The risks of mixing weed with coffee

Published Apr 26, 2019 11:43 a.m. ET
Photo Credit, Richard Vogel

Almost 75% of Canadians enjoy coffee as their daily beverage of choice, and now that cannabis is legal to use for recreational purposes, it is time that people understand the risks associated with combining multiple substances like THC and caffeine. Now if you’re like me and weren’t aware that there was any risk to a morning wake and bake finished with a steaming cup of Joe, this might come as a surprise, but don’t worry too much just yet. The more you know, the more you can safely partake in marijuana edibles and dry herb with the least amount of risk possible. Before you eye roll and skip the article, the idea isn’t to get you to quit your favorite morning beverage altogether. It’s to better understand the chemistry at work when you choose to combine both THC and caffeine into your daily routine. Some people use coffee as a tool to increase their high, but it might not be a good idea for certain people including new consumers who are experimenting with cannabis for the very first time.

The effects of caffeine

Coffee affects consumers by blocking other receptors in the brain which are responsible for that fatigued feeling you have before you drink your first cup of the day. Those neurons remaining blocked allows the caffeine to stimulate another neurotransmitter called Adenosine. This excites, stimulates, and energizes the consumer. Caffeine also can boost another transmitter called dopamine which is responsible for the relaxing and feel good sensation we correlate with reward. Coffee can also have another short-term effect like an increased heart rate which forces the body to process substances faster than it normally would. The possible negative side effects of coffee consist of shakes, tremors, anxiety, digestive issues, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, fatigue, and addiction.

The effects of marijuana

Marijuana naturally produces hundreds of cannabinoids, but the one that is most influential is called THC. It is the psychoactive element that is responsible for the high and euphoric sensations users expect when consuming cannabis products. THC can have this effect due to its ability to interact with and boost the human body’s natural dopamine production. It is also capable of heightening felt sensations and and stimulating other areas of the brain that caffeine also works with.  

The effects of marijuana and coffee combined

The effects of combining both elements into one session can have a variety of different effects, but for the most part, a consumer mixing substance should expect an amplified high that will be much more intense and shorter lasting it would be if they were taken apart from one another. This leads to issues like a heightened tolerance to THC, and a higher level of consumption which has the possible implication of being more addictive than if either substance was used alone. Caffeine is capable of effectively magnifying the effects of THC in any size dose which can be detrimental to new users, those with heart issues, and consumers with a lower than normal tolerance to THC. The possible negative side effects of THC are anxiety, paranoia, increased risk of stroke, memory problems, exhaustion, and hallucinations.

In conclusion

The purpose of this study was to determine the risk factors associated with combining coffee or tea with THC. Unfortunately, due to a lack of research funding available there is no real evidence to show that it might be safe or otherwise, so it is recommended to practice common sense and discretion going forward. This is especially true for those on prescribed medications, with heart health issues, new consumers, and those with a low tolerance to THC. For anyone outside of those restrictions, experimenting with coffee and marijuana can lead to an intense and unique experience that is magnified using nontoxic substances with very little real risk. Just remember, that every cup and joint you have might affect you up to three times more than it normally would when taken alone, so go forward with caution and use your best judgement to determine whether mixing coffee with your morning wake and bake is a good idea for you. Combining the two might also result in an increased chance of experiencing any of the possible side effects of both substances, so begin with low doses and slowly find your own comfort zone.

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