By: Lauren Wilson
As two of the most commonly consumed psychoactive chemicals in the world, it's no wonder that people have started mixing weed with their coffee to achieve the ultimate Saturday morning high.
But what exactly happens when you mix coffee and weed?
What happens when you mix caffeine and cannabis?
Both caffeine and cannabis have the power to impact the ways in which we experience the world around us. Combining the two can create compounded effects on the body and mind due to the impacts of each individually. Caffeine influences our adenosine receptors, which stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) and dilates blood vessels, while compounds in cannabis influence the body's multi-faceted endocannabinoid system (ECS) and actually inhibits the CNS.
While you might think the effects of each may cancel each other out, this is not necessarily the case. What happens when you mix coffee and weed consumption ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including the exact cannabinoids you consume, your individual ECS, your tolerance, and the methods of delivery and dosing you choose.
The truth is, that mixing coffee with weed impacts everyone differently. For some, caffeine can drastically improve a cannabis high. One 2017 animal study suggests that simultaneous intake of weed and coffee increases levels of vital CNS neurotransmitters, including the “feel-good" chemical dopamine, leading to feelings of euphoria.
Anyone who's ever enjoyed a joint with their morning cup o' joe knows how harmonious the flavors and aromas of each affect the sensory level. It's also possible that active compounds in cannabis work to stimulate adenosine receptor activity, which could enhance a caffeine buzz.
Coffee and THC
Anecdotal evidence suggests that pairing THC with coffee can help enhance its energizing effects. Those who prefer waking and baking with THC report feelings of increased energy, alertness, creativity, and motivation. And from a 2011 animal study, low levels of caffeine may enhance and prolong a cannabis high.
Conversely, one 2018 clinical study examined metabolite levels in coffee drinkers and found that increased caffeine intake may actually slow down the endocannabinoid system from metabolizing at its normal rate, meaning the combo of coffee and weed may actually make it more difficult for you to relax.
THC combined with coffee can sometimes initiate overstimulation. Both coffee and weed are known to increase heart rate and have the potential to produce anxiety when consumed in excess. And caffeine may promote the cognitive impairment caused by THC, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Caffeine Research.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that combining weed with caffeine could impair short-term memory in rats. Researchers found that caffeine worsens memory deficits caused by low doses of THC, even more than a higher dose of THC on its own. So when pairing THC with coffee, consumers should be mindful of starting low and going slow.
Coffee and CBD
Is CBD any different? With endless product testimonials and five-star reviews, CBD-infused coffee drinks have become very popular in recent years. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the combination of CBD and coffee can increase a person's alertness and focus, but without the jittery buzz typical felt from coffee.
When used on its own, CBD might help reduce anxiety, increase focus, and stimulate intense relaxation. In low doses, CBD may be stimulating, which can pair nicely with caffeine for some. One 2020 study on rats supports the claim that CBD may help calm anxiety initiated by caffeine, producing an alert yet placid buzz.
However, those who consume THC and CBD for serious medical purposes should avoid dosing with coffee, as accurate, stable dosing may be more difficult to achieve.