By Vanessa Matthews
Ahhh, caffeine and cannabis... two of nature’s greatest gifts. Both are loved not only for their effects, but the experience of consuming. It’s safe to say both of these delights offer something different to our day. Many of us enjoy coffee and tea for the energy boost it gives us, as well as serving as a daily ritual of sorts. While cannabis is used by different people for all sorts of reasons, in many cases, weed can have anything from a relaxing effect, to a creativity-inducing effect. Now, what happens when those are combined? Will that mellowness cancel out your daily energy spike?
The ever-important element in our beloved coffee - caffeine - is a stimulant. Caffeine and cannabis usage has the ability to enhance your high, so it’s important to regulate the amounts of both. Generally, most adults can consume up to 400mg of caffeine daily. However, it’s important to consider when combining with your favorite strain, that you may want to limit that even more due to the enhanced effects. Everyone is different, so just start small and slow, and see where it takes you!
It’s crucial to understand how both substances affect you individually before combining the two. For many it’s a pleasant experience, but it’s possible to experience a high that is too strong, or other negative reactions, such as irregular heartbeat and anxiety. It may be helpful for some people to start with (and maybe stick to) low caffeine levels, coupled with a mellow hybrid strain, as tolerance levels vary greatly. This way, none of the effects are too intense in any way. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
The bottom line is, the actual research on how these two compounds interact is very little. Many swear by the mixture of some good bud and a nice cup of coffee for feelings of relaxation, focus, and clarity in their day. At the end of the day, everyone’s experience will vary!
To give us a general idea of how both compounds physiologically interact, researchers conducted a 2014 study where experiments were performed on squirrel monkeys. They were given THC, and were self-administered with the option to consume more THC at their whim. They were all given varying levels of MSX-3, a compound that produces similar effects to caffeine. What the researchers found was when the monkeys were given less MSX-3, they took less THC. In turn, when they were given higher levels of MSX-3, they took increased amounts of THC.
This research may suggest that the more caffeine we consume, it can lead increased consumption of THC, which may show some effect-cancelling when consuming a high amount of each together. However, this could also suggest that consuming less caffeine will decrease the use of THC to acheive that balanced feeling. Overall, it appears that if you're enjoying both together, it may be wise to not consume one too much more comparatively to the other! This of course is an animal study and not directly factual in regards to the human body, but it may offer some insight into how both caffeine and THC interact.
Okay, okay, enough with the science talk. Do you want to experience this combination to its fullest potential? Consider some of these tasty pairings!
Uplift & Rejuvenate: Green Tea + Energizing Strains
The delicate herbal notes of brewed green tea play beautifully off most strain’s flavors and effects. The caffeine content in green tea is hardly a third of coffee’s caffeine content (25-29mg in 8oz of green tea, vs 95-165mg in 8 oz of coffee.). Because of this, this beverage is a great place to start when experimenting with the cannabis/caffeine combo since it’s much less potent on the caffeine.
Super Lemon Haze (Sativa)
This strain is famous for its citrusy-sweet scent and flavor, a delicious compliment to green tea. It’s known for giving you a high full of energy, happiness, and euphoric feelings. The stress-relief and creativity this strain offers is a lovely mixture with the subtle caffeine boost of green tea.
Strawberry Cough (Sativa)
Another fantastic strain that will add some spunk to your day! The skunky berry flavors in combination with green tea leave a lingering fruity, earthy taste and aroma. Similarly to SLH, this strain is fantastic for kick-starting your day with some energy and inspiration. Say goodbye to stress and couch-lock with this combo!
Focus & Clarity: Drip Coffee + Focusing Strains
Classic drip coffee has complex flavors ranging from smokey, herbal, chocolatey, nutty, citrusy... I could go on and on. It’s a wonderful flavor contrast to cannabis, while sharing some similar flavor notes at times. With the higher caffeine content, it can play wonderfully with hybrid strains, and leave you with a high that is warm, lingering, and focused.
Mimosa (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)
This hybrid strain has a fruity and earthy aroma that intoxicates, and is only elevated by the rich smokiness of a delicious cup of brewed coffee. Mimosa offers focused relaxation: The indica and sativa balance wonderfully by giving you a warm and lingering high, as well as increased focus for your tasks. In combination with high-caffeine coffee, you’re in for a day of positivity and productivity!
True OG (Indica-Dominant Hybrid)
Touted for evoking feelings of focus and calm, this strain is a fantastic option for feeling mellowed out, without losing concentration. You may experience a focused, long-lasting head-high, and a flavor and scent that is distinctly evergreen and citrusy. Enjoy your favorite cup o' joe with the OG, and it’s the perfect pair to achieve a calm, focused state of mind!
If you want to experiment, infuse your coffee with either THC tinctures, or chocolate/caramel edibles melted into your coffee for a decadent treat. The possibilities are endless!
Sources: US National Library of Medicine, MayoClinic, Leafly