If you asked 100 people what’s one thing they couldn’t live without in a day, most would say their morning cup of coffee. After waking up in the morning it only takes a few minutes for the craving to kick in, you beeline it to the kitchen and start brewing your favourite blend, before it brews it feels almost impossible to be productive or think clearly. From the minute it hits your lips to when you empty your cup, without coffee many would struggle to have a functionable day. The same can be said for cannabis but on the opposite side of the scale. You finish a hard days work, your body aches or your mind is exhausted, you step inside your house, start grinding up your favourite Haute Health strain and within minutes all the stresses of the day are washed away and your body mind and soul are replenished. Both caffeine and cannabis are vices we rely heavily on, using them on a daily basis to start our days and end our days. The ultimate goal when using both cannabis and weed is to feel better and make our daily lives easier, but when a substance makes you feel good it’s always a good idea to get the facts on why. Here we’ll look at cannabis vs caffeine, what happens when you mix them together, which one is more harmful, which one is more addictive and everything else you need to know about coffee vs weed.
How Does Caffeine Interact With The Body?
Before we dive into caffeine vs weed, let’s have a look at each individual substance first. Caffeine is the most commonly used natural stimulant ingredient in the world, most commonly found in coffee, tea and cacao plants. Today 80% of earths popular consumes caffeinated products with 90% of North Americans consuming caffeine on a daily basis. Caffeine mainly effects the brain, by blocking adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that relaxes the brain and makes you feel tired. Adenosine levels build up throughout the day making us increasingly more tired which causes us to go to sleep during the night. It also increases blood adrenaline, brain activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, promoting arousal, alertness and focus. Due to caffeine’s interaction with the brain it is classified as a psychoactive drug. There are various consumer products that have certain levels of caffeine:
- Espresso: 240–720 mg.
- Coffee: 102–200 mg.
- Yerba mate: 65–130 mg.
- Energy drinks: 50–160 mg.
- Brewed tea: 40–120 mg.
- Soft drinks: 20–40 mg.
- Decaffeinated coffee: 3–12 mg.
- Cocoa beverage: 2–7 mg.
- Chocolate milk: 2–7 mg
How Does Cannabis Interact With the Body?
Cannabis is a group of plants that contain psychoactive properties, those plants being Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderails. Once dried and harvested it becomes one of the most common recreational drugs on the planet. Cannabis is used for its relaxing and calming properties and is used among the medical community to help with a variety of ailments such as chronic pain, inflammation, glaucoma, nausea, appetite stimulant and much more. Cannabis contains over 120 cannabinoids with two of them being the most dominant, they are known as THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis, which makes you feel “high” awhich is the common association with cannabis. CBD is the second most dominant cannabinoid that produces non psychoactive effects, often used for dealing with pain, inflammation, seizures and anxiety. Cannabis affects many areas of the brain acting as a complex compound that effects a long list of brain and bodily function, effecting areas such as the amygdala, cerebellum, hippocampus, cerebral cortex and the endocannabinoid system. Interacting with the our cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2, both CBD and THC bind with these receptors to influence our body and mind. Cannabis comes in different strains along with different terpenes and other components that make us this very complex and still unknown plant.
Which is More Harmful?
Marijuana vs Caffeine
A psychoactive drug is a form of chemical substances that alters the brains functions, changing things such a perception, mood and consciousness. Caffeine directly interacts with our central nervous system, this includes the brain, spinal cord and various other nerves throughout the body, with caffeine’s primary object to make you feel awake and alert. When we consume caffeine it blocks our adenosine receptors as we’ve mentioned above, this however doesn’t mean that caffeine provides us with energy, it only fools the braid into recognizing we are tired. This allows caffeine to increase ones mental and physical state, making them more energetic and productive. However, when this occurs on a regular basis a tolerance is able to develop. When our adenosine receptors become inhibited by caffeine the brain begins to create more receptors, this increase in adenosine is then picked up by the brain which actually makes us to feel more tired then we would have if we never had of consumed any caffeine in the first place. This leads to the brain to become dependent on caffeine to feel energetic and to reach functionable brain levels. When you don’t consume the regular amount of caffeine your body is accustom to you begin to go through withdrawal symptoms, these withdrawal symptoms can be severe at times and make take weeks to overcome. Symptoms such as:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of motivation
- Flu-like symptoms
Along with caffeine becoming a dependence, it can also lead to overdose risks. When high doses of caffeine are consumed it can cause things such as irritability, muscle spasms, insomnia and loss of inhibitions. Caffeine has even caused death due to overdose, with the culprit being things such as caffeine pills which contain extremely high levels of caffeine. When you look at the addiction capabilities and the withdrawal symptoms it points to caffeine being a potentially dangerous and addictive substance.
While we examine cannabis vs caffeine and ask ourselves is caffeine worse than weed ? Let’s look at cannabis and its primary substance known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol, or as you may know it as THC. Our brains contain cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters, this is what THC interacts with when we consume cannabis. This makes THC a naturally occurring chemical, as it doesn’t directly alter one’s brain chemistry like other psychoactive drugs. When THC is consumed it binds with the our CB1 receptors which causes the feeling of being “high”, it also binds with our CB2 receptors which causes the physical effects brought on by THC and CBD such as muscle relaxation, paranoia, increase in episodic memory and a decrease in our short-term memory.
When comparing caffeine vs THC and if caffeine is worse than weed the science points towards cannabis no being a physically addictive substance, as physical addiction is classified when a drug alters your brain chemistry where a dependence occurs. This comes down to the fact that the brain is not accustomed to caffeine and is forced to compensate for the unrecognized chemical reaction. This is not the case with cannabis as the brain already receives its own cannabinoids and does not alter itself to cater to the cannabinoids consumed when using cannabis. When the cannabinoids from cannabis bind with the natural cannabinoids in our brain it is a natural chemical reaction. This is why most drug abuse institutes rate the addictions of marijuana lower then caffeine. Furthermore, because cannabis is relatively non toxic compared to other legal and illegal drugs, there has never been a recorded death of cannabis in the world, with marijuana having no capability of inducing a lethal amount for someone to overdose. This leads us to the answer that yes caffeine is worse than weed on our brain’s and body.
What Happens When You Mix Cannabis and Caffeine
With the legalization of cannabis, more and more individuals are seeing the benefits of consuming cannabis. Many are looking to see how cannabis interacts with other known substances. Although there isn’t a clear answer for what happens with you mix marijuana vs caffeine, you don’t have to look far to find products that already mix caffeine with both THC and CBD.
When we consume both caffeine and cannabis together there are a variety of different effects that can occur. Generally speaking, caffeine is a stimulant while marijuana is either a stimulant or a depressant. In simpler terms, caffeine gives you energy and cannabis makes you feel relaxed. A study published in the Annals of Neuroscience in 2017 looked at the effects of caffeine and cannabis on six groups of rats. The results found that animals treated with caffeine and cannabis saw an increase in levels of neurotransmitters GABA, glutamate, and dopamine, and an enzyme known as G-6-PDH. This makes it more clear on why drinking a cup of coffee, or a soda and smoking a joint feels so good. When we gain an increase of dopamine which is our feel good neurotransmitter that is linked to the reward response we when are doing something pleasurable. So consuming both substances increases our dopamine making it feel extra pleasurable. But we also need to look at the possible ramifications, which is the change to the enzyme G-6-PDH. This enzyme has a strong influence on our glucose metabolism, energy production, cell growth and the prevention of oxidative stress. When our bodies produce an overexpression of G-6-PDH which is the case when you combine the two substances, that overexpression can be associated with obesity, insulin resistance and increased blood lipids.
The combination of caffeine vs THC on memory function also may not be a good idea. Cannabis already effects memory by reducing memory and cognitive function, especially in young adults who use cannabis while their brains are still developing. Studies have shown that THC induced memory deficits may be increased by combining with caffeine, possibly due to the fact the caffeine interacts with adenosine receptors in the brain.
It is not uncommon for people to enjoy their morning cup of coffee with a joint, or drink a few soft drinks while consuming THC. It helps crease alertness and makes the high feel stronger and more pleasurable. Though there is still a need for more conclusive research, the minimal facts we know point to the mixture of caffeine and cannabis as potentially harmful to the body. It is unlikely that is low doses of caffeine and cannabis any serious issues will occur, so just make sure to practice moderation until further studies are conducted.
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