How Do Caffeine & THC React?

THC and caffeine are chemical compounds contained in several plants. Both plants have profound effects on mammals upon consumption. Humans have been using these plants since the dawn of time for a multitude of reasons. The following will examine the effects of consuming caffeine and THC, both independently and in conjunction.

The Effects of Caffeine

Caffeine is the most widely used substance in the world. It has been consumed since time immemorial spreading through trading as a barter trade currency. Several plants contain caffeine. However, the exact number of species of plants containing caffeine is still unknown.

Caffeine is known for the stimulating effect it has on people. It is a central nervous system stimulant, meaning it speeds everything up in your body, resulting in enhanced focus, attention, memory, and processing. Caffeine works by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain that signal the brain to slow activity due to fatigue. This is why it helps you feel alert and focused.

Caffeine is broken down by the liver, which takes almost 40 hours to metabolize 200 milligrams. However, the initial reaction to caffeine can be noticed from the moment you take that first sip of coffee in the morning.

Some of the factors that influence the high metabolism of caffeine are tolerance, drug interactions, and sensitivity.

As with every drug, the effect it has is highly dependent on how often the drug is consumed. Someone drinking coffee every single morning won’t feel as profound of an effect as someone who drinks a coffee once per week.

In some medical cases, caffeine reduces inflammation and helps to block pain signals to the brain acting as a good painkiller.

Scenarios that are more evident prove caffeine to influence muscle utilization of glycogen boasting more extended muscle functionality before fatigue sets in. Caffeine has been synthesized for use in several applications like instant pain relievers as well as workout supplements used by sports physicians.

Caffeine can even be used to delay or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Caffeine also causes an increase in dopamine levels, which produce a positive state of mind.

  • Increases focus, attention, memory, and processing in the brain
  • Stimulates digestion and excretion
  • Induce feelings of happiness
  • Reduces inflammation and blocks pain signals to the brain
  • Extend muscle stamina

Effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)

THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is found in the resin on the cannabis flower. Cannabis has a sensational high effect on its consumers, carrying with it a sensational stigma around use that is slowly disappearing.

Cannabis, also known as marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance in the world. In 2013, there were 19.8 million consumers in the US, 7.5% of people age 12 or older. With cannabis becoming legal in states from Oregon to Maine, it is important to understand the effects of this fascinating drug, and how it interacts with the consumption of caffeine.

But first, it is important to understand how Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, was first discovered.

Rafael Mechoulam, a Bulgarian born scientist, sought to define the various chemical compounds of the marijuana plant in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, this research was often slowed down due to the foolish illegality of marijuana. However, Rafael was able to pull in favors from authorities and make significant progress on his research. Rafael was able to separate the chemical compounds of marijuana and discover THC.

His efforts established marijuana as a legitimate drug with medicinal and recreational uses, and we can thank him for helping to lessening the stigma associated with the drug.

The similarity between the chemical structure of THC and the human brain fascinated Rafael.

The cannabinoids in the drug interact with the endocannabinoid system each and every one of us has.

This system’s primary function is to establish homeostasis and balance. The reason THC gets us high is that it isn’t broken down the same way as the natural cannabinoids we have in our brain, so it lingers around longer in our CB1 receptors, resulting in the high.

It should be noted that smoking marijuana affects many receptors within our brains. For instance, the effect of THC may cause a higher release of dopamine in one individual than in another, which would result in the user finding the experience pleasurable and satisfying.

When consumed, THC swims upstream in the veins causing a reaction within a matter of seconds. Unlike caffeine, THC is mostly consumed through smoking. The effect can be slightly different for everybody, but typically the user will feel the following:

  • a sense of euphoria
  • a pleasant calmness
  • An increased sense of well-being
  • increased sensory awareness
  • a skewed perception of time
  • an increased appetite

Be careful, as you may not realize just how much you’re eating and how full you’re getting while under the influence of the drug. For a more comprehensive overview of how consumption in various forms affects you, reference this guide.

As THC grows to be more and more acceptable in the medical society, several studies have been cleared to examine the medical advantages of the chemical compound. So far, medical marijuana has proven to be effective at treating the symptoms of:

  • Aids/HIV
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Multiple Sclerosis

There is also evidence in its early stages to suggest that Marijuana may help people with a slew of mental health issues, like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.

The Compound Effects of Mixing Caffeine and THC

While the medicinal and regular use of THC and Caffeine have been studied, very few studies have established what happens when both THC and caffeine are consumed simultaneously.

Generally, caffeine is known to be a potent stimulant while THC or cannabis is known to be a both a depressant and psychoactive stimulant. There are benefits and risks that should be noted when deciding to use any substance.

Studies show that caffeine reinforces the effects of THC, making it possible to get more stoned with less cannabis, and making the whole experience more pleasurable.

Most people who combine the consumption of THC and caffeine enjoy the complementary effects. This could be because both compounds release a pleasurable, enjoyable chemical in the brain called dopamine.

When caffeine is mixed with THC, it enhances the effects of the dopamine released by the THC, which could make both caffeine and THC use more addictive for that individual.

It should be noted, however, that results are different for everyone. Using a stimulant with cannabis will certainly increase the risk of paranoia or anxiety, so bear that in mind when using both. If nothing else, supplementing one’s cannabis use with caffeine can help them cut down on cannabis and not feel any less high.

Ultimately, it is up to the user if caffeine use is appropriate during their cannabis use, and vice versa. Many people enjoy cannabis because of the relaxing, sedating effect it has on their mind. Others enjoy the mental stimulation THC offers and seek to enhance it with caffeine. Regardless, approach the use of both with caution.

Caffeine will make you feel alert and focused while THC will make you feel calm and relaxed, so find times in the day where those effects are most appropriate.


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