Coffee, tea, and alcohol are probably the most socially-condoned addictions in the Western world. But as smoking a J rapidly becomes almost as normal as a morning cup of joe, many people are doubling-on and combining their low-level vices.
Using THC and caffeine in tandem doesn't cause the wooziness many people get when they drink and smoke at the same time. But caffeine and THC still work together in surprising, if less-intense, ways.
Here are three things you probably didn't realize happen when you drink infused coffee or tea, munch on chocolate-covered expresso beans, or chase a few judicious bong rips with sips of double Americano.
1. It may get you higher
K, you probably knew already that it feels good - why else would you be doing it? - but it turns out there's science to support that perception. "Smoking cannabis while drinking alcohol intensifies the 'high'," according to The Daily Mail, because "inhaling marijuana after drinking increases the concentration of THC in the blood." Many people find they need less THC to achieve the buzz they want if they're also consuming caffeine. What we don't know, however, is whether higher concentrations of THC in the bloodstream translate into a greater sense of euphoria for everybody, or only select users.
2. It has a negative effect on memory
A 2012 study performed on rats showed that "caffeine aggravates the memory impairment induced by THC, strongly suggesting that coffee might actually enhance not only the addictive potential but the well-reported negative cognitive effects of marijuana," according to Oxford University Press's Academic Insights blog. This would be particularly relevant in adolescents, when the brain is more vulnerable to the negative effects of marijuana."
3. It's greater than the sum of its parts
Put simply, cannabis and caffeine both work on the reward centres of the brain - and as caffeine stimulates the endocannabinoid system, it could over time increase your desire for regular doses of the drug. "Apparently, high doses of coffee makes us feel so good because it is able to tap into virtually every reward system our brain has evolved," writes Dr. Gary L. Wenk, a professor of Psychology & Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, " and hidden within that hot black silken elixir is a chemical that has taken over your brain by mimicking the actions of marijuana." In other words: save your THC-infused cold brew for special occasions.