(Cannabis and Caffeine: a Blend from the gods)
Cannabis and caffeine are some of the most consumed drugs in the United States. As of 2015, 17.68% of Americans were reported to be recreational consumers of the herb. And God knows just how many cups of coffee you’ve had today.
Most cannabis enthusiasts believe that it’s not a wake and bake session without a cup of coffee on the side. Since both cannabis and coffee are social drugs, they bring people together. Think about how many times you’ve caught up with a long-time friend over a cappuccino, or over a fat, hand-rolled joint, or both.
However, it’s important to understand just how to achieve the perfect pairing if you’re going to come up with ideal flavour mixes and a beautifully tailored high. This may sound complicated and dense, but it really isn’t.
Caffeine and Cannabis: What is the Science Behind It?
There isn’t an abundance of scientific research and paperwork on what precisely the relationship between coffee and marijuana is quite yet. With recent developments in cannabis-related legislation, however, this is set to change soon.
Despite all this, there is one particularly important study that’s commonly cited. That 2014 study made use of squirrel monkeys that had an addiction to THC. These monkeys were given a drug that mimicked caffeine’s receptor-blocking properties and then allowed to take in a THC amount of their desire.
For all this to make sense, it’s important to point out that coffee doesn’t entirely ‘give you energy.’ In reality, it just blocks the receptors in your brain from receiving adenosine, the chemical compound that makes you feel drowsy and tired. This is why you seem to ‘crash’ a while after having a cup of coffee- after the caffeine wears off, these receptors become available, and the drowsy feeling returns.
Cannabis, on the other hand, contains THC, which resembles anandamide- or the ‘bliss molecule’ as it is commonly known since it is connected to human emotions and processes such as appetite, memory, and intellectual thought. The THC in your blunt binds to brain receptors in a similar way to the bliss molecule. This is what makes users euphoric, and it also enables them to amplify their imagination and creative thoughts.
What were we talking about? Right- the monkeys. Researchers found that the monkeys with high doses of adenosine-blocking drugs (coffee, in our case) had a relatively higher intake of marijuana than those with lower doses.
It’s not easy to connect these findings with humans and to accurately describe the potential effects of mixing coffee and marijuana. However, the one thing we can take from the study is that drinking copious amounts of coffee can make us crave higher doses of weed. That said, it’s possible to achieve a happy and sustained high if you take in small doses of caffeine to complement a similarly low THC dose. It’s essential that you don’t overdo it.
Pairing Weed and Coffee: How To
Think about this the way you would wine and cheese. You wouldn’t reach for just any bar of cheese- or any bottle of wine, for that matter- would you? Finding a balance between your favourite strain and coffee ought to be just as deliberate. Most cannabis enthusiasts figure that you could either pair the two by flavour or by desired effects.
Pairing by Flavour
The flavour of your bud will depend on a wide variety of factors, such as the strain, its growing climate, phenotype, whether it was grown outdoors or indoors, when and how it was harvested, how it was cured and flushed, how it has been packaged and how you’ve been storing it. The aromas and flavours of specific strains of cannabis rely greatly on terpenes, which are a class of oils that occur naturally in plants.
The Lavender strain, for example, smells so much like lavender due to the presence of linalool, which is also present in lavender flowers. Similarly, some of the flavour in Mango Kush comes from myrcene, which is commonly found in the mango fruit. These flavour-filled strains will either accentuate the flavours in your coffee or blend with them uniquely. With this in mind, it would be a good idea to pair a fruity coffee with a bright, happy strain of weed like Mango Kush.
The flavour of coffee depends mainly on how it was roasted, where it was grown, what subspecies it is, and other factors. Just like cannabis, how it is handled and brewed affects its flavour. For example, an espresso machine, Aeropress, or French press will accomplish rich and bold brews while pour-over coffee and filtered drip will result in more muted flavours.
To pair cannabis and coffee by flavour, think about what you’d naturally have taken with that particular coffee. If you’ve prepared a vibrant Sumatran pot of coffee with a dark, earthy taste, you would instinctively have a dark chocolate bar or chocolate cake to go with it. In the same vein, a sweet, chocolate-like strain like Chocolope would work great. If you’re still unsure of yourself, ask your barista what pairings they would recommend for the coffee beans you’re buying.
Vaping your bud or dabbing full-spectrum concentrates to go with your coffee will result in the most potent and flavourful pairings. Remember, small doses ideally work best.
Pairing by Effects
If you’re not a sucker for flavours and scents, you can pair your two favourite “sins” by their effects. Different cannabis strains make us feel very differently. The effects of coffee can also vary to a small degree, depending mostly on how much caffeine there is in the brew. Dark roast coffee typically has less caffeine than a lighter roast. For example, an espresso-based drink like a cafe latte would have less caffeine than a brewed cup of coffee.
When pairing coffee and weed by effects, you should make sure the strain you’re smoking and the amount of caffeine you’re drinking match the level of energy you’re going for. If you’re finding it hard to keep your eyes open yet it’s only noon, taking a few hits of the Green Crack strain, and a cup of light roast coffee will work magic.
You can also use either drug to circumvent the undesired effects of the other. For example, a cup of coffee will keep away the couch-lock that’s associated with strains like Afgoo. In a similar way, the relaxation that strains like LA Confidential promise will help soothe the jitters typically induced by caffeine.
Why Pairing Coffee and Marijuana is Such a Good Idea
Cannabis and caffeine were practically made for each other! Drinking a cup of coffee has been found to reinforce the effects of THC, making for a more pleasurable high. Since caffeine increases the effects of psychoactive substances, it will allow you to achieve a better high without having to smoke too much weed.
Won’t Mixing Coffee and Weed Make me Anxious?
Coffee and marijuana are a magical pairing. The stimulant effects of one and depressant effects of the other blend and complement seamlessly, giving you an incredibly euphoric high. However, a few people have reported feeling anxious after taking these two together. This might have more to do with the THC content in your stash and the caffeine kick from your brew than anything else. That said, here are a few things you could do to reduce this anxiety or offset it altogether.
- a) Go for a hybrid. Despite marijuana generally being a depressant, the variations between Sativas and indicas are quite vast. If you plan on incorporating coffee into your wake and bake routine, it may be a good idea to go for a hybrid of these two. This will supply you with the energy and creative overflow associated with a Sativa and the calming and soothing counterbalance to the indica.
- b) Be active. Taking a cup of coffee with your joint would be a good idea if you have activities lined up. For example, if you plan to work on a new painting or make some music, this pairing would be perfect for you. Staying idle will cause you to focus on your anxieties and may make the problem worse. If you didn’t really have anything planned out, you could take care of some chores or go for a walk. After all, everything is fun when you’re high!
- c) Try drinking decaf. It seems to defeat the purpose, though, doesn’t it? However, if you’re finding it difficult to sustain the high when you pair weed and coffee together, you should probably try switching to decaf. Alternatively, you could go for a roast that has lower caffeine content, or a strain of weed with a low THC concentration and high CBD concentration.
Generally, pairing caffeine and weed affects different people differently. How much you usually smoke also has a role to play. If you tried smoking a different strain with your cup of coffee and didn’t like the effects, it may be worthwhile to return to the strain your body has become accustomed to.
And just like that, mornings are fun again!