Dr. Gary Starr, MD, medical director of FOCUS
If having pot and coffee at the same time doesn’t bring you to a limbo space between hyper-alert and hyper-chill, then what does the combo do? The next time you want to spend an afternoon kicking back with a joint in one hand and a cup of joe in the other, there are four things you should know about how caffeine and weed do interact.
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Some of those varying effects from pot include short-term memory loss, while caffeine is associated with the opposite (sharpening your brain in the moment). Even though those effects seem to combat each other, Torf tells Bustle that the chemicals don’t necessarily cancel each other out. Taken together, he says, “you’re still going to have short-term memory problems from THC, and still feel awake from caffeine.”
“THC and caffeine are two of the most widely used psychotropic chemicals in the world, and they also both have a very long history of use by humans,” says Rubin Torf, co-founder and president of Scientia Labs, a CBD producer, and Canapa, Scientia’s lifestyle brand. “Caffeine in the brain results in reduced drowsiness or fatigue and improves reaction time,” he tells Bustle. “THC results in a range of physiological changes and psychoactivity.”
As with anything cannabis-related, there needs to be more research about how weed and caffeine interact, so be cautious. “It’s important to create your own dosing plan which works for your unique body and lifestyle,” says Valerie Sakota, co-founder of cannabis startup Babari. “If you’re new to testing out THC and caffeine, we recommend taking it for a spin on a morning when you’ve got a productivity goal but no meetings or deadlines. Start with a small dose вЂ” a few puffs of a joint or pipe, or a 2.5 mg of a tincture or edible with your morning joe.” Then, take the next few hours to be extra mindful of how you feel.
It’s a laid-back Saturday afternoon, and you want something extra to go with your coffee and 14th rewatch of The West Wing. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the dozen or so states (plus Washington, D.C.) that have legalized recreational cannabis, you may want to add a bit of a relaxing vibe to your morning buzz. But before you unearth that edible from the back of the cabinet, you might be wondering if it’s even safe to combine weed and coffee.
Before you leap into the dopamine-induced euphoria that can you can get from a coffee pot, make sure you’ve talked to your doctor about your heart health. “Both marijuana and caffeineВ are known to cause tachycardia вЂ” or an increased heart rate.В In people with underlying heart disease or problems with heart arrhythmias, consuming marijuana and caffeine вЂ” together or separately вЂ” could potentially put them at risk for heart complications,” Dr. Starr tells Bustle.
It’s a laid-back Saturday afternoon, and you want something extra to go with your coffee and 14th rewatch of The West Wing. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the dozen or so states (plus Washington, D.C.) that have legalized recreationalвЂ¦
But what happens when you combine the drugs, and are there possible dangers?
“Caffeine increases tremendously the effects of a psychostimulant, including THC and cocaine,” Ferre said. “So, any substance that releases dopamine, including THC, its effects are increased by caffeine.”
Caffeine “is not good, at any dose, to associate with THC,” Ferre said.
The researchers concluded that the caffeine-like compound enhanced the effects of THC at any dose.
It’s important to keep in mind that the caffeine in a regular cup of coffee or tea is a pretty powerful psychoactive drug, meaning it’s capable of affecting the mind, emotions and behavior, Dr. Sergi Ferre, a senior investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), told Live Science.
Caffeine exerts its effects by blocking receptors in the brain for a neurotransmitter called adenosine, Ferre told Live Science. Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it blocks other neurotransmitters that excite the neurons; its activity thus leads to feelings of fatigue. So, by blocking adenosine, caffeine changes peoples’ moods and leaves them feeling more alert and awake.
A 2012 study in rats, also by Ferre and colleagues, showed that combining caffeine with marijuana worsened the memory problems induced. The effect is likely to be particularly acute in teens, because their brains are still developing, Ferre said.
“The worst is with kids,” Ferre said. “Caffeine can be a really powerful drug that can have strong effects on a developing brain.”
Ferre and colleagues published a 2014 study in The Journal of Neuroscience that tested the effects of combining THC with a compound called MSX-3 that mimics some of the effects of caffeine. In experiments on squirrel monkeys that were addicted to THC, the researchers measured whether a range of doses of the caffeine-like compound influenced the monkey’s likelihood to give themselves more hits of THC.
As marijuana use becomes more common, so may using the drug together with caffeine. But what do we know about the health effects of mixing weed and a cup of joe?