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The Science Behind Consuming Coffee With Cannabis

The Science Behind Consuming Coffee With Cannabis

Published
December 3, 2020
What happens when you pair coffee and caffeine with cannabis? In this blog we dig into the chemistry and effects of this exhilarating pairing.

What is a morning without a cup of coffee? While people everywhere find coffee to be the perfect solution to increase alertness, one may wonder, what happens when cannabis and coffee come together? Interestingly, the blend of these can offer complementary effects.  Coffee and cannabis is often paired for pursuits relating to the body and mind. This combination is especially useful for active lifestyles or those looking for even more motivation at work.The aromas, flavors, and many benefits of this unique combination make coffee and cannabis a perfect match. 

coffee bean resting on nug of cannabis flower


OK, but what is cannabis?

Cannabis is a magical plant that originated from the South-Asian subcontinent centuries ago. (Abel, E.L. 1980, Marijuana, The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York: Plenum Press) The natives used the plant for both medicinal and recreational reasons. Today, the cannabis herb is available worldwide. With recent legalization and the availability of scientific evidence explaining its benefits, more people are incorporating the plant into their life. If you want to try the herb for its therapeutic properties, you can find quality cannabis seeds for sale, have a garden of your own and enjoy the benefits. 

CBD or cannabidiol occurs naturally in cannabis and hemp plants. While the plant has an abundance of chemical compounds (cannabinoids), THC and CBD are the most prominent. CBD is a unique non-psychotropic compound that doesn’t get you high but offers plenty of health and wellness benefits. Here are a few:

CBD can change how the brain receptors react to serotonin. This neurotransmitter is responsible for controlling social behavior and mood. Researchers have found that CBD also acts on the endocannabinoid system and other systems related to brain signaling, which could lead to promising results on neurological disorders. 

If you wonder why people get high from consuming cannabis, it is because of the other dominant cannabinoid, THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC can induce a mind-altering euphoric high that can help relax your body and mind.  

What happens when you drink coffee?

Why do you feel ready to jump into the tasks for the day after a cup of coffee? Why does coffee happen to be a good source of to stimulation for your brain at work? The credit goes to caffeine, the active component in coffee, which gets absorbed in the bloodstream after consumption. This active component blocks the neurotransmitter- adenosine. As a result, norepinephrine and dopamine increase and triggers neurons and a feeling of alertness.

When you drink coffee, you may feel happier and notice an increase in energy levels. Your daily intake of coffee might even help in burning fat. There are a few essential nutrients present in coffee that can help boost physical performance including antioxidants. If your average diet has fewer antioxidants, you can try coffee to compensate. 

cannabis flower in grinder next to cup of coffee

What happens when coffee and cannabis are combined?

The answer lies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system consisting of thousands of channels and receptors that is responsible for regulating a range of essential body functions, such as:

  • Appetite
  • Stress
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Inflammation 
THE CBG Blend with coffee - a cannabis and caffeine pairing
Covering the marriage of cannabis and coffee in The Northwest Leaf (May 2020), by TJ Gagnier


1. Effect on the endocannabinoid system:

The ECS performs the regulatory function through neurotransmitters called cannabinoids. These cannabinoids move through the body and bind with different receptors present in various  organs. Upon binding with the receptors, the cannabinoids alter how they react to external stimuli. The cannabinoids present in cannabis plants and the ones produced in the body by the endocannabinoid system are extremely similar, and they can create similar results to each other. Interestingly, coffee and cannabis tend to have opposite effects on the endocannabinoid system

2. Balance the side-effects:

For some, Caffeine stimulates a boost of energy. For others, caffeine can trigger anxiety and nervousness. Cannabis, when used consciously, promotes wellness, a sense of calm, and overall balance called homeostasis within the body. This is where cannabis and coffee demonstrate significant complimentary benefits. 

The ECS is directly related to how the body deals with stress. When you consume too much caffeine, it leads to increased levels of stress and a lower level of endocannabinoid transmission.The body naturally responds to this increased level of stress with its own coping mechanisms. However, it has been found that these endocannabinoids and coping mechanisms actually have a lesser effect than CBD or THC. It is clear that cannabis and coffee make for a great match.

3. Prolong the high:

When caffeine is consumed alongside cannabis, it can amplify the effects. This leads scientists to believe that the combined effect of caffeine and cannabis can prolong the high and enhance the overall experience. 

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Final Thoughts

Cannabis and coffee make for a more beneficial and enjoyable experience when consumed together. If you haven’t already incorporated caffeine and cannabis into your life, now could be a good time to try it at home. Follow the lead of Northwest Leaf writer and cannabis afficionado TJ Gangier and pair a blended coffee with The CBG Blend for an extra boost before doing some holiday decorating or spring cleaning.

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