Have you ever wondered if coffee and weed work together? Or do the two produce an undesired opposite effect? Visit a dispensary or surf online and you’ll find a wide variety of cannabis-infused coffees. If you’re anything like us, starting your morning with a regular cup of coffee is something you just can’t imagine life without.
Once we discovered how that cup of coffee, along with a wake and bake session, impacted our productivity tenfold, we never looked back. This coffee-canna-connection might not be for everyone but we do have to say that the two pair like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So what’s the deal really? Let’s look into the science behind mixing coffee and cannabis.
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Effects of Mixing Coffee and Weed
The effects of mixing coffee and cannabis can vary depending on a number of factors. For one, not all cannabis strains are the same. Be sure to pick a strain you already know you like and react well to.
Cannabis comes in a variety of different strains that all have varying effects. The effects of different cannabis strains depend on a person’s unique endocannabinoid system. Some strains can mellow you out while others act as a stimulant and are more energizing.
Talk to any bud tender or cannabis advocate and you’ll hear the terms sativa and indica. Sativa strains of cannabis commonly give you an energetic, uplifting high with social productivity while indica strains are known to mellow you out and give you that relaxing, couch-lock feel.
It’s important to note that similar to a sativa strain, coffee acts as a stimulant. If you are looking to help improve the effects of caffeine, a sativa or hybrid might be a better option than the mellow indica strains.
Terpenes for Taste and Effect
Studies show that terpenes are crucial to the effects of cannabis beyond just sativa versus indica strains. Different concentrations of terpenoid provide different effects that pair well with the natural boost from coffee.
For example, limonene gives cannabis the zippy, citrusy notes. Limonene also improves mood and reduces stress. On the other hand, Pinene provides a pine-like fragrance and helps boost memory and reduce pain within the body.
Another factor that determines the effect of cannabis is the ratio of THC present. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive compound in your cannabis. It’s important to note that people process certain compounds differently. While some people might need higher doses to feel their desired effects of cannabis, others might need just a tiny bit to feel its full effects. We always recommend easing in slow and steady, especially if looking to mix with another stimulant like coffee.
Risks of Combining Weed and Caffeine
Mixing caffeine and cannabis has no reported extreme risks. People have varying reactions to both, so combining them should be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you’re not normally good with handling caffeine from coffee, adding cannabis, especially those with strains with higher THC content, could create feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
However, if you enjoy coffee, adding cannabis to your morning routine might just enhance its energizing effects. We recommend starting with your regular cup of joe and ease into a smaller dose between 1–3 mg.
Give yourself 30 minutes before you decide to add a higher dosage. If you’re not feeling pleasant, stop at this point or reduce the amount of caffeine entirely.
It’s a great idea to track your use. Write down what time of day you combined the two, how much and add the adjustments you made. It’s best to follow the changes in your intake.
Tracking your experiences allows you to reflect on how you feel both during and after. You can analyze if the combination of coffee and cannabis is a match made for you or if you’re better off keeping the two separate.
How To Enjoy Cannabis and Coffee
Weed and coffee makes for a magical combination—ask any wake-n-bake enthusiast. But it’s not actual magic that makes these two sweet substances complement one another so perfectly—it’s science.
Aside from the delightful bitterness of coffee and the pungent flavor of smoke melding together on a sensory level, there are deeper chemical reactions that help explain the variety of benefits from starting the morning with an espresso and a joint.
The point is, if you’re willing to take the time to find the right dosage and consumption style and combine them, you can reap the benefits of prolonged energy, creativity, and productive focus throughout your day. Furthermore, if you take it one step further and brew a CBD-infused coffee (like this one from CBD Infusionz) you’ll reap the synergistic effects of plant-based wellness all day long.
The Science behind Coffee and Weed
While there isn’t exactly an abundance of scientific studies about the relationship between coffee and cannabis (due to current legal restrictions and lack of federal guidance) to work from, there’s one commonly-cited study that’s particularly notable.
In the 2014 study, squirrel monkeys who were addicted to THC were given different doses of a drug that mimicked the receptor-blocking properties of caffeine, and then allowed the intake THC as desired. (We note that cannabis is not scientifically addictive.)
First of all, caffeine doesn’t give you energy—rather, it impedes receptors in your brain from receiving adenosine (the chemical compound responsible for drowsiness). The reason you “crash” after a cup of coffee and want another is that these receptors have become available and the drowsiness returns.
Cannabis, by contrast, contains phytocannabinoids, which are chemically similar to the endocannabinoids naturally produced by the brain (you may have heard of the endocannabinoid system, which humans—and all mammals—possess).
THC resembles anandamide, also known as “the bliss molecule,” which naturally occurs in the brain and is connected to many emotions and processes that we connect with cannabis like appetite, intellectual thought, and memory.
When you smoke a bowl or joint of cannabis, THC binds to receptors in the same way as anandamide, which is why users are often euphoric and able to amplify their creative thoughts and imagination. It stands to reason, then, that combining the alertness of coffee with the creative euphoria of cannabis would yield a prolonged, non-drowsy state of awareness, happiness, and inspiration.
The monkeys who had high doses of adenosine-blocking drugs had higher marijuana intake, while the monkeys who had lower doses of the adenosine-blocking drugs had lower marijuana intake.
This data is a little tough to comprehend at first, and also difficult to accurately apply to potential effects in humans. That said, one thing we’ve taken from it is that, while high doses of coffee can lead us to desire high doses of weed, a sustained and happy high is possible if you have a small dose of caffeine to complement a small dose of THC. Basically, the volume of consumption for one will approximately correlate to dosage volume of the other.
Dr. Gary Wenk, a professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University Medical Center sums it up as follows, “Apparently, high doses of coffee makes us feel so good because it can tap into virtually every reward system our brain has evolved.” Cannabis acts very nearly the same way, albeit through different chemical pathways, but the important thing is to not overdo it.
Choose a Hybrid Strain to Pair With Coffee
While marijuana is a depressant in general, the variations between indica and sativa are vast. If you’re starting your day with a cup of coffee and a side of marijuana, we recommend going with a hybrid—this will supply you with energy and enhanced creativity from the sativa, and a calming counterbalance to the powerful caffeine from the indica. Check out the selection over at Canna Comforts (pictured above), they ship to all 50 states.
Cannabis and Espresso
You don’t always need a full cup of coffee—remember those monkeys! While a little bit can do the trick, over-medicating with coffee and cannabis can be more harmful than helpful. A short pour espresso and a little bit of weed is the perfect recipe for an uplifting high and a creative mindset. Many people think espressos are vastly stronger than regular coffee, but remember that it’s only in relation to the volume of water.
Think of it this way: You can have five cups or five sips. The espresso is more potent in each sip, so you can feel stronger increases with each sip and, therefore, effectively manage the dosage more accurately.
Plan Your Morning
Morning rituals help us get into the right mindset for the day—when we plan our morning, we’re already prepared to pounce on the possibility and to carpe the absolute hell out of that diem. Incorporating a smoke (or vape) and an espresso into your morning ritual will allow you to synthesize your goals for the day and identity a productive activity that capitalizes on your enhanced mental state.
Especially if you’re your own boss or you work closely with a good friend who also happens to be your smoking buddy, we can’t say enough about the productive potential of the cannabis and coffee in your morning meeting. Don’t forget to take that meeting with some activity! A walk and talk in the morning can do wonders for the rest of your day.
Embrace the Preparation Process
This tip complements the previous one—starting your morning by rolling a joint, packing your pipe, or loading your pen is an almost-meditative way to kickstart the day. The act of preparation—never mind the consumption of the finished product—lays down a runway of tranquility and creativity from which you can take off when you smoke.
The same way you sip an espresso, a morning smoke should be one that you enjoy slowly, purposefully, and without rushing. If you are smoking on someone else’s clock, a one-hitter is the quick and easy answer. And, to truly minimize smell, go for a portable vape before work.
Experiment with Different Approaches
Your coffee and cannabis session is a perfect moment for you to find a morning routine that works for you. You’re at peak alertness and creativity, your potential output is infinite, and the sky’s the limit. You might find that vaping sativa is actually the best for the morning hours of your day.
Others might find that a bong rip of indica is exactly what they need to maintain patience toward their clients or colleagues. The point is, don’t give up if the first try doesn’t land well with you. Sip, inhale, and center yourself with a moderate-but-effective combination—then prepare to unleash your full potential on the world.
How to Mix Your Coffee With Cannabis
There are different ways to incorporate your cannabis with your caffeine. One of our favorites way to enjoy a good cup of espresso is with a freshly packed bowl or a tightly rolled joint. Another great option is a vaporizer if you aren’t too keen on the smell. We like the vaporizers over at BloomGroove.
Edibles such as cookies or chocolate are also a great option that pair nicely with coffee. Not too sure about sugar to kick start your morning? Opt for a tincture. A few drops right into your cup will go a long way. Crunched on time in the AM? Why not try an infused coffee blend?
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