolerance. Like you said, it would be so much easier to moderate my use day to day with a pen, definitely going to look into making the switch.

  4. Great read! Not super experienced on the subject, pretty interesting to learn about tolerance management through cannabis extract instead.

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