Coffee and Cannabis: A Recommended Combination?

The connection between cannabis and coffee is quite fascinating as they are more or less the same side of a coin with just some slight differences in look, use, and effects. With marijuana legalized in quite a number of countries and spreading through other parts of the world rapidly, people tend to combine the consumption of coffee and marijuana for different reasons.

While some smoke the marijuana alongside sipping their coffee, others boil the marijuana leaf in their coffee pots or use sweeteners containing marijuana in their coffee. Coffee producing companies have taken advantage of this trend and found a way of infusing weed into coffee, which means one does not have to smoke pot and drink coffee at the same time when you could just have it all in one sip.

The components of coffee (caffeine) and that of cannabis (Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) have similar addictive qualities, which increases craving when one reaches a threshold of any of the substances. In other words, caffeine influences some parts of the brain cells just as THC does.

Caffeine has a reputation as the world most used drug which encourages brain activity and keeps one active and frisky, while cannabis, on the other hand, is a depressant. The intriguing thing that comes to mind is how both (caffeine and THC) when combined at a single point of consumption work together? Another fundamental question on the mind of consumers will be thus: ‘are there damages to the health one would incur as a result of the consumption of both substances at the same time?’

Breaking down the science behind mixing cannabis with coffee

Over the years, there has been limited research in respect to this subject. Scientists have, however, discovered that coffee affects the human metabolism in many ways which include the metabolism of steroids and the neurotransmitters linked to cannabis.

Research carried out by scientists in a bid to study coffee revealed that the consumption of caffeine changed the metabolism (chemicals in the blood) in the body than previously known. Also, it was discovered that a high intake of caffeine decreases the Neurotransmitter (chemicals that deliver messages between nerve cells in the body) related to the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid metabolic helps the body regulate stress, and also impacts cognition, blood pressure, sleep immunity, glucose metabolism, and many others.

Dr. Sergi Ferre, who is a senior investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) stated that caffeine boosts dopamine; he said “neurotransmitter is often called the feel-good chemical, because it is responsible for feeling pleasure and reward. On the other hand, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major active ingredient in marijuana stimulates dopamine neurons in the brain.”

One major effect of the combination of cannabis and caffeine is that caffeine magnifies the effect of dopamine released by cannabis. Ferre continued, “Caffeine tremendously increases the effect of the psychostimulant, including THC and cocaine.” This effect may be the reason why people enjoy the combination of cannabis and coffee in a single sitting.

The Effects of Combining Cannabis and Coffee

Reduces high. Some say smoking cannabis and drinking coffee increases their ‘high’. This may just be peculiar to that person's system considering that research has shown that drinking coffee while smoking weed makes you smoke less while maintaining a minimal level of high, which would have occurred if more cannabis is consumed; this gives you a better value for your high.

Increase craving. In a scientific research carried out on monkeys, higher dosage of caffeine was given to the monkeys and after intake, they chose to administer more marijuana which was left at their disposal. This research suggests that caffeine and THC have the same amount of craving. It is, however, important to note that they are monkeys. No recorded human experiment exists yet.

Dopamine Stimulation. The combination of caffeine and THC stimulates dopamine neurons throughout the brain.

Similarities between Cannabis and Coffee

The relationship between the two highly addictive substances, as discovered by scientists, is closer than one can overlook. The secret is at the root of the plant from which both elements exist. The two stem from plants whose constituents, upon decomposition, causes a similar psychological reaction. It has been reported by many marijuana users that they experience similar effects as after drinking coffee.

These substances stimulate the users, thereby, generating euphoric reactions. The more coffee a person consumes, the more cannabis he would want to consume as the intake of caffeine is proportionate to the intake of weed when smoked. In effect, caffeine increases the effect of cannabis.

Going by available research so far, the effect of the combination might be based on the user's body chemistry, metabolism, and tolerance for each substance. The combination does not appear to be dangerous but should be consumed with caution, so as not to become addicted.

Remember the adage: ‘too much of everything is bad?’ The use of cannabis and coffee should, therefore, be used in moderation and preferably under a physician’s supervision or directions.