For many, the caffeine rush and the mitigating effects of cannabis are a perfect combination. When the two meet in body and mind, they can mutually reinforce each other, but research is limited on how they interact on a chemical level.
Scientific studies of what happens when your Morgenjoe hits your Morning Joint are scatterbrain and inconclusive, but they do provide a rough map of what to expect from this mental terrain. But culturally, caffeine and cannabis seem like natural bedfellows, with the most popular (legal) upper material most likely pairing with cannabis from a retail perspective.
For starters, we know that caffeine works in the endocannabinoid system – the same region of the brain that causes weeds to do their thing. Both substances have been shown to cause spikes in dopamine activity, and some report that the kick from caffeine creates a brighter, more euphoric cannabis high.
In many ways, however, the two seem to be uncomfortable dance partners who cancel certain effects and enhance others. Caffeine can have an anxiety-inducing effect, while THC can be milder in low doses and freaky in high doses (CBD generally seems to have a calming effect at any dose). It’s possible that coffee jitters add cannabis shakes, paranoia, or couch lock for an uncomfortable cocktail. But it’s also easy to find individual reports of exactly the opposite effect, with the two mixing together for a relaxed yet optimistic feeling. As always, it is advisable to be slow and careful when trying out new combinations.
Although coffee has been shown to improve cognitive powers when combined with weeds, the overall effect may actually be the opposite of that of coffee alone: some studies suggest that coffee and cannabis combined with memory inhibition. Others have shown that caffeine can partially protect against the forgetfulness associated with high doses of CBD.
While this research is certainly better than nothing, it is difficult to summarize into solid conclusions. The studies are usually one-off, with little confirmation or confirmation, are often done on animals, and may use chemical compounds that replicate caffeine rather than the real deal. It is hoped that looser cannabis laws will bring more research on the subject.
Coffee shops and “coffee shops”
Culturally, coffee and cannabis were divided into separate areas by their opposite legal status. As legalization takes shape across North America, the cafe is a model for the cannabis lounge with its leaning towards comfortable seating, art on the walls, and possibly the occasional open microphones or musical performances.
For many Dutch residents and cannabis tourists, their first experience of social cannabis use came in a ‘coffee shop’, the euphemism for a place to smoke a pot in Amsterdam. While some are more like bars or pharmacies, others capture the cozy ambience that one associates with a café. Many actually serve coffee.
Although states have been slow to legalize and allow the sale of cannabis and cities have been slow to allow lounges, this new type of cultural space is gradually penetrating North America. This expansion has been driven further by coffee shops adept enough to take advantage of the legality of the gray area of CBD and give your morning brew a little boost – for a few extra bucks, of course.
Despite the problems mentioned above, the combination of the substances is less discombobulating (more … combining?) Than alcohol and cannabis. Additionally, some states, like California, don’t allow alcohol and cannabis to be sold by the same facility – however, there are no similar restrictions on caffeinated beverages. Inevitably, cannabis use will determine its own course, but as public use becomes more common in the US, our coffee and tea spaces provide the most obvious starting point.
While research on caffeine and cannabis provides some warning signs, the gaps in our understanding of their interaction are larger than the parts of the picture that are filled in. For example, we don’t have any research comparing how cannabis interacts with different caffeinated drinks: coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.
Coffee and tea houses are the clearest model of what social consumption in the US might look like. Given the popularity of coffee and cannabis, their meeting is inevitable. It remains to be seen to what extent coffee and teas get into the bloodstream of the cannabis culture.