If you’ve ever seen a hemp leaf on an iced coffee or a cup of Americano, chances are you were looking at CBD coffee. Today, you can find CBD-infused coffee online, in specialized health shops, and maybe even in your local coffee shop. But is CBD coffee just a trendy new way of drinking your morning cup of joe? Or does it have actual health benefits?
Although there hasn’t been a lot of research on combining caffeine and CBD, we know that the two molecules affect the same areas of the brain. As a result, the effects you get from combining the two are a little different from what you get when you take them separately. In this article, we examine how CBD works in synergy with caffeine, and how that could change the way you experience your morning coffee.
What is CBD?
CBD is the name of a molecule also known as cannabidiol. You find it in the cannabis plant, alongside dozens of other “cannabinoids.” These molecules have a very special effect on our bodies. When they get activated, they are able to bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which gives a boost to something called the “endocannabinoid system.” This biological system is a network of receptors that regulates things like appetite, mood, pain management and inflammation in mammals.
We often say that THC is the only cannabinoid compound that is psychoactive. That’s because it’s the molecule responsible for making you high when you smoke marijuana. But although they don’t affect you as strongly, the other cannabinoids also affect the way that your brain works.
Although CBD isn’t, strictly speaking, a psychoactive substance, it can change things up in your brain. This is why many people use it as a treatment against mental health conditions including anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD and even psychosis. CBD has the power to bring your brain chemistry closer to normal, calm you down, and lift up your mood.
CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%) are now legal on a federal level in the United States. However, they are not FDA-approved, and may still be illegal in certain states. Check your local laws before making a purchase.
What are the effects of CBD mixed with caffeine?
When you take CBD and caffeine together, they both alter the way that your brain works.
Although caffeine, like CBD, isn’t considered a recreational drug, it does have psychoactive properties. That’s why caffeine has the effects it has: making you more alert, more energized, and giving you a feeling of well-being.
In some ways, CBD can reinforce, lower, or even suppress some of the effects of coffee on your brain and body. This is what will happen when you mix it with caffeine.
- CBD can downplay the negative effects of coffee
Although coffee is one of the most popular hot drinks in the world, it’s not completely harmless. In fact, drinking coffee regularly has been associated with a few health complications such as:
- Increased anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Appetite change
But taking it with CBD could change that.
For example, we know that drinking coffee regularly lowers levels of serotonin in the brain. Low serotonin levels can cause a drop in mood and can eventually lead to clinical depression. Luckily, CBD may have the opposite effect, acting as an antidepressant. So while drinking coffee could throw your brain chemistry out of balance, CBD can help to bring it back to normal.
Coffee is also known to cause high blood pressure. This is worrying when you consider that hypertension can lead to some of the most common causes of death, including heart attacks and strokes. Thankfully, CBD may be able to counteract that effect because it lowers blood pressure.
Too much caffeine isn’t good for you. In fact, it’s not really recommended to drink coffee every day. But if you mix it with CBD, the cannabinoid compound might be able to undo some of the negative effects of coffee on the body and mind.
2. CBD could make you less addicted to coffee
When you drink a cup of coffee, it helps to release some extra dopamine into your brain. As a result, you feel more alert, more confident, and happier. But just like any other stimulant substance that raises your dopamine levels, caffeine has the potential to become addictive.
If you drink coffee every day, you may get to the point when it’s hard to function or just feel good without your morning cup of coffee. If this is something that worries you, then CBD may be able to help.
Because of the way it binds to receptors in the brain, CBD can stop certain stimulant substances from releasing so much dopamine. As a result, taking CBD can prevent dopamine desensitization. In simpler words, CBD can help to make dopamine-releasing substances like caffeine less addictive. So adding a couple of drops of CBD in your morning cup of coffee could make all the difference between becoming dependent on caffeine, and enjoying its effects without any addiction.
3. CBD might take the edge off coffee
Finally, we all know that coffee can have some unpleasant side effects. It can give us “the shakes,” “the jitters,” whatever you want to call it. Essentially, caffeine increases adrenaline levels in your body, which creates a stress-like response. As a result, it can make you anxious, restless and irritable.
CBD has almost the opposite effect. It lowers your brain’s stress response, which makes it useful in combating anxiety.
By mixing CBD together with coffee, you may be able to counteract the stress-promoting effects of caffeine with the stress-fighting effects of CBD. And as a result, you’ll get the energy boost you need out of your coffee, with none of the jitters.
How will I feel after drinking CBD coffee?
Some people are worried that adding CBD to their coffee will make it less powerful. After all, caffeine is known as a stimulant, while CBD is generally considered a more sedative substance. But when you mix CBD and coffee together, you won’t feel the energizing effects of caffeine any less. They just won’t come with as many side effects.
After drinking a cup of CBD coffee, you can expect to feel alert and energized, but in a calmer way than you’re used to. You’ll feel relaxed and confident at the same time, poised and enthusiastic. For those who swear by it, CBD coffee is the best way to start the day!
How long does CBD coffee take to affect you?
When you drink CBD coffee, both the caffeine and the CBD take the same path to reach your brain. They have to be processed by your stomach and go through your digestive tract, after which you’ll start feeling some serious effects. This usually takes around 45 minutes.
Where do I find CBD coffee?
You can find CBD coffee in many different forms. For example, some roasters sell coffee beans that have been infused with CBD. Other companies sell CBD espresso in a bottle, CBD cold brew, or even CBD instant coffee. And then there’s the CBD coffee you find in coffee shops, which you’re more likely to come across in larger cities.
With all these products, you have to be careful about the dose of CBD they contain. It’s not an understatement to say that some of the CBD coffee you can find contains minimal amounts of CBD—somewhere around 2 to 3 mg per cup.
If you want to really feel the effects of the CBD-caffeine combination, you’ll probably want to try out a larger dose of CBD.
So when buying a CBD coffee product, pay close attention to its potency. This will tell you how likely you are to feel something from it. And if you can’t find a CBD coffee product that tells you its potency, or one that’s strong enough, why not try making it yourself?
How to make CBD coffee at home
To make CBD-infused coffee, you’ll only need a few ingredients: what you usually use to make coffee (instant powder or ground coffee beans) and a CBD oil.
Make your coffee as usual, and add in a few drops of CBD at the last minute. It’s not a good idea to heat up the CBD together with the coffee, as it could cause it to lose some of its potency.
How much you add is entirely up to you. But to feel an effect, we recommend trying out 5 mg of CBD per cup at the very least. Of course, to get a better sense of what dose is appropriate for you and your condition, you’ll have to consult a health specialist with some knowledge of CBD.
CBD and caffeine are two substances that can have powerful effects on the brain. Although they seem to contradict each other (caffeine is stimulating, CBD more sedative), they can actually work in synergy. When you drink CBD coffee, you can get the best of both worlds: the energizing effects of caffeine alongside the calming effects of CBD. But to really experience these benefits, you’ll have to take a good dose of CBD. So be careful of so-called CBD coffee products that only contain a couple of milligrams: they likely won’t provide you with the experience you’re after.
Effects of CBD on the brain
2018 review of the effects of CBD on physical and mental health conditions
2018 study on the effects of CBD against depression on mice
2014 study on the antidepressant effects of CBD
2013 study on cannabinoid receptors and stimulant addictions
2016 study on the effects of CBD on dopamine when paired with amphetamines
2019 study on CBD for anxiety and sleep
2019 study on the effects of CBD for stress reduction
Effects of CBD on the body
2017 study on the effects of CBD on hypertension
Effects of caffeine on the brain
1994 study on serotonin levels and caffeine consumption
2013 study on the addictive potential of caffeine
Effects of caffeine on the body
2008 study on coffee consumption and blood pressure