Coffee and Cannabis
It turns out that coffee alters your metabolism in more complex and surprising ways than simply jolting you awake in the morning.
A study done by researchers at Northwestern University revealed a link between coffee, cannabis and brain function by showing that increased coffee consumption alters more metabolites than previously thought, and decreases those from the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Researchers measured the presence of metabolites in the blood of their volunteers, who went from drinking zero to eight cups of coffee per day for two months.
The results showed that coffee consumption affected 115 metabolites, some of which were already known, and some that represented new discoveries.
One key discovery was that increased coffee consumption – particularly eight cups per day – reduces neurotransmitters related to the endocannabinoid system. This is the opposite of what happens when you smoke weed.
The endocannabinoid metabolic pathway helps the body regulate stress and endocannabinoids can disappear in the presence of chronic stress – like the kind caused by drinking large amounts of coffee every day.
“The increased coffee consumption over the two-month span of the trial may have created enough stress to trigger a decrease in metabolites in this system,” said the study's lead author Marilyn Cornelis.
"The endocannabinoid pathways might impact eating behaviors," suggested Cornelis. Hence the munchies.
In terms of psychoactive effects, it’s unclear exactly how drinking coffee and smoking weed interact.
“Whether elevated blood levels of plant-derived cannabinoids (resulting from cannabis use) offset the lower levels of endocannabinoids produced by the body naturally (in response to coffee) or vice versa is unknown but one can imagine this might impact the effects of either substance/beverage,” Cornelis told ZME Science.
“Coffee is a very common beverage and it’s highly possible that cannabis users are also coffee consumers,” said Cornelis.
The study was published this week in the Journal of Internal Medicine.