Medical marijuana and coffee on a white background

Medical Marijuana and Coffee: A Recent Trend

You’ve probably heard of pot-brownies or cookies from parties back in the day. These days, cannabis is going mainstream and ending up in everything from chocolates to gummies. With the increased acceptance of weed and more states passing medical marijuana laws, it seems like a no-brainer that someone would have decided to infuse cannabis into coffee since it’s one of the most popular beverages around the globe.

Some marijuana users have been mixing their weed and coffee for years by smoking a joint with a cup of espresso or dropping a little THC butter in a cup of joe. Recently, several dispensaries are trying their hand at marijuana-infused coffee beverages to benefit from the important role of coffee in our society, while giving drinkers a few added effects.

However, mixing two chemicals in your body leads to effects that you may or may not want, so you need to understand what you’re putting in your body and all the possible effects.

Gloved hand holding medical marijuana in a small dish

Active Ingredients

Have you ever heard the phrase oxymoron? It’s a figure of speech for two words that seem to contradict each other, like jumbo shrimp or sweet sorrow. You can think of cannabis-infused coffee drinks as the oxymoron of beverages.

Coffee is packed with caffeine, a stimulant that increases your alertness, speeds up your heart rate, and stimulates your bowels. Marijuana has the characteristics of a depressant and a few of a stimulant and hallucinogen, too. It can reduce your blood pressure, induce relaxation, elevate your mood, and make you feel detached from your environment.

It’s essential to note that marijuana is made up of two compounds with different effects.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); is a psychoactive chemical that makes you feel high.

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD; doesn’t make you feel “stoned” and can help with pain, inflammation, and anxiety. 

Coffee drinks infused with marijuana can have both or one of these compounds in the mix.

What does combining these contradicting chemicals do inside your body?

There isn’t much research in humans on the effects of mixing marijuana and coffee. However, there is some anecdotal evidence about what might happen when you put weed in your coffee.

Dr. Sergi Ferre, a senior investigator at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told Live Science that caffeine boosts the levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in your body.

Dopamine is known for its “feel good” effects because it can have you feeling blissful, motivated and even euphoric. Ferre goes on to point out that combining caffeine and weed can increase the feelings produced by dopamine.

Young woman with her hands on face stressed out

A Natural Remedy for Physical and Social Pains

Experts are starting to hail cannabis as a possible remedy to the opioid epidemic. It’s estimated that more than 130 people in the U.S. die each day from opioid overdose. People with mental health disorders are given a large portion of the opioid prescriptions across the country.

These numbers raise concerns over the risk of addiction, misuse, and even an increase in the risk of suicide for people who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Physicians, lawmakers, and other experts believe that marijuana products might be the future of pain control without the risk of addiction.

Cannabis is used to:

  • Alleviate chronic pain
  • Boost appetite
  • Minimize life-limiting seizures and muscle spasms

More than half of all states have formal medical marijuana programs, and many others have proposed legislation in the wings.

Mixing this drug with coffee might be the secret to a healthy life because coffee has been found to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

Addiction sign reading the continued use of a mood changing substance

So, What’s the Downside?

In the Live Science article mentioned above, Ferre describes the magnified effects of marijuana when mixed with caffeine and warns against them. Any time two drugs are combined, the risk for addiction is higher. Adding weed to your coffee might enhance the addictive characteristics of caffeine and worsen the memory impairment commonly associated with marijuana use.

Another significant concern with any marijuana edibles is related to the risk of these products getting into the wrong hands. Substance abuse among teens and young adults is a public health concern.

In 2015, more than 11 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 reported using marijuana in the past year. A 2016 survey conducted in public and private high schools across the country revealed that 22.5 percent of all seniors in high school had used marijuana in the past month.

Mainstream marijuana use and acceptance might be to blame for some of these numbers and might even lead to some school safety concerns for parents. As society becomes more accepting of marijuana use and more states pass laws allowing medical and recreational use, many experts wonder if these numbers will rise even more?

What do you think about medical marijuana and coffee? Let us know in the comments below!

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