Coffee and cannabis are the peanut butter and jelly of the drug world; they complement each other so well it’s unreal. But what makes them a match made in drug heaven? Does smoking marijuana while drinking coffee actually improve your high? There seems to be a relation to places with premium coffee also demanding top quality cannabis like Seattle and Portland—or it might be the rain, who knows. However, turns out there may be some science surrounding your brain, marijuana and coffee and how they all interact when being consumed at the same time.
Your Brain on Drugs – Caffeine
Caffeine is the world’s most used drug to encourage brain activity and keep you alert. Caffeine doesn’t give you energy, but it does block receptors in your brain from receiving adenosine which is the chemical compound that causes your brain to relax and get sleepy. Because the chemical compound of caffeine is so similar to adenosine, this switch is seamless, but after 6 hours the effectiveness of coffee decreases by 50 percent.
Your Brain on Drugs – Cannabis
Unlike many other intoxicants available (like alcohol), cannabis contains cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) also highly resembles anandamide, which is natural transmitter to the neurones in your brain. After a neuron fires, there is a break in the transmission of thought to not overwhelm the mind and keep you calm and controlled in thought. However, cannabis stops these breaks and allows the user to amplify their thoughts and imagination.
Stoned Monkey Data
In a recent study, squirrel monkeys in a laboratory were given THC through a device that allowed them to get high by the pull of a lever. After the animals had been fully aware that pulling the lever gave them a hit of THC, they began mixing the THC with increasing doses MSX-3, which is a form of caffeine. What they found was that as the dosing of MSX-3 increased, the monkeys pulled the lever less than normal. Meaning that the addition of caffeine made the monkeys need less THC for the same effect.
After a break period in which the monkeys sobered up from their high-life, they were reintroduced to either straight THC or THC mixed with MSX-3. Interestingly the monkeys who received the MSX-3 mixture pulled the lever for dosage more often, thus showcasing addiction. So the conclusion of this data is that caffeine in monkeys helped prolong with the effect of cannabis but once they were reintroduced to THC after a month, the monkeys who were given both drugs found it harder to quit. Thus, the combination of caffeine and cannabis makes it more difficult to quit one or the other.
So Does Smoking Marijuana with Coffee Improve Your High?
According to the data above, which is the best scientific study surrounding the relationship between caffeine and cannabis, drinking coffee does not improve your high. However, it can allow you to smoke less while maintaining a high with increased doses of caffeine. Dr. Gary Wenk, a professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at the Ohio State University Medical Centre stated, “Apparently, high doses of coffee makes us feel so good because it can tap into virtually every reward system our brain has evolved. Hidden within that hot black silken elixir is a chemical that has taken over your brain by mimicking the actions of marijuana.” Because of this, coffee is supplementing the chemical effects in your brain making your high last longer.
Most studies like this have only been conducted on animals in a laboratory, it is unclear what differences would take place in humans—but if they wanted an idea they would merely have to ask a few people at a Seattle Starbucks.
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