What is caffeine?
Let’s cover the basics. Caffeine is a bitter substance that occurs naturally in more than 60 plants. From beloved coffee to tea leaves, kola nuts (which are used to flavor soft drink colas) to cacao, different variations of caffeine can be found all over the world.
As any caffeine enthusiast knows, the main draw to caffeine is of course its stimulating effect, making you feel more awake and giving you that boost of energy you know and love. However, caffeine affects the body in many other ways, too.
What does caffeine do to your body?
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it increases activity in the central nervous system. Simple enough. Now to the more technical side: in the brain, it is believed that caffeine blocks the effects of a chemical called adenosine, which makes you feel sleepy.
Adenosine levels build up throughout the day, making you feel increasingly tired. So, when you drink any caffeinated drink, adenosine is being blocked, making you feel more alert and energetic.
Disadvantages of drinking coffee
But as with all good things, there are always a few downsides. For many of us, caffeine can give us jitters, anxiety, stomach aches, and nervousness.
Coffee withdrawal symptoms
While coffee might be a great addition to your diet in small quantities, taking it back from your diet after drinking it can have certain side effects. Specifically, it can cause specific symptoms that can make you feel bad.
As this 2022 scientific review notes, caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, making it a drug. This compound is easily accessible, cheap, and nonregulated in many parts of the world, so individuals who drink coffee habitually may develop emotional, psychological, and even physical dependence.
The overall diagnosis for caffeine withdrawal this study notes are:
- Headaches, including different types of migraine
- Chronic fatigue or even difficulty resting fully
- Decreased alertness and drowsiness
- Anxiety disorders or symptoms
- Depression and irritability
- Feeling foggy
- Several infections
In general, there’s a public perception that coffee intake can not be bad. Many of the people who actually create a dependence on this substance can have long-term health impacts.
Hence why it is important to understand these before going on a coffee binge or trying to get more productive with 5 cups might not be a good idea for your overall health.
Side effects of coffee in females
While the side effects of caffeine can affect women, there are some extra alerts to watch out for. First, increased caffeine could have an effect on the development of benign breast disease.
This review from 2004 indicated that caffeine intake and diet could be evidence of breast cancer risk. The study reviewed the relationship between caffeine intake and people's diet. And while fat had relatively no difference or significant association, high caffeine consumption was part of the risk of getting these disorders.
So while small doses should be okay, caffeine could be an issue in high quantities. Older reviews also note that caffeine could also create cysts in the breast, specifically in people with hormonal sensitivity.
We also know there is still much to understand, but this commonly found compound has been associated with lower fertility or difficulties in conceiving.
This study says three cups of coffee consumed by both men and women could increase the risk of miscarriage, noting how caffeinated beverages are associated with infertility.
So, there needs to be a continuous intake for this to happen. We recommend checking in with your healthcare provider before starting any supplement or product.
Long term effects of caffeine
While there’s evidence that caffeine can boost your mood and overall focus, there is also evidence of certain long-term effects that are not that good for your health. Some of the most common effects are symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, and digestive issues.
While it is known that caffeine can increase alertness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists caffeinne-induced anxiety disorders as one of the four main syndromes.
Larger doses, like 1g of caffeine per day, can have strong neuropsychiatric effects on your health, as this study by Cambridge University notes. Some of these symptoms include constant nervousness, jitteriness, and even rapid breathing.
Caffeine also has the ability to help people stay awake. However, too much of it can hinder the restoration properties of your sleep. This study found that a higher intake of this can increase how much time it takes for you to go to sleep and even decrease the total sleeping time.
Last but not least, one of the biggest known side effects of prolonged caffeine intake is digestive issues. While some people might find it helps them get their bowels moving, coffee has laxative properties that can speed up the colon.
As of now, there is no correlation between caffeine intake and ulcers. However, individuals suffering from reflux and reflux disease can aggravate their problems. This study showed that patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease could have an even worse situation thanks to coffee.
Of course, all of this is dependent on how much caffeine is consumed and the users overall tolerance—but, what if there was something to curb all of those negative symptoms while still getting that dose of caffeine we so desperately crave each morning? Now enter, CBD coffee.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is a chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant. It is one of almost 100 cannabinoids found in the plant. Hemp is a specific variety of the cannabis sativa plant and has the highest concentration of CBD, which is why CBD is often extracted from these plants.
CBD vs. caffeine
Surprisingly, caffeine and CBD use the same pathway in our nervous system. CBD has several therapeutic benefits, including the potential to reduce inflammation and decrease anxiety symptoms, which all have to do with how this cannabinoid acts up in our system.
Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant. It can presumably make you feel more alert, and some users have reported feeling a mood uplift, getting more energy, and even making you feel more focused.
However, it also acts up in our nervous system by shutting down certain signals, like alertness.
Basically, CBD and caffeine have potentially contrary effects on our system. Whereas CBD works with the receptors of our nervous system, caffeine shuts them down completely. Hence why some people might think they counteract each other. However, let’s deep dive into this a little bit further.
How does CBD interact with your body?
Cannabidiol is believed to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system regulates a range of bodily functions including sleep, mood, appetite, and immune function. So it is constantly working to keep your body running smoothly.
How does it do this? CBD binds with receptors that produce serotonin. Serotonin is thought to regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood (so it’s pretty important).
While CBD doesn't necessarily boost serotonin levels, it may influence how the brain's receptors respond to the serotonin that's already in your system. For this reason, the receptors that Cannabidiol binds with are believed to regulate basic fear and anxiety related behaviors.
CBD also interacts with GABA receptors responsible for calming the nervous system. By influencing these receptors, CBD may support overall balance of the nervous system.
Why do caffeine and CBD pair so well together?
Because CBD works to calm the nervous system and caffeine seeks to excite it, some people think the effects may contradict one another. However, this combination may actually combat the negative effects of caffeine rather than reduce any alertness.
So what does this mean for you? You can finally have that focus and alertness you love from caffeine, without the jitters, anxiousness, and stomach ache, because CBD provides a calming effect that perfectly balances the uneasiness of caffeine.
How? This boils down to a whole bunch of science on neurotransmitters, but as we noted before, CBD supports balance in the region of the brain that controls stress-response.
Because CBD is working to calm and balance your body by binding to receptors that regulate fear and anxiety related behaviors, it may be able to help reduce that jittery, anxious feeling. Have a hectic work day ahead? CBD can help curb the nervousness from caffeine and help us feel a little more mellow—who wouldn’t want that?
We also know that CBD increases GABA activity. Or, in other words, supports widespread relaxation in the nervous system. Less stress and full body relaxation added to your cup of joe? Sounds like a solid start to the day!
Overall, adding CBD oil to your morning cup of coffee, matcha, or tea gives you the alertness you want while simultaneously providing an added feeling of calm.
Does caffeine counteract CBD?
One might think that they might counteract each other because one is a stimulant and the other helps relax. However, users have a lot of anecdotal evidence that combining both might actually help each other.
While some people have used it for the keto diet, CBD can have a synergistic relationship with caffeine. Users claim that when mixing both, caffeine gives an energy boost and mood lift. Meanwhile, CBD can help keep the negative side effects of caffeine at bay, such as bowel movement, inflammation, or even coffee-induced anxiety.
Users have also said that CBD could increase focus as an alternative for caffeine, as there haven’t been long-term effects reported so far. However, we always advise starting with lower doses if you plan to mix both compounds.
Is it bad to mix CBD and caffeine?
In general, mixing CBD and caffeine has not been found to be dangerous or bad yet. And on the contrary, users have referred to them together as a power couple that can potentially bring out the best in each other.
Some people already use CBD for energy, but mixing both caffeine and CBD can be helpful to get a productivity boost. Cannabidiol on its own can make you feel clear-headed and relaxed, and when mixed, it can be used to ease down some of the side effects.
Caffeine can also help with some side effects, as the alertness and feeling of energy mix perfectly with the grogginess that some people report when consuming CBD. This and cannabidiol’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties can potentially help stomach-sensitive people while consuming coffee.
In the end, we always recommend checking with your healthcare professional before starting drinking CBD-infused coffee.
All bodies react differently to different substances, hence the importance of checking your own medical history before starting or continuing any supplement intake.
How to incorporate CBD into your morning routine?
Simply add 1-2 full droppers of CBD drops into your favorite coffee, cappuccino, or latte. For best results use a whisker or bullet blender. The Organic MCT oil will make it extra creamy and delicious.
CBD latte recipe
We’ve talked a lot about how coffee and CBD can work together, but let’s go into an actual recipe you can make at home. Adding cannabidiol to any drink technically makes it a hemp-based drink already, but there are a few more creative ways to enjoy your 5-minute break.
If you like lattes, you’ll love a CBD latte. You prepare your espresso or Moka pot coffee and then heat up your preferred milk or nut-based drink, just add your favorite tincture to the mix.
However, not all tinctures have a good flavor. So just ensure that your tincture has a neutral flavor, or you might get a mint-tasting latte. To be fair, it could be a really good way to spice up your drink with some flavor.
Nevertheless, we recommend adding the tincture to the fat-based part of the drink before mixing. Most tinctures and drops have neutral flavors; just make sure to choose your favorite one. There’s also the option to use water-soluble tinctures, which have a better absorption but can be a little pricier.
And of course, try not to overheat your coffee or have boiling hot milk. Hot temperatures can easily break down CBD, making it less effective than when it is cold.
This could be a double-edged sword, great for new users who are testing both compounds as it makes it “milder,” but also maybe too mild for users who want to get a kick and wellness benefits from the start. However, we have a recipe that can do everything at once.
CBD cold brew recipe
Here comes the fun part. As you might know, CBD is very versatile and can be added to any drink. However, cold brew can be optimal for enjoying caffeine and cannabidiol together.
In general, high temperatures can affect cannabidiol’s structure and render it less effective. So, a cold brew might be the best way to enjoy it with coffee.
Cold brew is basically a cold infusion in which coffee slowly infuses the water over time and gets more out of your CBD tincture or additive. We recommend mixing some room-temperature water with your coffee of choice and then adding your tincture. In this kind of drink, a water-soluble tincture might be better, but all kinds will work.
Now, the trick here is to let the cold brew “marinate” for at least 8 hours. In our opinion, it’s better overnight because it gives an even silkier texture. But that’s it.
For the CBD dosage, we recommend starting slow with 5ml and slowly increasing it up to 20ml of the tincture. Just make sure to keep track and see how you feel about it.
Pro-tip: cold brew can be diluted with some water if it's too strong for your taste, or you can add cream, milk, or your favorite vegetarian mixer to add some extra silkiness to your coffee. In the end, create a drink you’ll like with or without sweeteners or syrups, and make sure to enjoy it.
Looking for something fancy (and super healthy)? Try this simple but yummy matcha recipe.